Home & Garden

If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s a sink full of dirty dishes


I wish I can pretend that Speedy and I spend our days watching movies and our nights sipping cocktails. But I can’t. I might manage to fool you but I sure as hell won’t be able to fool myself. We’ve been without a live-in helper for a year and a month, we’re still alive, we both still have two arms and two legs and… Okay, this is a four-bedroom house with three-and-a-half bathrooms (five bedrooms and four-and-a-half bathrooms if you include the helper’s quarters), a substantially-sized garden, we have two dogs, four cats, two kittens and who knows how many kinds of insects living with us. I’m not complaining. I’m luckier than most because I have a husband who doesn’t think he was born to be served hand-and-foot by his wife. He actually does more cleaning than I do and I am so thankful.

In short, between the two of us, we manage to maintain a fairly organized household. While I was the proverbial OC when we had live-in helpers and I insisted that everything be spick and span 24/7, I can’t be too finicky now that we have to do everything ourselves. Newly-laundered clothes sometimes land on the living room sofa but it’s nothing permanent. Sooner or later, the respective owners pick them up and they disappear to wherever they ought to go. My office couch is still full of neatly folded clothes though so I guess I’m the most delinquent of all when it comes to putting away my clean clothes.

As part of our effort to simplify housekeeping, we moved the kitchen to the “dirty” kitchen. Well, partially. If you’re not a Filipino and you find that reference to a “dirty” kitchen incomprehensible, it just means that many houses are built with an indoor “showcase” kitchen and an outdoor or semi-outdoor “dirty” kitchen where the real cooking actually gets done (usually, by the house helpers). That’s what we’ve got except that the “showcase” kitchen is a real kitchen (see how messy it gets) because that’s where I cook. The “dirty” kitchen is where the washing gets done. To make it more illustrative, all the pans and utensils that I use for cooking are brought outside to the “dirty” kitchen, washed there, air-dried there and then brought back in and placed where they’re normally kept until their next use. It’s tedious.

When there was talk about Speedy’s mom moving in with us (I don’t know when it will happen — if it actually happens), we started moving things around. I was going to vacate the room I’m using as an office so Speedy’s mom could have it. Since we were already moving things anyway, I suggested moving the kitchen into the “dirty” kitchen (the kitchen that we built in the gazebo has become unusable after so many typhoons). It would solve so many issues including the heat from the stove and the oven that gets trapped inside the house. And so we moved the cooking range and some of most frequently used kitchen tools and equipment.

Most other things have remained the same including the part where I cook, and where Speedy washes the dirty dishes and pots and pans. His routine is to let me finish everything and do the washing afterward. When the cooking was done indoors, I never really knew how long the interval was between the cooking and the washing because there was rarely any reason for me to go to the “dirty” kitchen. But now that the cooking range is only a few feet away from the “dirty” kitchen sink where everything gets dumped, I can immediately see the amount of dirty everything that needs washing. And Speedy would often find me washing whatever’s in the sink — often, while doing the cooking. And he would remind me that I should just leave everything and he would take care of it later.

It happened again earlier tonight and I had the feeling that maybe he thinks I don’t find his dish-washing satisfactory. So, I finally told him. It’s not that I don’t trust him to do the washing. I do and he does a good job of it. It’s something else. It’s kind of a pet peeve although it’s not just a mild annoyance. Some people can’t stand seeing huge piles of dirty clothes. Some people can’t stand unmade beds or stray books or dirty ash trays or throw pillows on the couch that aren’t perfectly aligned. Me? I can’t stand a sink full of dirty dishes. I just can’t. When my mother was still alive, we had a discussion about that. Her style was to start washing only when the sink was full. I prefer washing right after using anything — even if it’s just a coffee cup.

If that makes me OC about the kitchen sink, so be it. We all have things we can’t stand — I’m sure you have one or two or more. One of mine is a kitchen sink full of unwashed pots and plates.

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