As 2022 was winding down I found myself aware that despite the numerous things that were hard about the year that has passed, there were several things that got added into our year that were a bonus. I made a list and hope to do some writing over the next several days just to explore the good a little bit.
I have been aware of this “added bonus” reality for the last few years, at the end of recent years there has always been one or more things to say, “wow, I didn’t expect to have that or appreciate it like I do!”
One of my added bonus items for this year is vinegar.
Please hear me out.
In 2020 when I spent days living with my Mom I was exposed to how she would add a healthy splash of vinegar to her dishwasher just before she ran it. I have to admit that when I first witnessed this, and received her instruction that when I was running her dishwasher, I too should do the vinegar treatment, I wanted to roll my eyes. My Mom had things she was a bit fanatical about, like she recycled every imaginable thing she could, those in her circle had to figure out how to stay on board with her strategy. She regularly urged us to sleep better by blocking out blue light and she sat down and had a big talk with us some years ago about the challenge to control weight during menopause, a talk which I was quite offended by. I have no good reason to have been offended, but I was. Sometimes its hard to have your Mom acting like your Mom. Yet, I was blessed by her wisdom, over and over again throughout my whole life, and this vinegar trick is likely the last concrete tip she passed on to me.
When I returned home I started following her example, and it seemed that there was positive effect. My dishes did look a little better. However, I have never really been able to feel proud of the dishes I put on the table, a light film has always been present, more or less. As problems go, this is not a problem, but then again, it was bugging me.
About a month ago I got serious about the vinegar situation. I decided that I was leaving too much to chance and not getting the benefit of that vinegar. That generous splash that my Mom used was more like a half cup in our house and it still didn’t have the effect I wanted. I got tricky and I got strategic. I took the spray bottle I used for wetting down hair and I filled it with vinegar. Then I gave each glass a spritz or two on the inside as I put it in the dishwasher. (It has helped that my girls have both moved away in the last month and I am usually the only one loading the machine. This added step is one only I have to contend with.) Then I give several spritz over each level of the dishwasher, put in the soap and hit the start button.
My dishes have been verging on beautiful.
I am thrilled.
Who cares right? Its not life or death. But here is the thing………..
Sometimes I feel sorry for myself being a ranch wife. Housekeeping is an uphill climb. The dogs, the dirt, the grease, the grass, the melting snow, the mud, the calves in the house in spring, the dust generated by the gravel road nearby…..its a bit complex to keep this place looking even half decent. Having crappy looking dishes due to hard well water is a part of that scenario. But……something has been figured out to make it slightly better. I literally feel thrilled to pull the smooth, clear and shiny glasses from the dishwasher. When I pass them to my guys or to company, I feel a bit of quiet pride. I feel less sorry for myself.
Most of the time I don’t feel sorry for myself, I have a good life. A moment today…..Russ got my attention to stop and watch the dogs. Knightwing and Coffee were wrestling on the floor right in front of the kitchen sink. They were completely self absorbed, oblivious to the fact that they were in busy space not designated for dog action. It was a bit wild. I thought to myself, “this is not normal.” And I also loved it. It is quite intrigueing how they play together and fight and protect each other at the same time. Life is spicy.
And…..life is sharp, like the smell of vinegar hanging in the air as I get those glasses loaded.
I am thrilled that I figured this something out. That wisdom that Mom started in me got strategic and one of my life problems is figured out. I’ll count that as a win and count spritzed vinegar as one of the gifts of 2022.