Flowers? Candy? Dinner? A mushy card? Maybe a heartfelt Facebook post? The available options for celebrating love on Valentine’s Day are endless.
As a wife of over thirty years, I shall show my devotion by loading the dishwasher the way my husband likes it done. Nothing I could say or buy could better express my love for my husband. My love language this year will be this act of service. I can almost hear the love songs being written about it.
My husband and I are on the same page in many areas. We are in step with one another in matters of church and state. We both believe The Christmas Story is the best Christmas movie, we share a love of reading, and we both like our children.
But we’re not sympathetic on all things, and in many ways, we are opposites.
He is a master of self-discipline, prefers to stick to a regimented schedule, and uses Miracle Whip on turkey sandwiches. In contrast, I am distracted by shiny things, am prone to random naps, and know that mayo goes on turkey…duh.
Our opposing natures are most pronounced when it comes to loading the dishwasher. He says my style of loading a dishwasher is rooted in malevolent chaos, and his is “the correct way.” In this area of life, in his eyes, I am more deranged wild animal than human. Every time we clear the dinner dishes, the poor man is forced to contend with my tornado-like loading style.
When one decides to marry, it is prudent to consider many factors. You and your future spouse should discuss religion, politics, finances, thermostat temperature preference, and your respective stances on oatmeal cookies. Put all your cards out on the table before you consider saying “I do,” or you’ll be arguing whether oatmeal cookies are, in fact, cookies or are a form of aggression in the shape of a cookie for the rest of your life. (I’m anti-oatmeal cookie, he is irrationally pro-oatmeal cookie.)
When we dated, not once in seven years of pre-wedded bliss did the topic of how to load a dishwasher rear its ugly head. It wasn’t until after we’d opened a joint checking account and divvied up the closet space (7/8ths to me, 1/8th to him) that we realized dishwasher loading was an issue. And by issue, I mean each thinks the other’s method is psychotic.
My husband loads the dishwasher with military precision. The bowls are in one row, the plates are in order of size in the next row, cups are up top, and each item is in its place.
I like to call my method artistic. I let the dirty dish go where it feels like it wants to go. My main thought process for putting a dish in the dishwasher is that I don’t have to hand wash it, and I can’t see it anymore. Out of sight, out of mind, in my book.
I am the manic pixie dream girl of dishwasher loading. I’m a middle-aged version of Zoey Deschanel. Bowls can go on the top rack! It’s fun for them! Forks and knives in the same section of the silverware basket? You betcha. It’s 2022. All manner of silverware can do what it wants behind the closed dishwasher door. Maybe I’ll put the Instant Pot lid in the dishwasher because I’m a wild woman.
My husband does not appreciate my art.
This Valentine’s Day, I am loading the dishwasher his way to show my love. I’ll line up the bowls, array the plates on the bottom rack in descending order of size, and face everything towards the star of the show, the water sprayer.
My exasperated husband has often asked me how I expect dishes that don’t face the water sprayer to get clean? Instead of answering him, cold turkey, I shall load the dishes like a responsible adult. Cups meticulously positioned on the top rack and silverware segregated.
I know my long-suffering hubs will appreciate my Valentine gesture, and in return, will bring me flowers and unload the dishwasher. Because there is no better way to woo your wife than unloading the dishwasher once a year.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Originally published in The Extra Mile