My Kind of Problem – Lost Art Press

Boxing Day, 2017, 7:48 a.m.

Good morning, Nancy.

An issue has emerged concerning the counter top. As currently configured, the counter top will cover the dishwasher control panel. The dishwasher needs to move about 3 inches out from under the counter top. Please suggest a time when we can have a telephone conversation.

There’s nothing like getting up the day after Christmas to news of a work-related problem.

Being the kind of person whose first response to such communiqués is anxiety, I immediately go through a systematic reality check.

1. Look: Pull up the snapshot of the island where the dishwasher door is visible. Check: The door is protruding from the adjacent cabinets exactly as it should. (A bit of advice: Take progress shots, especially when working on jobsites. It’s helpful to be able to look at a picture on your phone when your jobsite is an hour’s drive away.)

2. Think: Who installed the dishwasher? The clients’ builder, who installs them all the time. Check: The installation is probably correct, though I won’t stop worrying until I know for sure.

3. Think some more: Is there really a problem? Don’t the overwhelming majority of dishwashers get installed under counters? Don’t you think a global leader in dishwasher design such as Bosch would have planned for this? That does make sense; you probably program the controls with the door open, then shut it. (Full disclosure: We don’t have a dishwasher. I prefer to use those 12 cubic feet of space in our small kitchen for storage.) Still, I won’t stop worrying until I know for sure.

4. Google “Bosch top of door controls dishwasher.” While installation manual is downloading, do a quick search of email records. Did I advise them to buy this dishwasher, in which case I should have known of any unusual installation requirements? No. The only relevant communication was in October, when my clients told me they were looking seriously at dishwashers. And there it is, on page 37: “Note: With hidden controls, the door must be opened before changing settings and closed after changing settings.”

5. Reply to client, adding that if I’ve misunderstood the nature of the problem, I will be glad to talk by phone. Press “send” and hope the problem is resolved.

6. Relief:

Yes, now we see how the dishwasher works, have reread the manual and are relieved to see that our concerns were unfounded. We both apologize for our confusion!! So sorry to start your day with unnecessary worries!!

7. Schedule appointment with mental health professional. Oh, wait. I don’t have one.

Happy holidays!

–Nancy Hiller, author of Making Things Work

Festive fruit bread (a hybrid of “French fruit braid,” “Easter tea ring” and “Stollen” from Cordon Bleu: Baking, Bread and Cakes (B.P.C. Publishing, 1972)

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