“Character house” is actually a pseudonym for tiny, old, full of mold & asbestos and very, very ugly spiders.
This was all a bit of a shock to us, having moved straight from a snowy boom-town on the prairies where a newish, 3000-square-foot house (including basement) was the norm.
The fact that our little white house was a 10 minute walk to a beautiful beach mostly made up for the bumping elbows, constant “excuse me’s” and continual stepping on playmobil knights & Lego. Nevermind the paper-thin walls, non-sleeping 3-year-old and non-sleeping newborn.
Speaking of a newborn…supplementing a 3-month-old with (gasp!) a bottle so an exhausted new momma could get a few hours of sleep meant that a dishwasher would have been really, really helpful. We gave in and bought a portable one from a kind retired guy who rebuilt it in his backyard. He and my dear husband lugged it up the steps and navigated it through the narrow 60-year-old doorways into our tiny kitchen.
Each night after both children were finally asleep (for a little while anyway) my husband or I would begin the nightly dishwasher routine:
- Get a good grip on the slippery metal sides and give a mighty pull to get it out from the wall.
- Back up to take a running start and push like crazy to get the flimsy wheels over the big hump between the hardwood and the lino.
- Retrieve any utensils, bottles or dishes we may need during the night. (Once the dishwasher was hooked up the rest of the kitchen was unusable.)
- Hook up the hose and plug in the plug.
- Unplug everything and move the dishwasher again to get the soap I forgot to take out from under the sink.
- Plug it all in again and start the damn thing.
Going through all of these steps meant that we tried to minimize the number of times we started the dishwasher. During our year in the little white house I started calling it Dishwasher Tetris: loading it to the absolute maximum by moving each plate, bowl and cup a millimetre to the left or right in order to squish something else in.
Now that our days in the little white house are behind us, we have the luxury of a built-in dishwasher again. I’m an expert at loading it to full capacity. The only glitch is my 1.5 year-old daughter who loves to “help” by hurling forks, spoons, cups and ceramic dishes in from a few feet away.
Being without something I’ve always taken for granted makes me very grateful for it when I get it back. Kind of like when I came home from tree planting in the bush and was most grateful for carpet and running water. But that’s another story.