A huge pile of dirty dishes takes adult-level problem solving skills. Did you know that new dishes arrive pre-cleaned? (Flickr)

The Drive Home: How to be an adult in a house full of dirty dishes

By Chris Williams

For the past few weeks, I’ve had the house all to myself, as my wife has been off-island visiting friends and family. And for the first time ever she didn’t get me a babysitter! Which is super cool cause it shows that I’ve grown up, a lot!

But being left alone in the house highlights some of our differences in the approach to simple household chores. One big difference is how the dishes get done. When we are both home, we have a meal, collect the dirty dishes, clean them in the sink, and then place them in the rack to dry for later use — boring and waaaay too mature for my taste.

When it’s just me, things go a little differently. I like to put the dishes in the sink, but then I like to soak them for a while to make them easier to clean and because there are things I’d rather be doing than cleaning dishes (like lying on the couch or fantasizing about being a mop).

I like to soak them in hot water for about 24 hours, but when the 24 hours is up, the water is cold and I really don’t like putting my hands in cold, dirty water. So I go into the workshop and design a tool out of an old coat hanger and a tin can to remove the plug from the sink without having to touch the cold, dirty water. Once the plug is out and the sink has drained, the dishes are left with a pretty gross covering of dirty sink water and food bits, which requires me to soak them for another 24 hours. And on and on it goes until about three hours before my wife gets back and I finally work up the courage to do the dishes (which are piled so high by now they are influencing weather patterns over much of Tlell).

The amount of dishes to clean is so great at this point that there is not enough hot water to get them all done. So I start to panic a bit, which causes anxiety, which I deal with by eating which requires clean dishes — which I don’t have. So instead of using dishes I use an old pizza box, which I have to fish out of the recycling. The outside of the pizza box is much cleaner than the inside so I use that surface to hold my spaghetti, eating it with a bit of tinfoil shaped like a spoon because all my cutlery is in the dirty sink water. Once I’ve eaten the spaghetti and burned the pizza box to hide the evidence of my failure as an adult, I start to panic again.

I really want to clean the dirty dishes because I want to prove to my wife that I can be left alone and do not require hourly check-ins from the neighbour. In past lives, I have dealt with this same situation by just throwing out the dishes and moving to another part of the world – running away from my problems into new, more exciting problems. But because I am trying to be an adult now, I decide to face the problem head on.

Drawing on all my adult problem-solving powers, I decide to pour epoxy resin over the pile of dishes. I call it art and start wearing a turtleneck and stop washing my hair, which according to the new federal guidelines for artists, makes me an artist! With the grant money I get for being an artist, I buy new dishes that look exactly like the old ones. When my wife gets home, she immediately knows what I’ve done (the turtleneck and massive pile of resin-covered dishes are a complete giveaway) and applauds my ingenuity and adult-like resourcefulness! And this, my friends, is how an adult gets the dishes done.

Hope this helps!

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