Stan’s Dirty Dish

My buddy Stan called.

A nighttime call from Stan always signals a crisis but this time he caught me brushing my teeth before bed, so it could not be serious, for that he would have waited until at least 3:00 am.

“Daphne is mad at me,” he said.

I sighed.  “What did you do now?”

“Why do you assume I did something?”

“Was it something she did?”

“Not technically.”

I continued my nightly rituals as we talked.

“Then who does that leave?” I asked as I locked the doors.

“Okay, it was something I did.”


“I left a dirty dish in the sink.”


“Daphne freaked out. I think she is going crazy.”

I knew there was more to the story but I had a few things to do before bed, so I let him ramble. One of my chores was to start the Roomba, the little vacuum robot who cleans our floors at night.

The little guy is brilliant. He has our entire house mapped in his head. He cleverly avoids the basement stairs and even knows when chairs have been moved so he can adjust accordingly.

On the other hand, he is not so smart. He runs the same erratic route night after night, beginning in the kitchen and rarely making it into the living room before his batteries run out. I know there is a way to train him to begin where he left off but I am too lazy to research it and therefore have to accept his behavior.

“Why not take the dish out of the sink,” I asked, “and put it in the dishwasher?”

“Exactly, that is what I keep telling her.”

“Uh Stan?”


“Why don’t you do it?”

“At this point, it would be awkward,” he told me.

“How so?”

“I put the dish in the sink last week.”

“And she refused to touch it?” I asked.

“Yeah, I mean who does that?”

“I know two people.”

“I don’t understand.”


“So what do I do?”

“Put the dish in the dishwasher.”

“Sometimes you are no help at all.”


An hour later, Daphne woke me out of a deep sleep.

“What did you tell Stan?”

“I don’t want to get in the middle of this.”

“You already are.”

“Okay then, I know this is about more than just a dirty dish. It is about being respected but both of you are who you are. You are both stubborn, so instead of waging an epic battle of wills, why not just flip a coin to see who moves the dish.”

“I have a better idea,” she said.


“You move the dish.”

“Excuse me?”

“If you come over here and move the dish, it will save our marriage.”

This time it was me who hung up.

As I lay in the dark, struggling to fall sleep, I could hear the Roomba straining in the dining room.







Every once in a while, the little guy gets himself trapped behind my wife’s quilt rack. As he cleans under it, he nudges the inner legs so that the outer legs shift to cut off his retreat.

It totally confuses him.

I suppose I could get up to help and maybe even one of these days, I could secure the rack to avoid the situation. I could also figure out how to train him to clean the living room – but oh well. I might go south this winter. Perhaps I will do it when I return.

Meanwhile, I struggle to sleep.

Author: Almost Iowa

53 thoughts on “Stan’s Dirty Dish”

    1. You should leave one in the sink for six months just to teach yourself a lesson. I am not sure what lesson you would be teaching yourself – but it is the kind of thing Stan and I would do. 🙂

  1. I guess there’s a little bit of Stan in all of us! Why is it that we put off doing the simple things that will make life so much easier? Maybe it’s nature’s little way of keeping the human race in its place. As for the Roomba, I guess robots are so very different from us after all!

  2. I’m trying to get my kids to rinse their dirty dish and set on the counter. Now that we moved, I’m trying to get them to do one more step further, put in the dishwasher. But then, I get “Are the dishes already in there dirty or clean… I never know.” And now, it seems they have “back slided” to just setting dish in sink – with some milk and remnants of cereal drying on the sides like concrete. Or I get, “What, I ran some water in it” so that it looks like murky milk and remnants of soggy cereal. okay – let’s go back to the beginning…step 1 – rinse out dish and just set on the counter.

  3. Let’s see if I have this right: The Roomba CAN be trained, but no one is willing to put in the time. Stan CANNOT be trained, but inordinate amounts of time are spent trying. Is that right?

    Maybe you should foster better relations with the Roomba.

