I was born and raised in a tropical island. I didn't grow up operating dishwashers much like Paris Hilton didn't grow up pitching hay.
We didn't have dishwashing appliances because hand dishwashing is considered an integral part of tropical island life. And also because dishwashers require hot and cold water, an indoor engineering application that we had absolutely no use for in our lovely, steamy equatorial climate. We take refreshing cold showers 24/7.
So, when I came to America, this dishwashing contraption was as alien to me as a snow plow. But hey, I gotta learn to use it, so I used it. How hard was that -- turn knobs to settings that said Hot Start, Heavy Wash, Normal Wash, Short Wash, Rinse Only, Drying, and Stop. Simple.
I loaded the dirty dishes. Of course, dishwashing needs detergent, right? Hmm. I have detergent. There's a cup in the dishwasher door that's obviously for the detergent, so I pour it in there, close the cup, shut the door, and engage the lock. Turn knob to... uhm... Normal Wash should be good.
And the machine goes whirrrr. Okay. I can get used to this world of machines doing housework.
A few minutes later, my guardian angel whispers in my ear. "Check the dishwasher."
I go into the kitchen and notice bubbles streaming out from under the dishwasher door, and a white foam starting to crawl across the floor. Argh!
Stop! Stop! Where's the stop button?! Unplug! How do you unplug this thing? Panic!
I unlock the door and swing it open. Woah! More bubbles! Everything covered with bubbles! More bubbly water flowing onto the floor! Mop! Get the mop! Get the rags! Panic!
When I finally pulled myself together, I called the apartment maintenance.
"Our dishwasher is busted! The drain must be clogged. Could you send someone to our apartment?"
I had transferred the dishes to the sink and handwashed everything when the maintenance guy arrived.
As soon as he saw the bubbles, he looked at me and asked, "Ma'm, what detergent did you use?"
I paused, and realized I had obviously used the wrong detergent. How was I to know? Thinking quickly on my feet, I said, "Uhm, I didn't load the washer myself. Why?"
"Well, your husband might have used -that- detergent over there." He pointed at the dishwashing handsoap pump that was sitting next to the sink.
"Oh, really? Why, what's wrong with that detergent?" Busted.
"It's not for dishwashers, Ma'm. They produce too much bubbles, so they will flood the dishwashing machine."
"Ye, my husband might have used that detergent by mistake." I was certain he knew it was me.
He soaked up all the soapy bubbly water from around and inside the machine and wrung the rag over the sink. After he had wiped off all the bubbles, he ran the machine for a bit until it rinsed out whatever soapy water lurked in the plumbing.
When the man of the house got home, I told him about the incident and warned him that if the maintenance guy ever confronts him about using the wrong detergent in the dishwasher, to say, "Yes, my mistake!"
Luckily, no confrontation ever took place. And we've long moved out of that apartment complex. Since then, we... er... I... have always used the right detergent in our dishwashing machine.