The big event of the week thus far has been the installation of a new dishwasher after our old one stopped working reliably. My mom, the most generous soul I know, gifted us a beautiful new machine that, upon her asking me how it looks, I replied, “like it belongs in a way nicer home.” Although this May sound like complaining, it was my facetious way of saying that it’s gorgeous and our kitchen is not; we are thrilled to have it.

The dishwasher was purchased at Lowe’s which then subcontracts out the installation. This was a poorly-managed process. It took almost six weeks to get the machine delivered and installed once purchased. They canceled three times! When it was finally our day, instead of giving some kind of delivery window of a few hours like most businesses, they only give you “normal business hours” of 7am-5pm. For any person with commitments, I imagine this 10-hour window to be rather ridiculous; it’s also not appreciated by someone who likes to be able to plan and have a schedule. The one thing they tell you is that you’ll get a call when the truck is about 30 minutes away. This is marginally helpful because you can run out for an errand or quick walk, but it does little for opening up space to plan anything much outside.

Ultimately, they arrived at the end of their work day and far later than I wanted. It took two hours because we have wonky cabinetry, which made for a very difficult fit, both in terms of removing the old machine and installing the new one. The technician reported that it appeared the kitchen tiles were actually tiled after the dishwasher had been installed such that they wrapped around it and sat up higher than the machine. Yikes.

The aspect of the installation that I’m most happy and proud to report is how I handled the whole thing in terms of stress and anxiety. Not only would I have previously not tolerated having two unknown servicemen in my house alone due to PTSD, but I also would have been a wreck of frustration and grumpiness over the major inconvenience of having to be home and available all day and the two-hour, loud, disruptive, smelly, socially- and sensory-overwhelming situation of having the guys doing the work. Adding a significant complication to the ordeal was that it completely interfered with my dinner (and I hate having meals interrupted or thrown off) as well as when I go upstairs to rest in the dark before bed. Without being in an environment free from artificial light for several hours before bed, I struggle to calm my body and brain for sleep. This dishwasher process was a reminder to me about how necessary that long buffer time is. It’s not just a habit or a neuroses I adhere to; it is a learned lifestyle modification to address a very real need.

Fortunately, we don’t need new appliances often. With relatively consistency, I can usually adhere to the evening routine I do best with. The hassle of things like this installation are worth it though when you end up with a gorgeous, functional, efficient unit—and a generous gift to boot! We certainly wouldn’t have been able to replace our broken machine ourselves right now because it’s a luxury appliance. We just found out we need several thousands of dollars of electrical work (due to dysfunction and safety violations) and need all our ductwork cleaned. With that said, dishwashers tend to save water and with my plethora of major food allergies, it’s important that we get our mixed-used dishes impeccably clean. In our experience, the dishwasher tends to outperform our hand washing abilities. If the dishes aren’t spotless, the risk of cross-contamination presents itself.

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