J Simens.com

Mom is a garbage disposal!

A mother’s nightmare

Out of the Vault

Sometimes being a mom is not easy. Then I started to think about garbage disposals, and it makes me think of moms. Strange connection.

Sometimes being an expat is very hard. Then I started to think about tools expats seldom use. Every year we return to our summer home and LOVE IT.  Belief it or not my summer is almost over.

I am very used to hearing  moms being compared to garbage disposals when they are raising toddlers and “just take that last spoonful of mac & cheese off their kid’s plate.”  I have even known moms preparing the dishes for the dishwasher to start to scrape and decide that they did want to eat that last little piece of grilled onion off their own plate. This is the type of disposal I am familiar with…

Last week this happened to me!

I am in Lake Tahoe preparing to loose a very valuable member of my family life. I’m just sitting here on my kitchen floor waiting for this to no longer be part of my family.


I know it is just a garbage disposal but look at it…. build in 1979 – complete with deco flowers and great colors- red and yellow.  Consistently, working summer in and out –  every time we return. Things I took for granted:

  • I could get those little yucky food items quickly out of sight and down the drain without any concerns.
  • I could always forget to run it in the evening, and yet in the morning, it started without any problems.
  • A warm and colorful greeting every time I reach for a sponge or the dish soap from under the sink.

In 1979 the EPA issued landfill criteria that prohibited open dumping. Disposals were a “must” for all new homes according to kitchen designers.

Yesterday, Mike was kind enough to give me a few moments alone in my kitchen before he started asking me the tough questions.  He wanted to know if I would like a “pro” selection or the “one horsepower”? Did I want the additional soundproofing? Did I need the auto-reverse or the sink baffle? Did I want batch feed or continuous feed?

I tried to answer as any ordinary housewife would…but self-doubt started to creep in. I have not been in a house with a garbage disposal in use day in and day out for over 25 years.  Yes, I am an old foggy, and I am as out of date as my garbage disposal. Perhaps with “just about as much household experience.” (Remember this is my summer home that I get to use about seven weeks out of the year.)

I start to laugh, and I am sure my contractor for the kitchen upgrade is confused.  All I can recall was two years ago we went though similar concerns when we upgraded the dishwasher.  I remember being asked about “plate warmer”  – not something we thought about while living in Singapore, Indonesia, Nigeria or Thailand.  Did we want the “three or five cycle”?  I looked at Kevin, and he looked back at me. We did not want to admit we didn’t know the difference.

Finally, the salesman asked, “What model are you currently using?” With very straight faces and in the interest of being honest, we replied, “Two-legged.”

We did not mean to be disrespectful of our maid, Khun Oi, but we were sure the salesman didn’t want to know her personal details. The salesman nodded and walked away, never to come back to help us. This is why I am laughing… I do not want the contractor to leave me right now. He is already in my house and ready to help me. It is nervous laughter.

Being an expat is hard at times. . .


Jsimens- summer 2011
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