Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Beware What You Load Into the Dishwasher

Hindsight is 20/20 - people wouldn't use this expression if it wasn't true, and I find that the more years I have behind me the more I use it. If the reader can remember, back in one of my older posts I mentioned that we had our house on the market and that, in preparation for an open house, we had stuffed all the painting tools, etc., into the dishwasher while we were frantically getting ready and for lack of another, smarter place to put them.

We had bought the dishwasher used, last year. It did work about three times, if that many, and then stopped. It ran, but didn't wash properly, leaving all the dishes wet and dirty. We were planning on having it serviced or replaced if we sold the house, but since our contract had expired before any sale was made and for lack of extra funds, we just left it and I continued washing dishes by hand. In the meantime, I forgot all about the tools and paint inside.

Last month, as I launched into another tirade about the defunct dishwasher, showing hubby my dishpan hands, he opened up the machine to find all the painting junk right where we had shoved it. He started taking all the junk out, grumbling that it was high time to put it where it belongs when, what to our wondering eyes did appear? Not a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer, but something much worse...

The back story to this critical part of my post is this: In preparation for listing the house for sale, our Realtors asked us to spruce up the front porch and door. Back in 1998, when we had painted our house, we had also freshened up the front door with a rich cranberry red paint. I still had this old gallon of paint stored in the basement, so when I needed to touch up the door in 2008 (This is so ridiculous I can barely type the words...) I went to the basement and retrieved the old gallon. Of course, ten years later, the lid had rusted closed to the can! Using a screw driver and loads of stubborn determination, I managed to open the can - ripped it open, actually - and, for lack of another container, had used an empty plastic ice cream pail as it had a handle and a lid. Marvelling at my own cleverness, I carefully emptied the contents from the rusted can into the new, clean bucket and touched up the door.

...at some point, when the painting tools and stuff got crammed into the dishwasher, the bottom of the plastic ice cream container became punctured by one of the tines of the rack and, you guessed it, the paint had oozed out and into the machine. As we had no clue when this may have happened, the paint had now dried into a rock hard, latex puddle around the base of the drain and washer arms! (Grrrr! Stupid, that's my middle name!)

That was a bummer of a discovery for us. We knew it was all our fault and that we couldn't do anything about it. There would be no way to save this machine and we'd have no other option but to purchase a new one. Once again, we put all the painting tools back where they had been and shut the door.

A few weeks later (yes, there's more), it was a Sunday afternoon and we decided to go to an open house and then to a store. We were gone about two hours and upon opening the back door we found the kitchen filled with a strangely perfumed steam. Somebody had turned on the dishwasher! Well that "somebody" had apparently been our daughter. She had pushed one of the buttons on the front of the machine before we had left, turning it on. The dishwasher had began filling with water in the bottom and the element had began heating up and was therefore "cooking" the latex paint. We got the machine turned off, took out the junk once and for all, and aired out the kitchen accordingly.

Sometimes I think if this hadn't been such a stupid situation to begin with that I might laugh, but, to this day, all I want to do is kick myself in the pants. Like I said, hindsight is 20/20, but in my case I think it's 10/10.