Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Nesting Bowls are my Nemesis

Like my father before me, I like to develop more efficient ways of doing things. Since my world is pretty limited these days, my gifts for innovative, forward-thinking programs must be spent on the most mundane of tasks, like doing laundry, walking the dog and emptying the dishwasher.

Sometimes I face obstacles. They are much like the obstacles Sandra Bullock faces each day at work, only instead of them involving multi-million dollar drug development issues, they involve common household goods.

To this growing list I add my most recent nemesis, nesting bowls.

While I am sure that nesting bowls are a boon to anyone needing several sizes of bowl but having only limited storage space, nesting bowls are a large, obnoxious thorn in my side as I work toward a better way of emptying the dishwasher.

I empty the dishwasher several times a week. Each time I open the door warily, hoping that this time I will face no nesting bowls. Without nesting bowls, emptying the dishwasher is a joy -- well, maybe not a joy, exactly, but much more pleasant -- and, despite vicious opposition from my wife and Jawa, I have slowly, mostly without their knowledge, been improving on the methodology we use to load and empty the dishwasher.

Surprisingly, as she is normally a model of efficiency, S. Bullock is completely not on board with this. In fact, she gets a special kick out of completely discrediting the improvements I have made on the way we do laundry around here. Personally, I can't tell you how much I prefer to be folding ONLY shirts in one load and ONLY pants, underwear and socks in another. Especially given that we have limited space, so I fold on our bed.

Her ridicule, however, is nothing compared to the barrage she aimed at me regularly during the pre-jawa laundromat days, when I timed each load to finish exactly 4 minutes apart, giving me just enough time to fold a load before the next one was done.

The dishwasher has been more of a challenge, because the whole of our "dishes," that is, everything we eat off of or drink out of, is an unmatched melange of colors, sizes, shapes and uses. We have the eight-piece set, which illogically resides in two different cabinets. Then we have the plastic plates, the Jawa's assortment of plastic cups (which maddeningly live in a lower cabinet), various Tupperware containers, silverware, and a bunch of little bowls, plates and ramikins which, to me, have no practical use and yet seem to show up in each and every load we wash.

And then there are the nesting bowls.

These are not the original nesting bowls. Those ones were black. We got them as a wedding present. Actually, we got two sets of them. Over the past almost 15 years, I have methodically destroyed them, one by one,until now only two remain. I do not know where they are kept. When they insult me by appearing in the dishwasher, I simply place them on the counter. They are Sandra Bullock's problem.

A few years ago, S. Bullock's mom, Mean Jean, bought us a new set of glass nesting bowls. Where the black ones went only 4 deep, these ones come in about a dozen sizes. If you were to paint little kewpie doll faces on them, they would easily pass as Russian dolls.

I take it that these nesting bowls, perhaps because they come in 12 different sizes, are indispensible cooking tools. Each and every time S. Bullock makes anything beyond pasta, out come the nesting bowls. The tiniest one will be full of chopped up parsley, all the way up to the biggest one, which is perfect for tossing salads. Then the meal is complete and I have first 12 separate bowls to rinse, then 12 separate bowls to somehow fit into the dishwasher, and then, a few hours later, 12 separate bowls to pull out of the dishwasher, re-nest, and then reach as far up as I can to place on the top shelf.

They live up there because they hate me. I know this because they've corrupted my favorite plastic bowls. I use these bowls for everything. In my world, all you really need is a plastic bowl, a fork, a spoon, and a slightly sharp knife. In fact, when I first met Sandra Bullock, in 1990, all I owned, kitchen-wise, was an orange bowl, a fork and a spoon.

I now have access to all manner of plate and bowl. I could use a little red bowl, a tasteful light blue pottery ramikin, a large yellow bowl. I'd rather use one of my two beige platic bowls, though, and everything was fine until the nesting bowls somehow convinced one of my plastic bowls to take a turn in the microwave, where it self-destructed loudly. Each pop represented a chip exploding off of the plastic bowl. By the time I retrieved the injured bowl from the microwave, I was chalking up my worst kitchen disaster since the time I tried to microwave ramen noodles without water.

How else do I know that the nesting bowls hate me? I know it because they refuse to lie close to each other in the dishwasher. A few of the smaller ones will congregate up with the glasses, while the larger ones are more comfortable down on the bottom, with the plates. But only one or two of the nesting bowls will fit in the bottom. They are selfish, you see, and take up far more dishwasher space than they deserve. Curse you, nesting bowls.

Recently, Sandra Bullock, whose commitment to efficiency ends abruptly at the dishwasher, informed me that I was no longer to put the larger nesting bowls in the dishwasher. "They take up too much room," she explained. Now I would have to wrestle the nesting bowls clean in the sink, taking care, of course, to not chip or break them.

The nightmare not only doesn't end, it gets more vivid each day.

For her upcoming birthday, Sandra Bullock has asked for, among other things, a nice, big wooden salad bowl. If I can find one, I will gladly get it, for it is my fondest dream to see those nesting bowls sitting, alone and forlorn, forgotten, in the top of the cabinet.

Then I will be free to move forward with my plans to radically change the entire dishwashing paradigm.


Anonymous anotherlefty said...

My son said "those ones", I must be reading someone else's blog.

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