As is typical for us around Christmas time, we had a major appliance break down this year. Two years ago, the refrigerator. This time it was the dishwasher. To date, we simply have not had time to go and look for a new one. As Neel is the chief bottle-washer, this change impacts his life most directly.
We're all stepping up. Well, I'm stepping up. Normally, I can not be accused of having dishpan hands. Our division of labor falls, and I think I've told you this before, so that I'm primarily doing what I like, which is the cooking, and Neel is doing primarily what he likes, which is keeping things clean.
We don't make a ton of dishes, but it's too much for one person to tackle alone. So I take better care when I'm cooking to clean as I go, and I help dry when Neel has a big batch in front of him. Our sink is big and deep, and he fills it with hot and soapy water. If I'm moving around in other parts of the house, I can hear the burble of the water and the clink of the plates and glasses. (Given Neel's propensity for breaking our glassware, this could get dicey, but so far so good!) A couple of days ago he said, "I actually kind of like doing the dishes like this. It's nice, and you can look out the window."
Now if you know Neel at all, doesn't this sound just like him? It really does, but I had to find out too. So one day when he was at work and we had a load piling up, I filled the sink myself and began the rhythm of rinse and soap, wash and rinse. It's the rhythm that draws him, and it draws me too. Rinse and soap, wash and rinse. He's right. You can look out the window, and you sort of lose yourself there and in the rhythm of the work. I'm reminded of a line from Enchanted April, "Your mind slips sideways." I should watch that again.
When I was growing up, doing the dishes was a family affair. Each of us had a job, and there was a rhythm to that too. My mom cleared and put away and my dad washed while I loaded the dishwasher. Rinse and soap, wash and rinse. That evening ritual was as significant as was our sitting down to the table together. Our rhythm here is different. There is much homework to be done, both before and after dinner, and blog posts to be written. So Neel bears the brunt of this important work each night. But I hear the water splash in the sink, and the clink of a glass, and it's all connected. I'm a little girl again. The past is now. Rinse and soap, wash and rinse.