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R.E. Butler has called Southern New Jersey home for the past three years, and lives there with her husband, two young children, and two dogs. She retired from her executive assistant job at 27 to become a stay-at-home mom, and took the plunge into self-publishing in 2011, with the first in her wiccan-were-bear novella series. When she's not busy chasing her kids and dogs around, you'll find her working at her laptop, arguing with her characters, and avoiding housework as much as possible.
My Best Friend the Dishwasher
by R.E. Butler
There isn't a whole lot that it takes to make me happy. A few quiet minutes in the morning with a hot cup of tea. The smiles on my kids' faces. A good book. And, oh yeah, my dishwasher.
I'm a child of the 80s. I remember when my father installed our first dishwasher. No longer would I be shackled to the kitchen sink after dinner, elbow deep in suds while my brother dried. Since then, I haven't hand washed a dish unless it was imperative to keeping the dish in top shape. Like the set of pans my husband got me last year. They all have to be hand washed, damn him. I love the pans, hate to wash them, and I'm lazy enough to debate the need for a non-stick surface every time I use them and consider shoving them carelessly into the dishwasher. And then there's my Great Grandmother's hundred year-old dishes. They didn't even have dishwashers back then, so guess what? Hand washing. Every time. Which is why they're tucked away in the cabinet except for holidays.
I didn't realize how much I really loved my dishwasher until it broke on Monday. For some reason, right when it was full to the brim with dishes, it wouldn't start. I had to empty everything out for my handy-man husband so he could figure out what was wrong with it. Turns out it needs a new control panel. $150 later, I'm a week out from delivery which means - horror of horrors! - I have to hand wash my dishes for the next week.
I know what you're thinking. Hey, you're a woman of the 21st century. You can wash dishes. Well, of course I can, but the truth is, I don't want to. My husband said the way I was carrying on about washing dishes, that it sounded as if I'd gone back into the stone ages with the loss of one modern convenience. I have to say, it kind of felt that way.
When I wrote The Tribe's Bride, I set the majority of the story in the late 1600s, with a fictional Native American tribe that set up residence in a mountainous region. I did extensive research about what life was like back then; how people hunted, cooked, sewed and lived. The heroine, Carrie, is dropped from modern times back into the 1600s. Writing about her coping with the abrupt changes to her life as she learns to live without any modern conveniences taught me a lot. The main thing...that I'd make a lousy pioneer.
There are a lot of things I could live without. The television, my Jacuzzi tub, and even my Kindle because I could always go back to reading books from the library. But in all honesty, I don't think I could live without my dishwasher. I crave the time saving that comes with pouring in some soap, shutting the door and pushing the 'start' button. Call me lazy if you will, but if washing the dinner dishes by hand means I can't cuddle with my kids and watch SpongeBob (who, by the way I could definitely live without), then I'll take my dishwasher, thank you very much.
My dishwasher. How I miss you.
If there was one modern convenience you absolutely couldn't live without, what would it be? Comment (and leave your email address) for a chance to win one ebook from R.E.'s backlist. A winner will be drawn in ONE week, on 9/17/12.