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Stimulation and How I Learned to Love Dishwashing

When I bought a house ten years ago, I also bought place settings for six and silverware for twelve. Then I developed a minor fascination with bone China and bought settings for eight. I probably had four dozen glasses. About once a month or so, all of these dishes would be piled up in and around my sink, begging to be cleaned. I didn't have a lot of dinner parties-- I just hated doing dishes so much that I'd procrastinate until washing became a full day event. Those days were some of my least favorite.

A few days ago, I was doing the dishes for the six of us that ate dinner. There were pots, pans, plates, serving utensils, and glasses. The works. For the first time ever, I found myself enjoying doing the dishes. I could appreciate the warm water on my hands and the shine in the pot when it was clean. When I washed everything that wasn't dishwasher safe, I started handwashing the things that could have just gone in the dishwasher. It wasn't fun exactly, but it was so enjoyable that I actually found myself looking forward to washing the dishes the next day.

Work has become the same way. I don't love all aspects of it equally, but when I wake up and know I have a tough day ahead of me, I feel great. Pant of it is that I know the day will end with a nice chunk of progress made, but most of it is the actual act of working. I love it. I can't wait to face off with a bug that's been bothering me for weeks, trace it through all of our code, and fix it. It's relaxing, like an internal Swedish massage.

My friend Constance wrote me an email today. She was talking about me with her sister and some friends, describing my hyperfocus on work, learning, and other productive things. An excerpt from her email:

Jigsaw Puzzles

On Military Dad

My wife finally gave up on the puzzle that we started on Thanksgiving, so I felt like sharing this old post.

I hate jigsaw puzzles.

They are quite possibly the cruelest torture devices on this planet. Whatever part of my brain is used to complete these awful things fled into the dark recesses of my soul many years ago. I just don’t get them.

My wife, on the other hand, loves jigsaw puzzles. For those of you that aren’t married, this means that I also love jigsaw puzzles. She used to have a war with her parents to see who could find the most impossible puzzle, complete it, and then send it to the other. Guess how much I enjoyed that game.

Now, I fully realize that most people out there buy a puzzle at the store. At some point shortly after that, they open the box and put it together. That’s not how it works in our house. There are at least 5 steps that have to take place before we can actually complete a puzzle.

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