I realize that all five of you have been wondering about the update to the dishwasher situation. It turned out worse case/best case.
To recap: everything went to hell in and around our house and then order resumed. The dishwasher, however, continued to leak. We talked to a highly rated local repairman, who advised us based on age and model to replace it. We tried. The installers came and claimed (maybe true) that they couldn't squeeze the replacement in. (Thanks, Sears, for charging my card and not refunding the price nearly four weeks later. Second pissy email sent, and will be filing a complaint with my credit-card company next.)
So we convinced the repairman to come out, who charged us $55 for an hour or more of testing and consultation, during which he determined that even if we put $300 of parts and a few hours of his time in, the thing might still leak and it wasn't worth keeping alive.
Cue figuring out how to get a well-reviewed dishwasher that didn't cost $1,200 and that would fit in the space. We needed a "short tub" (under 33 1/2 inches tall), which are for some reason also in the ADA Compliant category. I gather that they have lower racks, perhaps, and thus easier to load with disabilities? Not sure.
We wound up ordering from a local appliance company, Albert Lee, a Bosch SGE63E15UC. Not cheap at about $800 with free delivery, but the only thing that would both fit and people didn't hate. (Other suggested units had terrible reviews.)
We then also had to hire our regular contractor, now mostly retired but willing to do some work for us, to come out because the plumbing and electrical weren't quite right. The folks who three-quarter-assedly renovated the house when they owned it 25 years ago put the cutoff valve for the water behind the dishwasher, instead of under the sink. And it was also too high off the floor. The Bosch likely wouldn't have fit, because it had nearly no clearance above the valve.
Our contractor cut a bunch of holes, swore a lot, dropped a few things, and managed to replumb it to work. Then the Bosch arrived with some strange attachments, and he drilled a few more big holes, and got it all together, leveled, and running. We'll probably owe him $300 or so for his hours of work.
Not cheap, but in a family of four with two growing boys, I think necessary. Lynn grew up washing dishes by hand, and it's not terrible to do so. But the new dishwashers are actually relatively efficient compared with handwashing: time, energy, and water consumed. Based on initial loading of the new machine, I think it might hold twice as many dishes as the old one, as bizarre as that seems as it takes up the same space. And it looks like it's even more energy efficient than the model it replaced, as well as using less water. So we might use 25% to 33% the water and energy per dish, and thus pay back the high cost quickly enough to take the sting away.