Our front door is broken. Sometimes our garage door won’t open all the way. And our backyard has a virtual swamp smack dab in its middle that, save an actual drought, can never be fully mowed.
That’s just the outside of our house (and doesn’t include our crumbling front porch). Once you step inside, you’ll find peeling varnish on the hardwood floors, doors that either won’t latch or won’t open without some muscle, and a large crack in the bathroom ceiling.
Oh – and did I mention that our ice maker doesn’t work (and hasn’t for several months)? And that our microwave (funny enough, the one behind the ice trays in the photo above) blew up shortly before Christmas? And that I came home from last week’s vacation to discover that our dishwasher – which has been dying a slow death – is dead.
I’ve been slowly washing every single dish I own tonight. And trying not to grumble. Surprise! I’ve been more successful in the cleaning than the not grumbling.
To top it off? Two of our couple friends (friend couples? I never know.) have moved recently, so Annalyn has become obsessed with moving. While I’m relieved that she’s moved on from questions about having babies and where do babies come from and does God grow babies in the oven, having my three-year-old ask – repeatedly – “When can we move, Mommy? Why don’t we have a new house, Mommy?” is a little grating.
I’m not ignorant or ungrateful. I know that my house is a mansion compared to so many in this world, and that I’m blessed beyond belief to have a home in the first place. I know that. And I’m not really pacing my short hallway and wailing about oh-poor-me. But I also don’t have a concluding message for you about contentment. I’m thankful for what we have, and I know it’s not a forever home – or even a many years more home.
But would it be too much to ask for a working dishwasher?
How do you deal with a less-than-perfect house? And how do you feel about hand-washing really dirty dishes
left by your husband while you were on vacation several days ago?
I get so very frustrated when things just don’t work the way they are supposed to! My own ice maker began leaking last fall, so I’ve just had to turn it off all this time…a month ago I finally broke down and purchased ice trays. It was admitting defeat.
I think that accepting it is what it is, but isn’t forever (in your case) really helps keep perspective. I’m a firm believer that I can handle anything for a season…unfortunately, I have no plans to move any time soon.
Doing dishes by hand? Just think of the energy savings? I often choose to do the dishes by hand to save on my bill, but for an especially dirty load, I know I would grumble.
Hang in there!
I was wondering about the energy savings last night, as I was working on sink-full #4. I will (obviously) live, but in the meantime, I’m thankful for friends who let me grumble here just a bit! :)
I just saw this, years later, but I’m happy to tell you that a modern, well-maintained dishwasher running a full load actually uses LESS energy than hand-washing the same dishes! Here’s my dishwasher article with links to several references. I was so relieved to find one situation in which the resource-saving, money-saving thing to do is also easier!
Yes! I’ve heard that – definitely good news!! :)
I don’t do well when the house gets messy. It’s like it reflects my inner being–if my surroundings are organized and peaceful, then that’s the way I am inside, too. And if I have an idea in my head and things go awry, look out! As for the washing dishes–I try to remember a letter I read in Dear Abby long ago. A woman wrote in complaining about her husband leaving his dirty underwear laying in the floor. She wanted to know how to break him of the habit. She went on and on and on. Another reader wrote in response that she had lost her husband a couple of years before and would give anything for him to be there to leave his underwear for her to pick up. I just think to myself that one day I may miss him and the mess he makes and it doesn’t bother me so much. (Works for kids, too!)
Beverly, that is so very true!! Great reminder! :)
I am soooo sorry about your dishwasher. I know that has to be incredibly frustrating. The only encouragement I have to offer (that might be discouragement) is that by watching my MIL I realized a while back that the dishwasher isn’t the answer. She has one, but doesn’t use it.
And yet, that woman has a constantly clean kitchen, but seems to never be “stuck” in there cleaning it.
She uses paper plates regularly, and washes teeny tiny groups of dishes all the time. I’ve tried to adopt her mindset but also use my dishwasher.
I think my husband’s mom must’ve been like your MIL, because he would rather hand wash dishes than put them through the dishwasher. But seriously – when every dish I own (practically) is filthy and piled up? We NEED a dishwasher! I suppose one could argue that we still have one and her name is Mary. But I don’t like that argument. ;)
Oh how frustrating. We are spoiled aren’t we. Like truly spoiled. I’ve been complaining lately about my child being spoiled. Then, I look at my amazing kitchen with working appliances (and a double oven) and realize that I AM SPOILED. Humbling….
