My dishwasher threw down her apron and quit Monday night, but not before spitting on the floor and calling me terrible names in a language I don't understand. I responded with choice words of my own and punched her buttons, trying to get her going. She made a throaty gurgle - evil laughter - and spit on my floor again.
I don't know exactly what she said when she last spoke, but I'm pretty sure she didn't ask if I wanted the fine china cycle or pots and pans. She forced me to throw down the towel.
My husband squirmed. He knew I'd insist on a replacement; thus he cobbled groundwork for a balk. "I like washing dishes as a family. We should do this more often." The kids and I gawked at him like he cussed us and rolled up his sleeve to show us his new tattoo.
Regrouping, he made a second bold attempt to sway me. "We need to be recession minded," he spouted his latest mantra.
There is no better way for a husband to inspire a wife to plot against him than to suggest that she fill the space below her counters with defunct appliances. Scheming, I waited until Thursday evening to pounce. Under the guise of, "Hey, run to the store with me, it'll be like a mini date," I got him in the car. His look of resignation when we pulled into the parking lot of the appliance store fueled my fire.
As we entered the sales floor, he scrambled to recover the offensive. "No dishwashers," he blurted. "They don't sell dishwashers here."
"Yes they do. There's a whole wall of them," I pointed.
I opened and closed models, pulling out trays, examining silverware caddies, comparing prices, touching buttons. My beloved stood with his arms crossed tightly over his chest, leaning back on his heels.
Disarmament was necessary. "My gosh!" I exclaimed, "Can you believe someone would pay $1,300 for a dishwasher? What does it do, clear the table, rinse the dishes, load itself, and put them away when it's finished?"
The man smirked and stepped forward, relaxing his arms. He cracked open a dishwasher door and peered in, simultaneously asking what features I desire. I laughed and repeated everything I imagined the $1,300 dishwasher does.
A smile accompanied by further dishwasher inspections transpired. Perfect. I broke out the ask-a-lot-get-what-you-want technique. "You know," I entered my plea, "our refrigerator is 13 years old and we complained about our stove just the other night. We ought to go ahead and purchase all stainless steel appliances."
"Let's buy a stainless steel dishwasher now and the refrigerator and stove later," he suggested.
"Appliances should match."
"We can't afford everything today," he insisted.
"Then I'll settle for a white dishwasher with a stainless steel tub, like this one," I motioned, smelling victory.
"Well, that's dumb," he accused.
"It's dumb," I shot back, my cool collapsing, "to have appliances that don't match. Plus, I know you. It could be years before we switch the fridge and stove."
His Achilles heel ached, but he hung tight through the crossfire. "Why spend that much when you're planning to replace it? We should buy this one." With that, he caressed a cheapy.
Touche I waged war with a man who knows how to battle. I didn't anticipate his counter attack. Still, I maintained my position. "That dishwasher will wear out in a couple of years. We'll be right back here having this same conversation."
"Hand washing the dishes isn't so bad," he replied, refusing to surrender.
So I threw down my apron, spit on the floor, and called him names in a tongue he couldn't translate but fully understood.
My new white dishwasher with the stainless steel tub will arrive on Tuesday.
(Lucy Adams is a columnist, freelance writer, and the author of If Mama Don't Laugh, It Ain't Funny. She lives in Thomson. Lucy invites readers to send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org and visit her web site, www.IfMama.com.)