Saturday, June 29, 2024

Still Life with Robin: Q: What's better than a blue light? A: A hand-made sign

 by Peggy Robin

Sometimes the fancier some things get, the stupider they seem. I've been mulling over that thought for quite some time now -- and it hits home almost every time I load or unload my dishwasher with its high-tech, electronic control panel -- the model that replaced our previous dishwasher with its solid, manual push-buttons. 

The trouble is, despite that tiny dot of light that glows blue whenever the dry cycle has finished and the dishes are clean and ready to be put away, I have seldom been sure whether they're really clean or dirty. 

You see, if someone else has come along and helpfully emptied the dishwasher and then reloaded it with any stray dishes that were in the sink -- and then left the door closed but not locked in place -- the dishwasher's blue "clean" indicator light will stay lit. It goes off only if you close and lock the door to start a new load.

Most of the time, people continue to stack dirty dishes in the dishwasher until it's full. If they're not intending to run the dishwasher right away, they'll helpfully rinse off the dishes before putting them in, so whatever's in the dishwasher may look pretty clean to the naked eye -- but they're not. 

What happens next is that I come along, see that the dishwasher is nearly full, and the "clean" light is glowing blue, so  I have every reason to assume someone's run another cycle, and everything in the dishwasher is clean and dry. So I unload it and put the dishes away.....still dirty.

This has been going on for....oh, I don't know? A decade? Fifteen years? I no longer recall when we got this fancy-shmancy new dishwasher, but this has been the flaw with it since Day One.

Today, I came to an epiphany. It was time to put a stop to this stupidity. Time to take matters into my own hands.. I decided to fix this flaw with a very low-tech solution: It's a repurposed refrigerator magnet that has CLEAN and DIRTY on opposite ends. You just flip it so that the appropriate side is right-side-up, either after you've set it to run, or just after you've emptied it of clean dishes.

I made it myself using colored paper, markers, a little school glue, and an overcoating of clear package sealing tape. I could have spent six bucks to get a professionally designed one ordered from Amazon, but I thought, heck, if I'm going to solve this problem by sticking a low-tech magnetic sign on my high-tech dishwasher, I would rather have it look handmade -- not to mention saving myself the cost of a single-scoop ice cream cone. 

Here it is: 

One little annoyance down.....about a gazillion more to go!
Still Life with Robin is posted on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.

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