family,  ramble

It’s the Simple Things: Reclaiming Time

Last March, that’s five months ago, our dishwasher gave out. My husband, who believes in the ability of all appliances to return from the grave, suggested he could fix it.


Again, that was five months ago.


The kids don’t stop using dishes because there isn’t a magical box below the counter to vanquish the gunk.


“No big deal. I’m tough. I can handle this,” I say in March. And really, it isn’t a huge problem. People are facing all kinds of horrific challenges. Washing dishes by hand isn’t a trial or a hardship. It’s only a time snatcher.


I came up with a creative way to get the kids involved. Grandma and Grandpa like to spoil them with sugar cereals. After one of their visits I put a requirement on this indulgence. In order to have a bowl of the yummy stuff, five dishes had to be washed. This was wonderful until I reached for a glass from the cupboard and my fingers slid along the surface. GROSS! In an effort to save us all from food poisoning, I went back to the suds…alone.


After many failed attempt to revive the dishwasher, my husband called in a professional. It took only minutes before the man declared our machine dead. No longer able to be revived. Pull the life support and let it go.


You have to know that by this time my husband had taken the dishwasher into the backyard, put it up on blocks, and wired it to the electricity by a long string of coax sprawling through my kitchen. As if our creative fencing and dryer repair hadn’t already given us the gold stamp of redneck approval, we’d now hit a new high (or low).



All that’s behind us now. We brought in an installed the new washer last week. It’s beautiful, quiet, and washes the dishes with such ease. And my time has exploded.


Let’s take a look:


5 months without a dishwasher.

110 episodes of the Dick Van Dyke show watched on my laptop while washing dishes (help keeps things in perspective).

Each episode equals 25 minutes. That’s 2750 minutes.

I watched (really listened) to the program only a fraction of the time I washed. Let call it half to be generous. That brings our total to 5500 minutes.

Five months is approximately 22 weeks. Which means I spend about 250 minutes per week washing dishes. That’s 4 hours and 10 minutes a week!


The kids are back to loading their own dishes and taking turns unloading the dishwasher. This may not have worked out so well for them, but for me, it’s wonderful.


In four hours I can:

Write 4,500 words.

Edit 40 pages.

Write 5 blog posts (it takes me much longer to blog than to write in my manuscript).

Critique 4 submissions from my critique group.


Life is so good!


Hey, take a second to notice the new gizmo at the top right of the screen. If you could add your email to my list, it will make you eligible for future giveaways. Trust me, you will not be sent a bunch of email and I will never share your information.




Christina Suzann Nelson is an inspirational speaker and award-winning author of six books, including More Than We Remember, What Happens Next, and the Christy Award-winning The Way It Should Be. She is the mother of six children and is passionate about helping others find hope after trauma.

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