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Stress Relief

Sunday, June 29 2003

I’ve done some pretty disgusting things in my life, but on Friday, I topped them all.

The dishwasher in our place in England doesn’t seem to do a very good job. You spend about as much time prewashing the dishes as you would just washing them, that’s how untrustworthy it is. So I got to thinking on Friday that perhaps it needed softer water, which meant adding salt to a receptable in the device. I fished out the user manual, realized that it needed no salt, but that cleaning the filters was a good idea.

I pulled the first filter out and was presented with what I can only call a fantastic microcosm of biology. Was it a mold? A lichen? Perhaps an ancient large form of bacteria, impervious to things like hot magma from the earth’s core or septic systems. What I knew for sure was that it was green, sticky, and reaked of evil.

I spent about a half hour cleaning the first filter, and it was disgusting. The dishwasher is some fine piece of German engineering, and the filter itself was designed to stop some of the bigger pieces of stuff from flowing past. Because of this, it had some elaborate trap system, and had millions of nooks and crannies to clean.

The second filter was a finer sort of filter, made from a mesh of metal this time, and it too was coated in green sludge. I cleaned off the sludge, then realized that the mesh was clogged with what looked like limescale or detergent build up. It was invincible to my scrub sponge, and required some heavy duty scraping from a spoon. It was hard, satisfying work, knowing that this scale probably reduced the water flow through the mesh to nearly nothing.

The third and final filter was an even finer mesh, and took the same kind of treatment as the rest.

I have yet to run the dishwasher, but I’m convinced it will work like a champ now. And even though the dishwasher has a nice clean filter, the stress relief cleaning it provided was great. I was able to apply physical efforts towards solving some kind of problem, which is something I never get to do at work. I spend my entire day thinking, and then applying some of that thought in the form of code. Having a tangible work product is very satisfying.