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The Times
  • Neal Simon: Requiem for a home appliance

  • I quit doing the dishes when our dishwasher -- a 1970s-era, avocado-green KitchenAid “hurricane in a box” dishwasher -- rinsed its last coffee cup and expired from old age a few months ago. If there was such a thing as classic appliance shows like there are classic car shows, this baby would have won best of show every time.

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  • In a moment, I’ll share a few words about the sad departure of a long-time Buffalo Bills player. But first, it’s time for a confession.
    I certainly don’t write this with pride. In fact, the feeling is more like a mixture of shame and regret. Sort of like you might feel after wasting away an afternoon watching several episodes of “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.”
    Oh well, here it goes: I have not cleaned a dirty dish since sometime before the Fourth of July.
    There, I wrote it. Say what you will, but first afford me the courtesy of at least reading my explanation.
    First of all, the Simons are not slobs. The girls are getting to the age where they can help Mom and Dad with housework. They are more than capable of doing a few dishes and putting the leftovers away after dinner.
    More to the point, my wife is pure magic when it comes to housekeeping. Like Michael Jordan on a basketball court, she was born with a gift, and she has not let it go to waste. God gave her the ability to clean and clean well — and she can do it in half the time it takes mere mortal males to accomplish the same task.
    I usually just stand back so I don’t get hurt. I watch with admiration as she attacks one of the children’s messy rooms. A transformation that truly astounds takes place. Where was once there was chaos, now there is order.
    So, the kitchen remains a respectable place to gather and entertain guests, despite no help from me. There is no pyramid of dirty glasses balancing atop a pile of food-encrusted plates, floating in brown-stained water that is pooling in a clogged kitchen sink. The dishes are getting done, just without my help.
    I quit doing the dishes when our dishwasher -- a 1970s-era, avocado-green KitchenAid “hurricane in a box” dishwasher -- rinsed its last coffee cup and expired from old age a few months ago. If there was such a thing as classic appliance shows like there are classic car shows, this baby would have won best of show every time.
    It was a front-loading portable model with a nine-position adjustable top rack and automatic soak cycle. Two coats of porcelain enamel plus an overglaze on the inside ensured long-lasting beauty. An American-made marvel, it even included a hard maple cutting board top. What a machine. Its demise is a tragedy. All that is left are some great memories.
    The dishwasher came with the house, and as it turns out, it was one of its best features. Although it was a portable, a previous owner had shimmied it into a space beside the stove and plumbed in its hoses. At first, we looked at it with some doubt. It appeared out of date and not capable of cleaning much of anything. Boy, what a surprise. All that was required was a little monkeying with the plumbing. Before long, we were in business. Scrape, rinse, load’er up! It did the job, and then some.
    Page 2 of 2 - I think I took the dishwasher for granted over the last six or seven years. The kitchen has not felt the same since it completed its last rinse cycle. We might replace it, but I’ll always have a special respect for that old KitchenAid. Home appliance just aren’t made to last that long anymore.
    I’ll probably have a similar depressed feeling later today when someone other than Brian Moorman punts for the Bills for the first time in more than a decade. Moorman signed with the Bills as a free agent in 2001 and held down the team’s punting duties until last week. He made two Pro Bowls and he holds nearly every Bills punting record, including highest career average (43.9 yards) and punts inside the opposing 20 (245).
    I doubt any of those fancy new dishwashers on sale today will still be getting plates clean 40 years from now and I doubt the young fella the Bills signed to do the punting will have a career in Buffalo comparable to Moorman’s. They don’t make dishwashers and punters like they used to.
    Neal Simon is an Evening Tribune staff writer in New York.
     

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