The hero of Dishwasher Gulch

by RW Spisak

The floor was caving in our house. We’d say, I’m going to mosey on down to the sink which was near about 1/2 a foot lower, than the upper kitchen highlands.

We saved our ha’pennies, an in about ten years we scrapped together enough coins, pretty shells, some darn fine beads and a few nice mirrors and found a contractor who would help.

Should be … about a two month project he suggested, well here we are, five months later, we’re hoping to get in before New Years.

The team this day was augmented by a couple specialists and the team was working through what’s generally referred to as a punchlist, probably because at this stage, most people are ready to punch somebody.

These guys are pros and they almost always have something funny to say, too often about some new costly issue that has arisen. Mr Blandings could cite you chapter and verse on that one.

But it’s getting close and every misstep each and every delay must be wrestled onto to its back, and the details resolved usually requiring addition purchases made to make things “RIGHT”.

One of the pros, a man of many talents was heading into the house for what we hoped was the last day or maybe two, before we could move back in our house.

“Rick”, he called, “Rick… you better come see this.” His was not a voice accustomed to expressing joy, this was a voice, accustomed to the slow difficult work of resolving problems, fixing complex construction difficulties. Plumbing, painting, wiring hanging, mounting, securing as well as the careful work of controlled destruction. They were his bread and butter and the stuff of nightmares.

I had to make my way across the yard, I’d happily left the construction work to the professionals, but I was being called as “the owner”, the guy, who has to say – “yeah sure, spent more” of what I don’t have to “make it right”.

I entered the foyer, ears suddenly assailed with a raucous grinding sound that might have been “normal” in a rock quarry or a mineral processing conveyor belt. Irregular, grumbly stuttering, random like broken ill fitting gears grabbing passed each other, playing a very bad hand of ball-bearing jubilee!

Shut it off! I shouted, as if this most obvious response was a life vest for my poor ears, and I knew could not mean anything good for our new nearly completed kitchen.

I got “the shrug” in return, from a man who has gutted and restored more building than I’ve slept in. Can you UNPLUG IT? I asked. I think she’s hard wired in, he offered. Rather than debate the point, with the man who probably wired it, I headed for the circuit breaker box. After all how many circuits could run to a kitchen? I can do this!

Well I discovered after switching off all eight breakers headed to our modern kitchen, opening and closing each one had no effect on that terrible grinding sound. No effect, whatsoever on the grinding gears that sounded more like a TRex grinding granite blocks while wearing steel dentures.

I had another idea, our Dishwasher or what maybe now sounded like a former Dishwasher (two drawer model) I tried shutting off the top drawer. Silence! Joy ! However three silent moments later, the bottom drawer began shrieking and grinding with the same enthusiasm as the upper drawer. Trying it seemed to need to reduce the entire granite state to Beach Quality Sand. Yet undaunted and barely plussed, I reached down and shutoff the bottom drawer. Silence again. My ears thanked me, the construction giant and I exchanged happy smiles yet again, only two beats later the grinding returned to the upper drawer. Upper off, lower on. Lower off, upper on.

Each restart added an urgency a new vengeance and now featuring a supplemental high pitch whine to accompany the granite punishing sounds crashing from deep below.

Unconvinced this was a totally fruitless approach, since there are six (unlabeled buttons) along the top edge of the both drawers, I tried different combinations; the two end buttons held down, then just the 3rd, then the fifth. Each time there would be a temporary lapse 4 seconds maybe then two, maybe 5 but always the return to the grindery the rock shocking broken gear grabbing and now with the new the high pitch whine.

“Can you pull it out?” I ask. “We have to stop this thing before it explodes or catches fire” – I implore our good construction foreman. He hasn’t seemed susceptible to my urgency… Thoughtfully he offers, “Bob’s coming by soon… we’ll ask him.” However, I’m not finished negotiating? “Is he on his way?” I ask the nearly disinterested fellow, standing there in my nearly completed kitchen while catacombs are evidently be carved from living rock, somewhere deep inside the dishwasher … the dishwasher that would not die!

Scratching his chin he replies, “Oh no, Bobs got three or four stops, he might not even get by today”, he tosses back with no more enthusiasm than one might summon while speculating about possible afternoon rain.
I seem to be having a “failure to communicate” moment.

The urgency I feel, my ears (and kitchen) under the assault of what’s sounding now like two pyramids and the sphinx playing tackle football with a ziggurat. Besides he offered as if to close the matter, “if I pull the Dishwasher out of the new cabinets, water might leak, the new floor might get scratched and also it might be hard wired.”

I said OK – I pick them off, one by one. “we can mop the floor, the precision fit will have to be abandoned, and we can set cardboard down to protect the new floor- but WE MUST GET THIS UNPLUGGED, or UNWIRED because if this burns up it might catch the new cabinets on fire too!”

I cultivated no enthusiasm but he carefully extracted the Dishwasher, 1/4 inch by quarter inch, until we could see the plug in the back wall.
Which he happily unplugged. And the blessed silence returned, our ear drums began to slowly return to normal contours. It was then – I declared him. Jerry, hero of DISHWASHER GULCH!