Slightly Bemused writes:
Well, the dishwasher is broken. Again.
Went to put on a load before bedtime, and before I am halfway up the stairs I get the beeps of doom. Error E2, whatever that means. I know I kept the manual, and even downloaded a version, but do you think I can find either at this time? Something for the morning, I reckon.
This happened before, and I think I know what the culprit is. My dishwasher has a mini fat berg. Which is appropriate, given it is a mini dishwasher. A wonderful countertop version, it takes me a few days to fill it, and then washes everything clean with less water than I would use in a basin. Greta Thunberg would be happy with me. Except maybe for the chemicals. And, of course, before Little Slightly arrived, and discovered sausages.
Every so often though something too greasy gets put in, and it does not clear it all if you are not careful. So the grease builds up around the fairly small floats that determine things like emptying the water out, pumping the water in, or my favourite: Stop pumping the water in. I came down one day to the beeping, and found the entire unit had filled with water that was still coming in. The seals are good, but not that good, and water was all over the floor.
This was before the furry carpet incident, but it may have helped lead to it.
And today I had to chuckle ruefully. It reminded me of myself when I was half her age. In two respects. I was over at Grandma Slightly’s place with the horde, visiting the horde that lied there, with Aunt Slightly’s mini-horde along for the craic. At one point, I noted that Grandma had put on a washing, and the twin tub was sitting by the sink. Outlet hose had been taken from its storage position and hooked over the sink to drain away. Young me looked at this and thought it a waste of water, and plugged the drain hole. A short time later there is a yell from the kitchen, adults come running only to find the sink full and overflowing. It was an old one with no overflow drain, not that one would have helped much given the outflow from the tub.
Not only is there water everywhere on the floor, it is draining into the contents of the under sink cabinet. Grandma was furious. and demanded to know who had done this wicked deed. My Mum assured her that none of her little wains could ever dream up such a diabolical thing. All were drafted in to mop, squeeze, slop out and eventually return the kitchen to a sense of normality. All while dinner was cooking in and on the old Rayburn range, somewhat cut off by the floodwaters. But I think my mother knew, and went point for me.
At last all was well, food was piled onto plates, and all the tables were filled with munching munchkins while the adults chatted about stuff that went over our heads. Roll on a few years, and I am at home asked to help my Mum clean up after cooking dinner, letting it settle before we sat to eat. Clear the cooking dishes, then eat, then wash the dinner plates and such, that was the plan.
So little old me decided that the best way to clean the roasting pan that had cooked the roast potatoes in suet rendered fat was to pour it down the drain of the sink. So I did. Of course, I knew nothing of the fact that fat would congeal. Well, I did, because we saw it do it. Mum and Dad’s usual way of disposing of same was to let it set, then scrape it and dump it. In the winter, my mother would use it to make fat balls for the birds, but in summer it went the way of the bin.
So a load of hot melted suet fat is poured down a drain where it promptly gels into a nice fat berg. Water goes nowhere, and even the overflow pipe is blocked. There was no getting away with this either. Mum had seen me, and yelled ‘Stop!’, but it was too late, the damage was busy moulding itself to the shape of the drain, and the u-turn, and as we later learned, the entire downpipe to the drain. First it coated, then everything else stuck to it.
Did I mention that my Dad was an engineer? He was, and very good at it. Anyways, I got a lesson in how drains work, and why it is not a good idea to pour fat down a sink. We had to dismantle the whole system to the main drain. I had the joy of cleaning out the dank smelly pipes and removing all the crud. It was not pleasant, and at the time I felt very put upon. Richly deserved, and me-of-then did not appreciate that my Dad was also teaching me about plumbing.
He quietly let me know why narrowing of the pipes affected things like speed of drainage, and why some pipes were thinner than others. What is the fall a pipe should have for good gravity flow, and why straight down is really not the solution. And how to remove a fat berg from a blocked drain. Time, effort, and hot water. All was put back together, all did not leak (after Dad checked the seals, that is) and I was allowed have a by now much needed bath and change into clean jammies, as it was now past my bedtime.
After that, a new system for fat disposal was introduced: the empty glass bottle! A glass bottle of some form was set up with a funnel atop. Liquid fats were poured in, where they could settle any which way they wanted. Once full, the bottle cap was affixed, and the bottle put in the bin. I still do the same today
Over this past weekend I took Little Slightly to visit another wing of the family, who arrived in their multitude. During the course of the evening I was reminded of a conversation between my Mum and Aunt Slightly. It went along the lines that the art of conversation is to start on one subject, wander through many others, before finally returning to the original topic. Turned into a little competition as my cousins kept interrupting my story off to new paths before one finally turned and said ‘Let’s give Slightly a few seconds so he can recalibrate and return to his story’, at which point without a break I returned exactly to the part I had been interrupted at. It’s not clear if she was pleased, or another ‘p’ word, but she laughed while using language I cannot print here.
So I think Little Slightly may have inadvertently put something into the dishwasher that had a bit too much grease. Or maybe not one, but several post-sausage or post-rasher frying pans too many. And so the poor thing is on strike, and wants a little TLC again, and maybe some hot water. Sadly that will have to wait until the weekend comes, but it has been a faithful friend of fine cleaning, and deserves a little break. I am sure it will soon be back up to its usual chirpy slurpy self, and pristine dishes shall once again grace my shelves.
But don’t worry! I will not make Little Slightly clean it out alone. Or send her to bed afterwards.
Slightly Bemused‘s column appears here every Wednesday.