• Carmen Marie Fabio

Accidental tourist

Shutterstock photo, Copyright: KYTan

My summer vacation began with a broken dishwasher and was followed by exploring regions of Afghanistan, India, Vietnam, China, Lebanon, and – briefly – Hawkesbury.

Unfortunately, not every excursion was in person but rather a culinary virtual voyage to dine on various ethnic cuisines as, with three boys whose collective growth spurts equate that of bamboo in a humid climate, it was all we could afford. Not to mention we had no interest in actually washing dirty dishes at home by hand.

Our annual summer pilgrimage to Chinatown for Dim Sum was punctuated with regular outings that included helpings of baba ganoush, tabbouleh, hummus, kebabs, butter chicken, naan bread, and steaming bowls of pho.

Budget vacations don’t have to be boring and the fact that we were able to save even more money by taking my publisher’s old dishwasher off his hands translated into at least one more restaurant meal.

“Did you tell her how loud it was?” his concerned wife asked as we showed up to load the appliance into the van.

“She’s got three boys,” he assured her.

After finding increasingly creative ways to load my dishes as the racks in my previous appliance slowly rusted internally and broke off, the new toy – with its deeper tub and stainless steel exterior – was an impressive addition to my kitchen.

The fact that the door, when opened, lay a few inches lower than the previous one’s shin-height to which we’d all become accustomed, earned it the nickname ‘The Ankle-Biter.’

On its inaugural run, we realized the warnings on the noise levels had not been an exaggeration.

“Easy there, big fella,” my husband said as we stood in the kitchen, shell-shocked, amidst the groans, shudders, screeches and odd thumps emanating from the belly of the beast.

“It sounds like it’s yelling at the dishes to get clean,” observed my middle son.

We’re slowly getting used to the new addition to the family and, with the exception of one Bermuda Triangle that seems to be present in every dishwasher we’ve ever owned where things just don’t get clean, we appreciate having an overall better machine with its intact racks.

I can’t say for sure whether it’s the chunk that the offending door tore from my ankle or possibly a deer fly bite is to blame but a subsequent trip to the lake to toss the tennis ball for my dog left my right ankle red and swollen.

Having three boys means I’ve spent a lot of time in emergency rooms so believing I was something of an expert, I merely slathered it with Polysporin and poured myself a glass of white wine.

Blissful ignorance, coupled with bad timing, finally led to the realization that the infection was migrating up my leg and likely wouldn’t wait much longer for legitimate medical treatment.

And so it was that the early morning hours of my wedding anniversary were spent in the emergency room of the Hawkesbury General Hospital getting a prescription of antibiotics for a nasty case of cellulitis while staving off a case of 3 a.m. hunger pangs.

And though my Hawkesbury dining experience was limited to part of a bag of almond Glossettes my husband purchased from the ER vending machine, it was - as the triage nurse pointed out - an anniversary dinner I'll never forget.

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