Don’t Be Afraid to Ask – or – The Day We Got A Dishwasher

Once upon a time we lived in a house without an automatic dishwasher. I spent hours in front of the sink every day (not really, but it seemed like hours!) constantly lamenting about the fact that poor me had to wash dishes by hand. GASP! (I know, really, I know.)

A year or so later we happened to be kicking back with the daily dose of neighborhood gossip with some, well, neighbors. One of them mentioned that her father had a portable dishwasher he couldn’t use and she needed to get rid of it but didn’t want to bother with selling it. My ears perked, “What? They make those?”

My husband asked her how much she wanted for it and they struck a deal. In exchange for the almost new portable dishwasher he would take care of her father’s lawn for a few months. My husband absolutely hated mowing the lawn (and did it as little as possible until the code enforcement people came around) but he hated hearing me complain even more. They shook on it and he wheeled home the most beautiful appliance I’ve ever laid my eyes on.

The point of my story is that if you ask, sometimes you will receive. My family has been blessed with furniture, solid wood bunk beds, computers and many other things, just because we asked.

Before committing to a life without a dishwasher, or whatever it is you’d like, ask around. Ask your friends and family to keep their eyes out for the item. Once I asked a friend to look at yard sales and thrift shops for a set of sturdy bunkbeds. A few weeks later she sent me a message and told me I could have the set in her garage if I removed them. Deal!

There are also communities full of people with stuff to give, sell or barter. Craigslist, Freecycle and Cheapcycle stick out in my mind (you can google each of those to find the group in your area).

At this point I’d feel remiss if I didn’t warn you to be careful. Use your common sense in these situations. Meet in public areas, never give out your address, give them a cell phone number, etc. You have a brain and an ingrained ability to protect yourself from bad situations, use it.

Sometimes you have to be very patient, but if you spend the time to actively look for the item you want, and ask others to look for you, you can usually find it for free or at an acceptable price.

**Funny story – My second child (affectionately referred to as Miss Universe because she’s out there in her own) is now 13 but was 4 when we moved into this house. My parents flew in to visit us and celebrate our first home. My mother was helping us clean up after dinner and asked M.U. to show her where the dishwasher was. Yup, M.U. led her directly to the kitchen sink! Ha ha. I laughed about that for years, I’m still laughing at it.**


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