Last week our dishwasher died. I went to empty it in the morning and it was full of water. I called the property mangers who immediately came out and pronounced it D.O.A. The report was that we’d get a new one, no sooner than Monday.
Yesterday, I came home and there was no new dishwasher.
This morning I was preparing for an important presentation in the afternoon. And because this is the way these things usually work for me, I just knew that the new dishwasher would appear at the most critical moment. So I did something completely uncharacteristic for me; I called the office and asked what the status was on the new dishwasher. The kind woman on the other end of the phone said someone was just outside who would handle that and she would check with him and call me back.
A few minutes later she called and said the dishwasher was on its way this morning. And that’s where I really had to be brave. I asked if it would be possible to wait to install it until this afternoon when I would be gone.
You have to understand that I am a chicken. I don’t want to upset the apple cart. I don’t want to inconvenience anyone. I don’t want to get in anyone’s way. For me to assert myself in that way takes more guts than I typically have. But I was more nervous about my presentation, giving me the gumption I needed to ask for a delay.
But of course she said it was no problem. I don’t know what I was so afraid of.
I went to my presentation, which went perfectly fine, and made a stop by the grocery store on the way home for a rotisserie chicken. I was starving (not having eaten a proper lunch), and had some garlic aioli that was nearing the end of its prime. I couldn’t wait to get home and make a chicken sandwich with my homemade aioli.
Again though, because this is the way things tend to go, as I was pulling into the driveway I saw the truck with the dishwasher in the back, snug in its cardboard box – a clear sign that they had just arrived themselves.
I was so irritated. I was in serious need of food – a garlic aioli chicken sandwich, to be precise – and I was exhausted. I wanted to put on my most comfy, most non-public attire, plop myself down in front of a movie, and chill.
Instead, I sat in the sun room and worked. In my non-comfy clothes. For almost two hours.
Just as they were leaving, one of the men said that he noticed an icon of Mary that I had, but called it by an unfamiliar name. Stupidly I asked which one. Stupidly, that is, because we only have one icon of Mary. Scanning the room, he found the one he was referring to. Then he pulled out his wallet and showed me the same icon, just a different rendering. A friend brought us the one we have from Russia. Though I didn’t know what it was called in the Russian Orthodox tradition, I said that in the Greek Orthodox tradition this icon is known as The Virgin of Tenderness, where Mary and Jesus’ cheeks are always touching.
He said he was Catholic. Curious about his accent, I asked where he was from. Haiti. Oh, my. Did he still have family there? Yes, but his town, St. Mark, has so far not been touched by the cholera outbreak. But it was only a matter of time, as people were migrating to that part of the island. His mother wants to go home, and doesn’t understand that at 89 years old, it’s not safe for her.
We chatted for a while longer, and he mentioned that he noticed we didn’t have a washer and dryer. I thought I was busted. The “laundry room” off the kitchen, which houses our breaker panel, along with the hot water heater and some other big metal thing, has been turned into our panty, with two enormous shelving units.
To my surprise, he started telling me about all the things people either throw away or leave when they move out. Having a heart for things that get thrown away prematurely, my ears perked right up. And then he told me that the next time he sees a washer and dryer that has been abandoned (a perfectly good one, mind you) that he will come knock on my door. He even said he’d help me rearrange the shelves or install new ones if I needed them.
I’m still amazed by this sequence of events – about dreading the sudden coming of the new dishwasher (on top of which was embarrassment about the tower of dishes that had piled up), working up the nerve to call the office and tell them what I needed to happen, being irritated that it came right when I needed to relax most, connecting with another human being and affirming that I would be praying for his family and his town and that we would pray for them all at church, and finally the possibility of a washer and dryer that we couldn’t afford to buy.
Sometimes when things don’t work out, they really do.