My stepson was home over Spring Break, which aside from numerous grandparent dinners, was largely unexceptional. Until Saturday. Friends were in from out-of-town and Derek was kind enough to straighten the kitchen for me after I’d asked three times. I guess he wanted to make sure I REALLY wanted it cleaned. I have to admit, I was impressed with the final results. I only had to run a sponge over a couple of spots that were no doubt difficult for male eyes to see. Typically I’d have had to call him back in several times to explain that pots and pans actually have to be placed in the dishwasher, rather than left to “air clean” on top of the stove.

When my friends arrived I showed them into the den, adjacent to the kitchen, and offered drinks. As I approached the refrigerator, I noticed something on the floor. My mind grappled to identify what my eyes were seeing  as I gasped, which brought my friends racing to my side. I’m sure they thought I’d come across a mouse, lizard, or some such unwanted creature, but luckily, that wasn’t the case. Instead, my dishwasher was spewing white suds. 

A miniature lake of foam stretched across the floor. I think I spun in a circle about three times before I made the decision to stop the dishwasher.  (I’m not that great in emergency situations.) I then spun another three times deciding whether to go ahead and make drinks for my friends, and a double for myself, or simply to fetch the mop. Bad hostess or bad housekeeper? Eh, the floor’s slate. It would keep. As I tended bar I called my husband in to investigate.

So did the dishwasher just go wonky? Get clogged up? Nope. College boy put Dawn dishwashing liquid in the dispenser. Derek was called in to assist with mopping while my friend explained to her mesmerized 4-year-old the difference between dishwashing soap and dishwasher detergent. Hint: One doesn’t make suds.

Of course there was no lasting damage. We ran the dishwasher about three times on rinse and it was good as new. I now have a very clean floor, very clean dishwasher and a stepson who keeps asking why we put those two very confusing soaps next to each other under the sink. (We’re just diabolical that way.)

The entire incident reminded me of  his younger brother’s reasoning at the age of 9. Austin spilled a Coke in his room one day and refused to clean it up, screeching, “It’s not my fault!” 

“How is it not your fault?” we asked. 

“They made the can too slippery!”

Who can argue with that logic?

But boys grow up to become men, and this young man will return to school tomorrow with memories of all those dinners, a baseball game with his dad and granddad, and a bit more personal knowledge of a mop than I’m sure he ever expected.


  1. Yeah, I noticed you all made a hasty retreat to admire the backyard dig project! Good thinkin’! Glad Jack had fun and hope he remembers the soap lessons he’s learned. :)

  2. The incident did make Jack’s memories on our drive home: dogs, trains, friends and oh yeah the bubbles coming out of the dishwasher!
    My husband is still remarking on how calmly that was all handled. I told him he missed the turning in circles and mumbling…

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