Suggestion. My Step-MIL runs a sink of soapy water while she’s preparing breakfast. Then, as the dishes are dirtied, they go in the soapy water. She cleans those either after breakfast or while making lunch and does the process again. She rarely uses her dishwasher as this method works better for her.
Oh yes, we are SO spoiled. I know that. But sometimes, a girl needs to whine! (Thank you for letting me do just that!) Great suggestion. We will be getting a new dishwasher, but not until we get at least one more paycheck in the bank. So having a few tricks up my sleeve for surviving these long…days (I know. SPOILED.)…is wonderful!
I’ve been feeling this way lately as well! Our tiny apartment just seems to be getting smaller! God is definitely teaching me to be content! My heart longs to be more than content…it longs to really love this season of life that God has placed us in, but many times I don’t! God is at work to produce something great in my heart and yours. May His grace bless you today!
Thank you, Rachel!! I hope you don’t mind me sharing a link. But since you mentioned living in a small apartment, you might like to read my friend Christine’s posts on small spaces. Her blog is I Dream of Clean, and here’s where you can find those posts: http://www.idreamofclean.net/category/organization/small-spaces/
This past Christmas we received an unusual gift from our 3 twenty-something daughters…a new dishwasher. We’ve been going through a rough time financially & just couldn’t swing purchasing a replacement & had been doing dishes by hand for – oh – maybe 9 months. And we have loads of dinner guests regularly – weekly. In the grand scheme of things, it was so Not fun & embarassing at times but as the saying goes “This too shall pass”…and it did & ..Big. Deal. We survived. As our girls say – “We’d be alot richer if we didn’t have so much company.” True, but it’s what I choose to spend my money on I guess.
What a blessing to get the new dishwasher from your daughters! And ugh, what a bummer to deal without one for nine months! This will absolutely pass, you’re right – and I agree, people are always more important than money!
Oh I know about yard and home chaos and need of repair and work! I understand so about youngsters and their questions and need to know an answer that we just don’t have. I’ve got doors that need a special touch to close, I’ve got soft spots on the floor and naughty dogs. It is hard on many days to remember that God wants us to be thankful in everything. EVERYTHING! Sheesh…sometimes I struggle to find something to be thankful for in a stressful situation or the frustration of chaos.
I don’t like dishwashers, I find them too hard on the dishes (they don’t seem to last as long or stay as nice) and I’ve always preferred hand washing. I HATE a cold slimey sink of dirty water and dishes so I try to wash as I go, put a big bowl in the sink and fill it with hot soapy water for the spoons and small things. Keeping them done often makes it easier than long dish run, and it gives me a chance to pray and think, and when people ask me why they are air drying I say I’m doing dishes with God – He is doing the drying! :-)
Bless you…wish I lived closer so I could come over with my tools and help you in your house and yard!
Shanyn, I just love that – doing dishes with God! I am going to remember that and hold onto it when I’m tempted to grumble now. Thank you!
I prefer to throw them away. Maybe not the most logical choice but it does give the heart a nice lift…especially if your dishes were once a “set” but now are just “dishes”, then it really does a wife and mama good. (even if that is -10 points in the “good homemaker” scale). Obviously, I don’t do this with EVERY lingering dish…but occasionally, I just give it a good toss and walk away…breathing a little deeper and feeling a little more sane and a little less likely to throw said dish at offending husband.
Oh my gosh, you totally get Comment of the Day today! I love this strategy – and I *may* have been known to throw things away a time or two. (Don’t tell the frugal, green people. I really don’t hate the earth!!!)
ha! I’m glad and honored! I don’t hate the earth either, but the earth hasn’t volunteered to wash that dish so it can have it back! haha!
My husband is a career garage door guy. Email me details of the problem. It is probably something you can fix quickly unless it is due to broken panels.
Oh, Anne, you’re sweet! We don’t have broken panels, and we have actually had a garage door guy out to look at it. I think the problem is that the sensor sometimes senses things are in the way when they’re really not. Most of the time, we just jiggle and scoot things around until it works. :)
I’m wondering why you’re not asking for help from your husband with the dishes, since he left them there. Would he refuse? Why not try asking? I’m sure you go out of your way for him when necessary…
Valid question! I didn’t ask him for help, though, because he works 12-14 hours a day, while I stay home with our one child. Though in the past, we’ve been 50/50 on most household chores, in our current circumstances the dishes are my job. And in his defense, he put all the dishes he dirtied while we were out of town in the dishwasher and ran it – but the dishwasher broke, so instead of getting clean, those dishes just stayed dirty!