  4. Any mention of dirty dishes left in the sink elicits negative memories…of the time my husband’s roommates moved out of his place and left the dirty dishes in the sink, while we were on our honeymoon. This new bride moved into her new home to find a sink full of dirty dishes growing hair. I cried.

    Second dirty dish story: I once lived with my second sister, a rather lazy individual in the kitchen, at least back then. She refused to wash dishes. So I let the dirty dishes pile up until we were eating out of Tupperware. Eventually I caved and washed the dishes.

    Both true stories. So, see, Stan’s behavior isn’t really that bad or abnormal.

    1. So, see, Stan’s behavior isn’t really that bad or abnormal.

      I texted your comment to Stan. Here is his reply: “Gosh, I need to up my game.”

      BTW, as we passed by Faribault on the way to The Cities Saturday, I spotted Walmart and wondered if you and Randy were bell ringing there – but we were in a rush and didn’t turn around to check it out.

      One of these days, we’ll have to get together. 🙂

      1. Well, then, I’m glad I could be of help to Stan.

        Yes, we rang bells from 8 – 12:30 Saturday, with a half hour break from 10 – 10:30. We pulled a double shift due to lack of bell ringers.

        Yes, to finding a time this winter to meet with you and your bride.

  5. My husband puts his plate in the sink and I walk behind him, pick it up, and put it in the dishwasher. Who knew that all this time I could leave it there and then call you for advice? Also, I don’t have cats, so I’m putting a Roomba on my Christmas list right now. Riding on that thing sounds like a blast!

    1. I leave dishes in the sink all the time. So does my wife. Since I am retired and she still works, guess who takes them out of the sink and loads them into the dishwasher.

  6. How do you go to sleep with that thing. We have an older version that is pretty loud. It would drown out the sound of late night calls, though!

    1. Back when we were sharing an apartment, Stan and I rotated the chores of cleaning and cooking. When it was Stan’s turn to do dishes, he let them pile up then the day before we rotated chores, he tossed them all in the dumpster and replaced them with dishes from the Goodwill.

  7. Of course your wife is right about the cats. How could you ever doubt it? Women are always right. 🙂 And we understand cats…….

    1. Me: I don’t know how the Roomba keeps getting stuck under the quilt rack.
      Her: It’s the cats.
      Me: No, I asked them and they deny it.
      Her: And you believed them?
      Me: Sure.
      Her: Men…..

  8. Perhaps Stan and Daphne should consider paper plates. Wouldn’t be my choice, but just sayin’!
    As for the Roomba, the cats may be at the root of this. A friend of mine has a Roomba and her cat rides on it! Go figure.
    Here’s a thought…..while you’re lying in bed desperately trying to fall asleep, you could use that time to read the Roomba instructions and find out how to reprogram it. 😂😂😂. —-Ginger—-

        1. I am sure there are. My wife likes to keep incriminating photos. She has a file drawer full of them.

          How else do you think she makes me do the dishes?

    1. I would recommend a Roomba for anyone who has cats. Sure, it cleans up the wisps of cat fur – but it also annoys the heck out of them – which is worth the price.

    1. Good idea – but couples like that have an entire house filled with objects-as-landmines. Best just to keep them at the other end of cell phone call. 🙂

  9. I’m feeling really sorry for your little robot. He must feel very disrespected and frustrated. You won’t sleep well till you help the little guy.

    1. My wife has a theory. She thinks it is the cats who are trapping the Roomba beneath the quilt rack. I would not put it past them. They hate the thing. I am considering upgrading the robot to a faster model, one that can hold its own against the cats.

  10. Couples who have been married for a long time sometimes dig in, don’t they? Here’s hoping one of them will move the dish because if you go over I’m seeing Stan being startled and shooting you as an intruder, Daphne having a heart attack, the cops surrounding the place, you being airflighted, and ‘your’ wife being really pissed. 🙂 Forget the dish and reprogram the droid. It will be much better for you. 🙂

    1. Couples? I thought I was writing about a Roomba.

      As for programming, I did that for thirty years and now I am retired. I will leave it to my wife to figure out. 🙂 🙂 🙂

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