My dishwasher has been working just fine since I fixed it all by myself. Well, it worked as well as it ever did. It's not a particularly nice dishwasher, but it came with the house.
It cleans off the food crusties just fine. But then it puts them somewhere else, specifically in the bottom of all the drinking glasses. So I guess it didn't clean the dishes so much as move the gunk. You know those novelty coffee mugs that say something cheeky on the bottom, so that when you get to the end of your morning joe, a little joke is revealed? Every beverage was like that at my house, except at the bottom, you'd find stuck-on pieces of unrecognizable crud which I assume used to be food.
Josh insisted that the solution to this problem was to pre-wash the dishes before we put them in the washer, so that the crusties never made it to the dishwasher. I resisted this with every fiber of my being. A good modern dishwasher did not require pre-washing. The fact that we did not have such a machine was irrelevant; it was the principle of the thing. My solution: don't look at the crusties if they bother you so much. I mean, it had been through the wash, so it was clean and safe to use, it was just a little unsightly. When the queen comes over, we'll wash some glasses by hand real quick.
Finally, he got fed up with arguing about pre-washing. He unloaded the dishwasher and pre-washed everything in it, then loaded it back up again. He ran the washer, and lo and behold, no little crumlins all over the glasses. So what, big deal, my solution also works.
One day soon after that, I saw a little folded piece of paper stuck to the dishwasher with a magnet. It said "Dirty" in red magic marker. Upon closer inspection, I discovered that the back said "Clean." Cute.
When I asked him about the new dishwasher decoration, he said, "Well, that's so you can't complain that you can't tell when the dishes are clean or dirty."
"I hadn't made that complaint."
"I was predicting that you would."
I made no comment. Inside, I thought, Ha! How little you know me. For your information, had I opened the dishwasher and been unable to tell if the dishes were dirty, then by my slovenly definition, they are clean. Why he felt the need to put the clean dishes in the dishwasher, when they clearly could be put away in the cabinets, is beyond me. He's a real sweet man, but he doesn't know much about housework.
Since then, I have gotten used to the whole washing-the-dishes-before-we-wash-them thing. In fact, I got all crafty about it.
Someday, though, we will buy a good dishwasher that doesn't need to be mollycoddled, one that will actually wash the dishes, rather than just move the dirt around.