Thursday, January 11, 2007

How to Get the Dishes Done

Remember the Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and the Monopods? Remember how they did the dishes?

Sadly, our dish-washing system has often resembled that of the Monopods: wash the dishes before dinner, to save time afterwards. Actually we tended to wash them before dinner because of all the time we had already saved after lunch, breakfast, and yesterday's dinner by just piling dishes on the counter, until there were no clean dishes left.

We adults also saved time (and peace and quiet) by just washing the dishes ourselves instead of arguing with children about the importance of the task. But like the old line my Dad used to sing in auction-sale season - "We'll save a lot of money saving money we ain't got" - we just couldn't seem to save enough time for the work by working. So, time after time, the dishes piled up until they spilled over into other parts of our lives. Then something after dinner would get cancelled and the counter would get cleared off - for an evening.

This Christmas we finally stumbled on the simple, elegant solution. It arrived in the form of a four-place setting of simple, elegant (to my eyes) Corelle Sandstone dishes. I found the set in the Sears Bargain Centre, missing one dinner plate, and thought I'd give it to a relative who didn't have enough dishes for serving meals to guests. Then I took a peek inside the box and coveted those dishes for myself.

So I bought the four-place setting (rounded out with a replacement plate from open stock), brought it home, set the plates and cups out on the table and admired them . . . and gave away our twelve-place setting of white-with-blue-clip-art Corelle instead. It's a bit chipped and stained from fifteen or so years of daily use, but the gift was graciously received. Meanwhile, back at our house, the miracle appeared: a clean counter.

Twice a day.

I was planning to buy a couple more sets of Sandstone, to get life back to twelve-of-everything normal, but life-with-only-four is much better than normal. Maybe we'll even start getting out the real china (found at a garage sale before we were married) if we have to set the table for more than four. Or we could always borrow our old Corelle back for parties . . .


Granny said...

What clear, level heading thinking.

I did have two complete sets of Corelle (love the stuff) which over the years has shrunk. I was thinking about a new set but you may have convinced me otherwise.

(some of mine is the white and blue - it seems to be all over the place)

arcolaura said...

Clear and level headed? Thanks! And here I thought it was muddling through - but still paying attention to the consequences. Seems to work out rather well.

Madcap said...

Oh no! You've set the bar too high! Now I'm going to get all flustered by my DDSS. (Dirty Dish Stacking System.)

arcolaura said...

Hey, mum, we all have our strengths. There are advantages to abundant DDs, too. One that I may have mentioned: it keeps the counter too hazardous for the cat to venture a leap.