How many college graduates does it take to install a dishwasher? If you guessed three, you'd be pretty close. I would put it closer to two and a half, since my wife threw in her towel, of the dish variety, somewhere about halfway through. Her mother and I kept at it though, and when the sun had set, there was a new Kenmore Ultrawash peeking out from under my mother-in-law's kitchen counter. There is still some cosmetic work to be done, but it fills with water and it drains without leaving gigantic puddles on the floor, and so that makes it a big win for me.
The puddles were the first hurdle we encountered. Being the novice plumber that I am, I carelessly overlooked the handle that would have shut off the hot water from the appliance that I was removing to make room for the Ultrawasth. Before we were done, every towel in the house had been used to sop up some mess generated by our quick and easy installation adventure.
After we had the old machine out of its old home, we turned out attention to the spanking-new one that had only recently been uncrated in the entryway. I stared at the instruction booklet and asked my wife to help me imagine where I must have missed something. It became apparent abruptly that all the talk about "getting a dishwasher that just needs to be plugged in" was a lot of high-minded babble, since there was no power cord included with the Ultrawash. Once we had wrestled the beast on its back and found the place where our newly purchased power cord would go, we had to go out and newly purchase said cord. When my wife returned, we found that we were missing the proper hoses and connections to bring water into the Ultrawash, even though my mother-in-law had made a special trip to the hardware store where she was assured that the flex hoses she was given would be "all she needed." Back to the hardware store to get one more little elbow that didn't turn out to be just the thing anyway and so there were some phone calls made to the nearest Sears outlet. They didn't have it, but the one up in the Hilltop Mall had four. Did I mention that this machine came as a "great deal" from Sears? This is when my wife dropped out of the program. She had a life to live, after all.
My mother-in-law and I made the trip up the highway to find the elusive connections, and after some poking around and shrugs of shoulders from employees who don't install dishwashers, the bag that I found was revealed to be just the thing. "It's what all the installers take out with them when they go to put in a new dishwasher."
Our questions about why these parts couldn't be included with the purchase of your average Ultrawash were met with blank stares. "This is the thing the installers use," said the mildly pleasant Sears droid. And so we headed back to the damp confines of my mother-in-law's kitchen, where we discovered that the fitting on one end of the elbow that we had hoped would solve our problem turned out to be just a shade too big. With the local hardware stores closing for the day, we were left with a trudge across town to Home Depot where after some mildly pleasant interaction we found a fitting that would, at last, connect the Ultrawash to the water that would be used to wash the dishes inside.
When the smoke was cleared and the machine was shoved back under the kitchen counter where it will undoubtedly live a long and purposeful life, we picked up our tools and towels and congratulated each other for the tenacity we had shown in our collaboration. And we hadn't called each other names. But we did reserve a special chunk of bitterness for the mildly pleasant folks at Sears who managed to let us down at each step of our process. Had the machine come with a plug and hoses in the first place, it would have been an hour or two of briefly moist installation. Instead there were half a dozen different false starts, and almost as many trips to various locations to pick up this or that piece in hopes that it would solve our problem. The simple solution, for me, will be this: to avoid the mildly pleasant folks at Sears, even if the deal seems too good to be true. Since it probably is.