Seems like every product we buy has some ominous warning of impending doom if used incorrectly (My pillowtop mattress bears a dire warning relating to the removal of a tag). Such was the warning I espied on a bottle of drain opener: “Don’t use on older fixtures”. Without reading any further, my mind went into a whirlwind. What is it about older fixtures - would there be some chemical reaction? Would it cause a minor explosion, or worse, fill the house with noxious gas sending its inhabitants out the door coughing, sputtering and gasping for breath? Reading further caused greater consternation. “Older fixtures lack porcelain protection causing discoloration and damage”. A quick glance at my tub brought back to mind an earlier incident I had wished to forget.
We were entertaining guests in our home for a weekend. We were having an enjoyable time together, but then it happened. A nightmare to any hostess. My wife mentioned that the tub was draining slow – our guests informed us otherwise. “No, it’s not draining slow, it is not draining at all”. This was major trouble as we only have a single bathroom. My poor wife was wracked with anxiety over the thought of not providing 5 star accommodations to our guests. As the ‘fixer up’ of the house, my thoughts were engrossed in how to get this drain unclogged and not appear completely inapt and asleep at my post. A quick trip to the garage and I was back, armed with a slinky apparatus to direct the sludge where it ought to flow. I was confident that in a few minutes, the embarrassment of our situation would pass over like a passing thunderstorm. However, repeated attempt brought greater anxiety and sweat to my now furrowed brow. No matter how much persuasion I offered, that drain was plugged tight. Mopping the sweat from my brow, it was time for an alternate plan. I was desperate. My wife was pacing the floor. My poor guests were on edge. I made a quick trip to the hardware store – finding an array of products promising my deliverance – I scanned the shelves for the one with the most promise. My eye caught hold of one product inside a protective plastic bag. Extra protection seemed to indicate the most potent formula. I quickly snatched the bottle and headed home – soon my problems are going to be over. I did not bother to read the instructions - I was too eager to get past my woes. I poured a generous amount down the obstinate drain – and waited. Soon the small room was filling with noxious gas, so I opened the window, closed the door and let the chemical do its job. After some time passed, I decide it was time to check in on the process. Carefully opening the door, I peered inside. The room was permeated with a sulfurous odor – but that didn’t matter then. I stood in horror at the sight before me. The tub, once scrubbed and polished the best an old tub could be cleaned, was now ugly splotchy brown. That’ll impress our guests…and what about my wife…I’m dead.
Had I paused for a moment to read the instructions and warnings, I would certainly have spared myself some grief. My old tub was lacking the porcelain to protect it from the abuse I inflicted upon it. Your wooden cutting board will not survive the abuse of your automatic dish washer. You will live with regret and remorse. My mind recalls a woman that walks past my display of wooden cutting boards and bowls I have setup at a local retail venue. Each time, her voice chokes, her head shakes from side to side. She recalls her much loved wooden bowl. At some holiday gathering, when she was not looking, one of her hapless children put her beloved bowl into the dishwasher. An hour later, out came a perfectly ruined, warped, broken and distressed wooden bowl – except it wasn’t a bowl any longer. Wood is an organic material, unlike the lifeless plastic that adorns much of our world today. If you put a cutting board in the dish washer, your will be sealing its fate. We can only hope it will succumb quickly and the suffering will not be long. The heat that will cause the wood to bend and warp like a potato chip. The moisture and steam will fill the pores causing suffocation. At first the board will float to try and to sustain itself, but it will soon be overcome, waterlogged laying upside down on the bottom of the dishwasher, cracked, warped and deceased. Some instructions are worth heeding.
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