Thursday, June 22, 2006

don't forget the jet dry

Some years ago I ordered satellite network service for our television and the man they sent to install it showed up not only maddeningly late, but knee-walkin' drunk. His partner parked the van in the yard, a side door slid open and a man tumbled out of it face-first into the grass. He remembered to take off his muddy boots in the kitchen doorway, but then slid across the (newly waxed) floor in his socks, dumped a pile of instructions and papers on the living room floor, hung the dish outside upside down and went home.

He seems to have set a precedent. Or maybe I just have bad luck with service repairmen.

The new dishwasher arrived this week. It's a Bosch. We've all been very excited about this. Reputable brand name, but most of all, a working appliance that spares me the agony of looking upon an ever-replenshing stockpile of sullied dishes each time I enter the kitchen.

Now we can hide the dirty dishes in the dishwasher again, like everyone else does, and wash them only when we can't cram any more of them in there.

The repairman was tidily attired: clean pressed blue jeans and an ironed purple shirt. I towered over him when I answered the door. He made up for his small stature with a steady stream of complaints, putting me in mind of an extremely yappy little dog.

"This dishwasher looks tall. It might not fit. The water line is short, too. It doesn't look like it's going to reach all the way. Okay, it's going to go in maybe, but I still have to put it up on the risers to hook everything up. No, this might not work at all."

I went on watching him, silently (if there was a cue I was supposed to pick up, I didn't recognize it) and he amended, finally (a note of resignation in his voice), "....But I guess we'll figure something out."

I guess we will.

He wanted to know if I knew what breaker shuts off the electricity in the kitchen. How would I know? I do not look at, go near, or broach the breaker boxes. That's a Man Item.

I asked him to wait until my father-in-law could come over (because he knows) and instead the repairman just scuttled downstairs to the basement and shut down everything, en masse, before I could stop him.

He not only turned off the power to everything in the entire house, he disabled the water supply and even shut off the water to the garage and the little hookup with the hose outside that we use to water the flowers with. I felt as if we were on a hot air balloon (or a sinking ship), he jettisoning everything aboard not entirely necessary or carrying superfluous ballast.

Then he had to lecture me needlessly about care and maintenance of the dishwasher, while taking great pains to point out what a mediocre and flawed device we'd chosen. "It has no drying cycle. Some dishwashers have one, but this one doesn't." It sounded like he was slighting its character.

"You'll have to use JetDry to get your dishes to dry faster. Always keep your JetDry compartment completely full. Never let it run low. It needs the JetDry to work efficiently."

So I have an appliance with a substance addiction problem. Charming.

"You'll want to run your hot water faucet in the sink before you start the dishwasher every time."
"So the water comes into the dishwasher already hot."

I frowned. (Suddenly, I had this image of warming a bottle for a baby.)

"Run your food disposal before you start the dishwasher, too."

"Why don't I just make all the other appliances in the room leave when the dishwasher starts a cycle so it won't have to feel self-conscious," I suggested.
"Nothing. Continue."

"Don't forget that JetDry," he continued. "Wife and I, we have to replace it, oh, I'd like to say, once a month. Dishwasher can't run without it. So don't forget the JetDry."

I assured him solemnly that I wouldn't.

I've run the dishwasher about half a dozen times since then, sans JetDry, sans prewarmed water. I've had no complaints. It seems a docile appliance, quiet, well-behaved, adaptable.

So much for domestic engineering. Or service repairmen: short, drunk, or otherwise.