Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Joy of New Appliances

So the wife and I just recently upgraded our kitchen appliances. It was a long time coming.

Our dishwasher, which was always something of a loud piece of junk even when it was working, stopped functioning something like 10 years ago, and we never bothered to fix it. For one, we have, like everyone else, plenty of other expenses, not the least of which is our daughter's education, which--while utterly worth it--costs us a crazy chunk of change each year. Second, neither my wife nor I really mind hand-washing dishes, which is what we did for years before we had the dishwasher, and what we've been doing again for the past decade.

And for 20 years, my wife has been cooking on an electric stove, both at this house (the first and only one we've ever owned), as well as in our past couple rentals before that. As those who know her know, my wife is an amazing cook. Some of her meals are legendary. That she's been saddled with an electric stove for so long has been, well, I'm not going to say "tragic," because that would be a bit drama-queeny, but it's been a real bummer for someone, like her, who loves to cook so much.

But it was our refrigerator that was the real problem, and that forced the recent upgrade. First, the freezer slowly stopped, over time, actually freezing things. When that's your one job and you fail at that, well, ya know, you're fired. Making things worse was an increasingly loud buzzing sound that mysteriously began emanating from the fridge. I'm sure it wouldn't be mysterious if you knew how these things worked, but, hey, we don't. All we know is it's supposed to keep the food cold and not buzz so loud we can't even hear airplanes overhead. And once the buzzing reached an alarmingly loud level, to the point where it sounded like it was going to blow up, we realized we had to take action.

It was then that we just decided to upgrade the whole damn kitchen. My wife, who rightfully calls it "her kitchen," did the legwork and the actual buying, with my blessing, and returned home a few weeks ago having purchased brand-new stainless steel fridge, dishwasher, and gas oven.

We had to wait until this past week to get the stuff installed (and to extend our gas line so it could reach our kitchen), but now it's done. And, man, what a difference. When you hand-wash dishes for as many years as we have, you kinda get used to it. It's just part of the day-to-day drudgery you deal with. And, ya know, not that big a deal in the grand scheme of things. So having a functioning dishwasher again--and a state-of-the-art quiet one at that--feels like some kind of royal luxury. Which I suppose it is. Being able to finish our meals and just dump everything in this magic box, rather than have to spend another 20 minutes-1/2 hour every time cleaning up, feels, in this first week of use, like we won the lottery. Meanwhile, my wife is in love with the new gas stove, which has a built-in griddle, and which she tested out yesterday morning with some utterly delicious blueberry pancakes. Being able to fine-tune the control over the flame, something impossible with an electric stove, has her giddy with the possibilities in her cooking again. And given that I am one of the prime beneficiaries of her cooking, I'm all for it.

The other night I was feeling self-conscious and vaguely depressed about being so excited about something so...domestic and boring. Has it really come to this, I wondered? I'm excited about a dishwasher? This is what I have to look forward to now in life? But, hey. Sue me. Our little lives here just got better, and easier. There's way dumber things that people get happy about, like, say, a new episode of Storage Wars, so who's to judge?

Now if someone could just invent a machine that could unload the dishwasher for us, then I think my life would be perfect.


David Guillermo said...

I bought a house around 3 years ago that had an garage door but no beeper. For some reason or another we never got around to buying one. So everytime we got home my wife would get out of the car, open the front gate, the door, go inside and then open the garage door.
About a week ago I finally bought a beeper for it. It's a small thing but it feels great not having to wait for someone to open the door.
Sometimes lifes little conveniences are what makes us happy.

Mark Sidarous said...

It's not perfect, but this video was uploaded in 2007, which is 3 robot eternities ago.

Tristessa said...

I really want a kitchen with a big counter top island. I love to cook but I never seem to have enough space.

Also, know what else is good for blueberry pancakes? Bananas: mashed up and mixed into the batter. Turning my blueberry pancakes into blueberry banana pancakes was the best thing to happen to my Sunday breakfast =)

Suresh S said...

But what's the amount of water consumed by the dishwasher as opposed to hand-washing the same number of dishes? It could be significantly larger and wasteful.

Jeff Green said...

Suresh--good question and one we looked into before we bought. It's an "energy star compliant" dishwasher, and has settings for low loads, etc. We actually get a tax break on it because of its low water/energy use...

Jon X. Porter said...

I really admire you - either through choice or simply necessity - sticking with your ageing appliances for so long.

It makes me so sad to see perfectly good household items being thrown out simply because their owners wanted a change, forcing tonnes of not-so-environmentally-friendly waste into landfills, and generally just using a whole load of energy replacing items that really haven't reached the end of their lives yet.

So yeah, keep fighting the good fight!

feitclub said...

As someone with no room for a dishwasher in his apartment, I am definitely looking forward to our planned move so that we can have a full kitchen - dishwasher included. No shame in enjoying modern conveniences.

Brad said...

In this age of technology and convenience, I think this just goes to show that there's still lots of value of choosing to go without for a while. You can gain new appreciation for life's "simple things." :-)

Suresh S said...

Cool to get a reply from you Jeff and I'd like to tell you here that I absolutely loved your last page column in CGW, and also liked the changes made in the last iteration of the mag where the writers'd take into account existing online reviews of a game as part of their analysis while reviewing.