Dish Nazi Jr.

November 12, 2009

My new husband does not allow me to do the dishes. It’s not because he loves me (which he does) or wants me to relax (which he does), but because I do a piss-poor job of it.

I never thought too much about dishes before I got married, and Eric tells me that that’s the problem. We live in an old house with a big sink and no dishwasher other than whoever’s manning the sink. My standard procedure before acquiring a husband was to scrape any remaining food chunks into the trash and rinse off whatever was left before it hardened and became a permanent part of the ceramic. Dish soap was decidedly optional. My thinking is that it’s all food, right? How bad can it be?

Measuring spoons have become a particular bone of contention–I use them every morning to scoop the coffee grounds and a few diehards invariably cling to the tablespoon measure (this may be because my washing consists of a quick wave of the fanned-out spoon set under hot running water). Eric is unmoved by my cavalier assertion that a few stray grounds are no big deal because coffee goes with everything.

I believe I inherited this laissez-faire attitude from my mom, who feels that time spent washing dishes is time lost doing something more fun. I should have known that our methods were somewhat subpar when I heard her comment how sparkling clean the dishes were at her friend Pam’s house. “Clean,” like “pregnant,” is not really a matter of degree.

Eric, on the other hand, inherited his dishwashing skills from his father, aka “The Dish Nazi.” His particular focus is not merely cleanliness, but efficiency as well. Over the years he’s been known to grill both his sons and his wife on the necessity of using a particular utensil. “Cin? How did you manage to use three spoons before lunch?” Eric has done the same thing to me, leading me to reenact my most recent meals and snacks in a sort of Kitchen CSI.

Let’s see…I used one spoon with my cereal, one to stir my coffee…the knife was to open the mail, I think – wait; is there peanut butter on it?

Growing up, the brothers Foster were allocated a limit of one glass per day, which greatly cut down on the household consumption of milk. “You’d be thinking about having a glass of milk with breakfast,” Eric recalls, “but then you’d think, ‘Do I really want to be using this milk glass the rest of the day? What if I want juice with lunch?’ And then you’d just go with water.”

Cin eventually learned to toe the line, etching permanent circles an inch down from the top of the family juice glasses with her engagement ring as she scrubbed, clockwise, with hot soapy water. I am still waiting for one of those little circles to fall off and shatter the next time we’re over there, leaving a lethal (yet spotless) rim on the newly shortened glass.


2 Responses to “Dish Nazi Jr.”

  1. Drea Says:

    Dude, Bill won’t let me fold his laundry. Or rather, I can, but then he refolds it. When he does my laundry, he folds my underwear. I tried to explain to him that girl underwear is meant to be wadded up and stuffed in the drawer.

    Nice to see you on here!

  2. jacarsen Says:

    This is too funny–who knew that Bill was so regimented about such things? 🙂

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