Washing up a little nostalgia

I’m not a Luddite, although the fact that it took 6 weeks for us to figure out how to get the internet to work in our new house does suggest my husband and I are not blessed with technological prowess. I might not embrace every new fangled fascinations and I’m no social twitterer (where do people get the time??) but I do throw my arms around and hug all time-saving devices that make my life easier. I often think back to my mum’s time and wonder how on earth she coped with two young children, a job, and no microwave, dishwasher, washing machine, car, disposable nappies and all those other things I just take for granted.

So for a brief moment, when our dishwasher gave up the ghost and had a nervous breakdown, I almost joined it and had a small seizure at the terrifying thought of actually having to wash up after the 1473 meals a day I cook (ok, it’s actually about five but sometimes it does feel like it). But a strange thing has happened. Every time I go to ring the repair man, I hesitate and then find something else to do (washing up for instance).

I’ve noticed my husband and I are talking more. Now, instead of one of us rushing off to do something after dinner while the other silently, solitarily stacks the dishwasher, we have a conversation. A real one. He usually washes up and I stand beside him drying the dishes as he places them in the stupidly small, but very cool rack that is only there for ceremonial purposes (well, when you have a dishwasher, who needs one that is actually practical?). We sling banter at each other, and occasionally he flicks me with water, or I get a great flick of the drying cloth on his leg if I get my wrist action right. It’s been a long time you see, and I’m long out of practise. When I was growing up (with no dishwasher remember) clearing up after dinner was a family affair. Mum would wipe around the cooker, dad would put the condiments away, my brother would wash and I would dry. I remember some of the best conversations with my brother over the kitchen sink. And so it seems again. The death of the dishwasher is breathing new life into our washed out routine.

So here’s my plan. I will get round to ringing the repair man one of these days, because let’s face it – nostalgia is one thing, but reality bites and my hands are beginning to suffer! But I think as my girls get older I might just have to pull the plug occasionally on the time-saving device so we can have some time-enhanced discussions as our busy lives take over.

About Grin & Tonic by Alana Kirk

Bouncing into middle age armed with courage, ambition and a pair of tweezers (chin hairs for anyone over the age of 45 reading this) I am a writer with a mission: to redefine this midway point in my life when the last thing I want to do is hang up my high heels and become invisible. This is the end of the beginning, not the beginning of the end. A single mum to 3 fabulous girls, an author, and a fundraising consultant, both ends of my candle are on fire. As I enter this new stage of my life, I want to explore what it means for 'mid-aged' women today, who were promised they could have it all, ended up doing it all, and just do not identify with the traditional image of middle age.
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3 Responses to Washing up a little nostalgia

  1. cath c says:

    ahhh, there is something to unplugging. around here, amazing things happen between us when the tv is turned off.


  2. Anonymous says:

    Hi, I commented on your last post, too. I am chuckling because we seem to be living a life of perfect contrasts. Eleven months ago I had my first dishwasher EVER installed. Just today I sent up a very sincere prayer of thanksgiving for that time-saving device.

    But I totally understand what you mean about unplugging and tuning in to the people around you. There is something about having a chore that keeps two people in the same room, but doesn't require mental energy… thus making the perfect setting for conversation. At our house, it's turning off the tv or just walking outside to sit in the backyard. We find it gets more and more difficult to talk as our girls get older and they want to know what we're talking about and interject (despite the good manners we've taught them).

    Call the repairman only when you're good and ready. 🙂


  3. Maggie May says:

    what an interesting life you've had! working for UNICEF must have been amazing.


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