The Herald Bulletin

April 5, 2014

Theresa Timmons: Who knew washing dishes could be so complicated?


The Herald Bulletin

---- — My husband Seth was recently allowed to shop, unsupervised, at Lowes Home Improvement store. We were in desperate need of a new dishwasher.

Since I happen to be the wife — and the primary user of all kitchen appliances associated with dirty dishes — it would just make sense that I would have a considerable amount of input as to what sort of dishwasher we would buy.

"What kind of dishwasher do you want?" Seth had asked.

For me that was a hard question. In my wee little brain, a dishwasher is a dishwasher. Its purpose in life is pretty simple.

Pack in as many dirty dishes as you possibly can. Dump in a bunch of dishwashing detergent. Try to force the door shut with your knee. Push the wash button. Let it blast the crud off the dishes for 90 minutes.

But I did have a little experience opening and closing the doors on the display models at various do-it-yourself stores. That's what you do in an appliance department.

Whether it is a refrigerator, a washing machine, a toaster oven or a dishwasher — you walk around and open all the doors, look inside at the shiny unmolested space, then shut the door.

So that is how I answered his question.

"I like dishwashers with heavy doors. I don't like wimpy doors," I said. I had conviction.

He took that information and went to Lowes. Without me.

When I got wind of what he was up to, I tried to call the customer service desk at Lowes and have him escorted out of the building. But apparently they will let anyone shop as long as they don't take things without paying for them.

He came home with a very nice stainless steel Bosch dishwasher.

"It has a heavy door," he said. "Plus it is a low decibel dishwasher. Like the quietest in the world."

"That's good ... it won't bother you when you watch TV," I said.

At the same time I was looking at the 28-page instruction manual, and apparently the dishwasher contained chemicals that cause cancer and birth defects in California. Indiana was not mentioned, so I guessed we were safe.

Three pages of the manual were devoted to "loading patterns," and included pictures of which slots in the silverware basket were designated for salad forks, dinner forks and serving forks.

"Do I need to memorize this?" I asked.

"Maybe," he said.

I studied the manual further.

The dishwasher has six possible cycles. And the cycles have options. It has a delayed start option, a sanitize option, a speed perfect option, a half load option and an ExtraShine option.

I don't know what the speed perfect option is, but I might write a letter and ask Mr. Bosch.

The sanitize option can only be used in the heavy, auto and normal cycles. It has a smart control that gets mad if the water supply is different than 120 degrees. I don't really understand what happens if the temperature is 119 degrees. Maybe it cusses.

There are six different rinse aid dispenser settings. And you have to make up your mind how much rinse aid you want to dispense because leaving it at "r:00" may result in longer cycle times!

Part of one page was devoted to a flow chart to help the new owner set the rinse aid dispenser. I have never used rinse aid. I might take the class about it at Ivy Tech.

The recommended detergent amount depends on whether you have hard water, medium water or soft water, and amount of soilage on the dishes. And the cycle.

It has an intensive drying option that can be turned off in four steps. An Auto Power option that can be turned off in 5 steps. More flow charts. A child lock. A special LED light that illuminates on the floor to indicate the unit is running — I guess because it is so quiet you might wonder.

But according to the manual, if the appliance is installed at eye level the LED light is not visible. How do you load a dishwasher that is installed at eye level? Does it come with an optional ladder, or does that depend on the model? And how do you know it is running if the LED light is not visible?

I am scared half to death of the stainless steel rubix cube in my kitchen. I guess I should've told Seth that I needed a heavy door and a start button. I wonder if the Windows 8 people were involved with its development?

Seth is the owner and operator of a brand new dishwasher. He is planning to take a personal day off work and program it.

Theresa Timmons’ column appears the first and third Sundays each month. She is an Elwood resident and can be reached at paperflinger40@yahoo.com.