Shannon Dittemore



I’m avoiding the dishes.

The ones in the sink. They’re not singing or dancing like they would if I lived in an enchanted castle, but if I don’t act quickly, they will start to stink.

Still, they’re awfully ugly and I’d rather sit here and watch my daughter run around the backyard.

She’s adorable. Her curly hair is pulled up in a ratty pony tail, the strays clipped back with pink and red barrettes. She’s wearing purple jeans and a fleece jacket over her jammies and her snow boots are caked in mud. But, she’s going to fill that little bucket with dirt–oh yes she is–and that runny nose isn’t going to stop her.

Who could do dishes with this kind of entertainment available?

And my backyard is idyllic this morning. The ivy is fresh and dewy, the grass a blanket of patchy lime and emerald. The sun is out, the sky is blue, and there’s not a cloud to be seen. Birds sing and chirp while our resident squirrel trembles in fear at the noisy two-year-old romping around below its tree. And my heart is full of joy because I’ve just discovered that we have two–count them–two trees freckled with cherry blossoms.

And still… the dishes stare.

But, I’m drinking my coffee. Pretending you’ve joined me and we’re smiling and chatting books. Over your shoulder I don’t even notice that the cereal bowls are now scowling and threatening sulfur bombs. I can’t hear the forks scraping doom against the plates like nails down a chalkboard. You’re waxing eloquent on the writings of some fabulous author, but I have to turn my face away because a stray pepperoni from last night’s pizza is sending out a distress signal.

Can I continue to ignore this blatant violation of all things squeaky and clean?

Yes! I think I can!

But the casserole dish disagrees. He’s lobbing wads of cooked fruit at the microwave and I can’t. Ignore. The chaos. Any longer!


I gotta go. The dishes are attacking.

But, stay! Please. I’ll be back soon and we can discuss the pros and cons of writing in the present tense.


I see.

You’re ignoring some nasty chore as well.

Well, then.

Go. That’s right, go. Get it done.

No use putting off till tomorrow what’s sure to stink today.

Happy Friday, friends. If you need me, I’ll be elbow deep in suds.



  • Comment by Lacey — March 8, 2011 @ 11:39 am

    I would avoid dishes any day of the week to be with your daughter! And my dishes sing…I love doing the dishes.

  • Comment by Ryan Schneider — March 13, 2011 @ 12:24 pm

    I related to this piece both in its form and in its content. Nicely done, Shannon. Lately my sink has been winning. Not like Charlie-Sheen-winning; more like the way Peter-Griffin-Loves-Meg-winning. Whatever that means. I don’t know…it’s all so dysfunctional it’s all I can do to microwave some dinosaur-shaped Tyson chicken fingers for myself so I can squirt a shot of French’s yellow mustard on them and get back to writing and the seemingly-insurmountable Everest that is marketing. Cheers.

  • Comment by Karen — April 26, 2011 @ 8:34 pm

    I have always been proud of my ability to ignore “stuff” that should be done in favor of “stuff” that helps me enjoy… well fun stuff. But sooner or later “stuff” wins and work must be completed. But then there is time for more of the good “stuff”… does this make sense?

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