This response is for Mary – it’s very sweet that you’re defending your husband – that’s a wonderful trait – but I wanted to comment on your response, “He works 12-14 hours a day, while I stay home with our one child”.
When I was home with my one child, I found it INCREDIBLY more difficult than when I was working my 12-hour job as a NYC social worker. In fact, I LONGED for that job. This may seem over-the-top for so many of you who have a big family, but I found raising one child incredibly draining and exhausting, on many levels. It sounds to me like you’re minimizing the very real and often stressful work of raising a child, even if it is “just” one.
Sorry to sound preachy – I just wanted to express my feelings about stay-at-home mothers, whether they have 1 or 8 kids.
Thanks for your comment, Janet. As a stay-at-home mom of one, I would never say that what I do isn’t difficult or stressful at times! And as a mom in general, I respect the work that every mom does so much! All of our families work differently, and it’s always interesting to learn about (and support) each other even in our differences!
We have a falling apart house. Creaking floors. No insullation in the ceiling. A foundation that needs to be replaced. The list can go on and on and on. I am still working on being content. It’s just sometimes so hard to do!
I guess we’re works in progress…just like our falling apart houses. :)
Our house is a bit on the broken-down side, too. But, I like to think of it as well-loved! It’s the house I grew up in and was built by my Dad in the late 70’s. So, all the crooked floorboards and uneven door jams just remind me that he made it with his own hands and that’s enough for me!
On the other hand, my dishwasher is broken, too! As is my microwave AND my fridge’s ice-maker, LOL. I think there’s an appliance conspiracy going on!! ;-)
Darn those conspiring appliances! Haha! (But yes, well-loved is a good way to put it!)
I’m sorry to hear this, Mary! If it makes you feel any better, my duplex doesn’t have a dishwasher. I can only grumble at myself if the dishes aren’t done!
It’s really better to grumble at someone else, isn’t it? Unfortunately, I’m grumbling at ME this week because I left all the [long] weekend’s dishes for this week!
lol (sorry to be insensitive but it is funny), i’d be annoyed w/ the husband — even though i’d probably leave all those dishes too ;) (it’s just that it’d still be me taking care of them — eventually:)
Oh, I leave dishes around all the time. We’re a fine pair. ;)
I know how you feel! Our house has never had a dishwasher or a garbage disposal. I’m lobbying for the garbage disposal first because I’m so sick of picking bits of cereal and lettuce out of the drain. And the ice maker has never been hooked up in the five years we’ve owned the new fridge (there’s a reason it can’t be, I just don’t remember what that reason is) I’d be fine with that, but the useless ice making apparatus takes up freezer space I’d rather have food (or ice cube trays) in.
Despite all of it’s interesting quirks, I love this house. I plan to die in this house (many, many years from now ). There’s no way I’d trade it for a new place where everything worked.
Michelle, I love that you love your house – despite its quirks!
Oh friend, how much I feel your pain!! We don’t even have a dishwasher at all :( :( and I try so hard not to let it get to me but it’s maddening somedays! It’s true, finding contentment in all things is often hard when we are wrapped up in the nitty gritty’s of our lives… but I think so long as we continue to work on it and strive toward it, we can let our beefs be heard about what we find frustrating about our lives. It’s not because you don’t recognize that you do indeed have a lot of great things and are very blessed, but you also see that it could be better. I think all of that is God’s way of showing us how much he loves us, combined with things that keep us humble & grow our character. Remember that he is faithful, and keep asking him for what you want, but in the end he will be faithful to provide all that you need.
I’m definitely trying to work on the contentment thing. Easier said than done, though!!
I think husbands are for leaving things places. That’s the conclusion I’ve come to after my 6-ish years of marriage. When I get grumbly (which is often), I remember how much I’d rather have him there to leave things than not. Usually helps (until I find the next cup under the bed!)
We do get so spoiled, don’t we? I have a working dishwasher, but we have a simple old refrigerator with no icemaker, so we’ve been ice cube tray people for ages, and I don’t really mind. But I recently got this perspective from a friend who moved to Australia last year. Apparently, in Australia, not only are dishwashers uncommon, so are clothes dryers. Everyone. hang. dries. all. their. clothes. It’s not a developing-nation-no-one-has-the-technology-or-money thing, so I guess maybe it’s cultural? Anyway. That made me feel like a very lucky lady.
It IS all a matter of perspective. Washing dishes isn’t nearly as bad as not having a clothes dryer! :)