Dish Mountain: Conquered

Clayton Newton, Contributing Writer

     It’s Wednesday morning. I hit the alarm at 6:45 a.m., rub my eyes awake, and trudge upstairs to the only shower that the six of us use.  After my shower, I quickly get dressed in my cramped room, then clean my thermos to place under the Keurig. As I wait for my coffee, I reach into the freezer and grab the heavenly homemade sauce and meatballs that my mother gave me over Spring Break.  I plan on making one of my favorite dinners as a treat after my longest day of the week.

     After a quick breakfast, I place what I’ve dirtied back on top of Dish Mountain, brush my teeth, check my watch and grab my coffee waiting by the door.  With 15 minutes to spare, I begin my 15-minute hike up to campus for my 8:00 a.m. and think about the 13 hours of class, library time and work in front of me.  

     Psychology, Statistics, European Literature, Education Technology and work are standing between me and those succulent gnocchi’s. Around the time of 9:00 p.m. my brain starts to falter and my belly starts to rumble.  I have decided to skip the Commons, Roongo’s and a late night at Husky to save room for my mom’s cooking. At some points in class, hunger is the only thing keeping me from falling asleep.

     I finish what I’m doing as fast as I can and turn the 15-minute hike into a ten-minute downhill rush to my house. When I open the front door, I am immediately greeted by my roommates reclining in their seats enjoying their late-night rituals. After a few humorous handshakes and updates on the game, I make my way to the kitchen to put water on to boil for the gnocchi’s.

     What I see is my worst fear. Instead of waiting for me on the drying rack where I left them, the dishes had been used and are now the new summit to Dish Mountain.  It’s 10:00 p.m. and I don’t have the energy to prep and clean for dinner anymore.  I close my eyes, tilt my head back and exhale slowly, defeated.  

     Across the room, my roommate, Alexander, notices my depressed surrender and calls my name. He says he has a solution to my problem. In my head I’m thinking, ‘Thanks Alex, but there is no solution to Dish Mountain.”

     He then goes on to explain, “So we put all six of our names in alphabetical order so that I go first. Then, after I clean the dishes, I write the date next to my name and it will be your turn. You then have 24 hours until you can wash the dishes again. That way you have a minimum of a full day’s dishes to wash.  After you clean the dishes tomorrow Clay, you will write the date next to your name and then it’s Ian’s turn. If someone wants to slack and put off doing the dishes then they will only have more work to do, which leads me to the incentive, the faster you get the dishes done, the less you have to do.”

     I was hesitant at first but still agreed to try his system in attempts to get to my gnocchi dinner faster. Over dinner we discussed the system further and couldn’t find an overwhelming flaw. We then got the whole house to agree to the new system and have been running the kitchen smoothly ever since. Of course, there are some bumps in the road when roommates go home, but we swap turns and have been able to work everything out. If you have trouble with getting everyone to pitch in and do chores, try to start a system that is based around being fair, or feel free to steal Alex’s idea. Our house has been cleaner ever since.