Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

My roommate's been away on vacation for about two weeks, and won't be back for another week. I like my roommate. He's been a really good roommate so far. It makes me try to be as good a roommate in return as I can possibly be. Which is why I feel really bad that I was a moron and broke the apartment yesterday.

Well, not quite. But still, I did something stupid that ended up eating up about five hours to make it all better.

I was in the kitchen, and on the phone, and loading the dishwasher. I saw a little bottle of something in one of the kitchen drawers. I didn't really look at it carefully, but it said something about making dishes sparkly, and I assumed it was like that Jet Dry stuff you put in the dishwasher to make your dishes sparkly. I've never used that before, but I figured maybe my roommate had bought it and was using it. The bottle was a little used. So I put some into the dishwasher dispenser and started the dishwasher.

About ten minutes later, still on the phone, I notice there's a puddle forming in front of the dishwasher. I was standing right there, so it didn't get out of control or anything like that. Just a little puddle. So I immediately shut off the dishwasher and opened it up. And noticed it was full of soap suds. Big suds, like the man who lives in the dishwasher was taking a bubble bath. And it was overflowing. You see, I put liquid dish soap into the dishwasher, and that's a bad thing.

What's really dumb is that I did this once before, when I was about ten years old. My mom told me to do the dishes. She assumed I knew that the powder goes in the dishwasher, not the liquid. I recall a kitchen full of soap suds. Like, a flood. A lot of water. Lots and lots of soapy water. I almost drowned. (I was a small kid.)

So I should have learned my lesson, but apparently I didn't. What made me feel especially terrible was that my landlord, on the rider to the lease, had a specific provision -- that we must remain in the apartment whenever the dishwasher was running. He seemed really concerned about a flood. So I felt extra bad.

But I caught it right away, and there wasn't that much water. I cleaned up the water, using about a half a roll of paper towels, and then I used a glass to start scooping the suds from the dishwasher and putting them in the sink.

Then I realized there's a part of the cycle that drains the dishwasher, so I tried that, and the water went away.

So that was good. But I still had a Jet Dry dispensing hole full of dish soap. My stepdad advised me to get a straw and suck it out. He was trying to be helpful. I didn't have any straws. I used paper towels to clean it out and flushed it with water. Then I went to sleep.

A small part of me wanted to leave it until my roommate got back, and then play dumb when the first time he ran the dishwasher, it flooded the kitchen. A small part of me. But I'm a terrible actor, and also not a jerk, so I knew I had to actually deal with it today. I tried running the dishwasher again, hoping the soap had been diluted enough. It wasn't. It started to flood. But I caught it before any water escaped. Because I was standing with my foot in the dishwasher crack, to feel any water before it hit the floor.

So then I turned to the Internet to figure out if anyone had a solution to this problem. Apparently, there are a number of solutions. Crisco Oil. Oil, Table Salt, and Ice Cubes. A bar of soap, liquid fabric softener, malt vinegar, milk, or a half-cup of vegetable oil. White vinegar. Baking soda.

I decided that despite the lack of consensus, I would try a bunch of these solutions and hopefully something would work. So I went to the supermarket and bought white vinegar (all we had in the apartment was red vinegar), vegetable oil (all we had was olive oil), table salt (all we had was sea salt), baking soda (all we had was regular soda), and a crate of Clementine oranges (not for the dishwasher, but they're good anyway).

Luckily, I remembered that in 4th grade, when we made a volcano, we mixed vinegar and baking soda and that created big amounts of foam. Exactly what I didn't want. So no baking soda. Now my refrigerator will smell fresh though. So I mixed together some oil and vinegar, and added some salt... and had a salad. And then I put some oil and vinegar in the dishwasher, added some salt, and ran the dishwasher. I stopped it every minute or so and looked inside. At first, suds. I scooped them out and continued the cycle. Fewer suds. Scooped them out. Added more salt. Continued the cycle. Fewer suds. Continued. I think I've cured it. I've run a complete cycle, and no flooding, and not really any suds. Tomorrow I'll try running it with the dishes and see what happens.

But I think I've escaped without any real consequences, luckily. No flooding, and the downstairs neighbor hasn't knocked on my door so I assume the small amount of water that got on the floor didn't seep down into his apartment. I mean, we're allowed to clean the floor, right? It is possible that under a normal circumstance, I could spill some water on the floor and it wouldn't cause a leak, right? I hope.

But I still feel bad that my roommate goes away on vacation and I break the apartment.