Saturday, May 17, 2008

In Which Houston, We Have A Problem

There was quite an interesting phenomenon occurring at the Badass Geek household over the past couple of days. What started with a few dirty dishes in a neat pile in the sink, progressed quickly into an impressive, mountainous pile of them, occupying every square inch of open counter space. The rate at which these dishes reproduced was stunning, quicker than a horny Catholic couple with a genetic history of twins. Armed with a suppressed gag reflex and a notepad, I went in for a closer look.

Upon examination, I noticed there was a large degree of variation within these creatures. The population consisted mostly of round, flat objects, seemingly paired with a number of thin, elongated metal structures with sharp tines or blades affixed on the end. Strewn among them was a series of shallow, container-like devices, most of them host to different colored liquids. Standing near the edge of the counter was a handful of tall, clear, octagonal shaped creatures, most with a crusty, milk-colored residue at the bottom. I assumed that these elegant creations at one time held liquid. Lastly, I made note of the largest of the species; two massive beings, made of thick, heavy metal. They seemed similar in formation to the container-like creatures, but in lieu of liquid was a large amount of a black, char-like substance on the bottom inside surface.

A rancid smell became apparent during my investigation. I quickly ascertained that there were varying levels of cleanliness among this species. Some of them, presumably after eating their meal, had been properly rinsed. Most still had remnants of their prior meal, indicating either laziness, impatience, or both. The thin metal structures seemed to have played a vital role in the slaying of their food, as most of them were still covered in the blood of their last kill.

Not wanting my entire household to be overrun by this rampant species, I quickly searched online for suggestions on how to get rid of the vermin. The most obvious suggestion was a device called a "dishwasher". Although it seemed fairly easy to use, not requiring certification or a license prior to use of it, I did not have the disposable income for such an elaborate tool. I pressed on to find a manual method, and I was discouraged until I found this article. In step-by-step form, it explained how to methodically clean and rinse all of the unwanted inhabitants with a special soap and a sponge. Apparently the dishes would not simply clean themselves.

Other articles I found online said to use "old fashioned elbow grease" if any of the dishes proved harder to clean than others. After searching in vain for it at all the local hardware stores, I began to think it was not a real product. My suspicions were confirmed when I asked for assistance in finding it. The store associate laughed, and when he realized I was serious about my inquiry, advised that the product does not exist. I was angry at being misled, and made a mental note to fire off a complaint e-mail once my dish problem was resolved.

Back at home, I followed the dish washing instructions as closely as I could. Sure enough, before long the pile of dirty dishes gradually became smaller. Other instructions I found online recommended that after washing the dishes, to let them dry and store them carefully in cupboards or on shelves. Confused by this suggestion, I read on to find that it is best to retain the dishes for future use. Being an avid supporter of recycling, I complied. Fortunately I had a few empty cupboards available, and placed the dishes inside, organized by type, size, and shape.

I did notice one side effect from the cleansing process. Once the last dish was cleaned, I noticed that the skin on my fingertips and hands had become wrinkled and prune-like in appearance. I could not determine if there is any danger associated with this, although I am assuming there is none. The symptom disappeared within 30 minutes, and no other side effects have presented themselves thus far.

From start to finish, the entire ordeal took just over two hours. I suppose if I had spent less time analysing the problem, I would have been done with the project much sooner. I learned that daily cleansing of the dishes will prevent them from multiplying and spreading into other areas of the kitchen. Apparently, only if left un-attended will the population expand uncontrollably. The experience as a whole was both exhausting and informative. I have implimented a daily dish-washing program to prevent a future outbreak.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to see if I can find an Elbow Grease vendor somewhere online.


Heather said...

I seem to be suffering from a similar invasion. Since you're the expert could you come over and take care of it for me? I'd appreciate it immensely!!

Badass Geek said...

Ah! I was afraid it'd spread into a nation-wide epidemic. Unfortunately, I only have the physical strength and stamina to do my own dishes every day. I'm sorry!

I've heard rumor of what is called a "maid" service. They supposedly come over to your house and clean. Odd choice for a job, if you ask me.

DeeDee said...

That was brilliant! I loved it. I'm going to have to share it with my grandmother who always seems to have an outbreak at her house.

I've encountered it more times than I care to admit but I found that the use of paper and plastic turns out to be a fabulous vaccine!

Now if I can come up with a way to stop that whole mystery of the ever growing laundry mountain I'd be set!

moonspun said...

I live with an adorable man who takes his role as dishwasher seriously. Last week when he went out of town, they seemed to pile up and I was unsure of what to do. Then I had vague memories of a former life and dug my hands in. (I have no internet at home and could not be as enterprising as you). Let me know when you find that Elbow Grease online...I'd like the end of the day I find my internal supply runs low...

Badass Geek said...

Deedee: You know, I tried using paper and plastic dishes, but I ended up with quite a large mess when I baked a casserole inside of a makeshift paper dish. I guess technology hasn't advanced far enough to make fire-proof paper.

Moonspun: No luck with the Elbow Grease search. And still no reply to my complaint e-mail, either.

Jess said...

I asked the same question of my local Handy Hardware store, and was greeted with the same response.

I then asked The Husband, and was given the oddest look. Must be a myth, This Elbow Grease.

It's the only explanation.

Badass Geek said...

Jess, I think you're right. This Elbow Grease is an urban legend. I've tried seeing if I can get any grease from my elbows, but no matter what I do, no grease.

Tantilizing idea. If only it were real.

prin said...

Thanks for the post. I now know how to combat that vast invasion in my own kitchen :) I am a lucky one though I do have a dishwasher...came with the place. Then it's on to the "ever growing laundry mountain" Where is that "elbow grease" when you ned it :)

Badass Geek said...

Prin: You have a dishwasher? You lucky, lucky fiend. I'm saving my pennies for one myself. I'm really starting to dislike the "prune-y hands syndrome" that occurs after washing dishes.

prin said...

LOL! yeah...the thing about a dishwasher, besides how much electricity they use is that you still ge the pruney hands syndrome because if you don't want to ruin it or have plumbing problems then you basically have to wash them *before* you put them in, i know :) I end up half the time just washing them, if there's not to many. I only use it when it will require major "elbow grease" which is about once a week lately...I've been pretty good :)this morning though you inspired me to go in there and git r dun :) thanks!

Belle said...

Oh my god!

In the UK we actually have Elbow Grease!
It's even in a dandy little spray so we can clean all the counters and surfaces with it.

I should so send you some.

Karen Hansord said...

Dear Badass Geek,

I like your blog. Therefore, I am going to read your "chapters" from start to finish.
Think of this message as a doggy-ear mark.

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