Actually, women should know, too, but that wouldn’t segue into my post so well.
Anyway, every guy should know basic garbage disposal maintenance. You never know when your wife will spill half a can of Quaker Oats in her purse on the way home from work, then dump a penny down the disposal as she’s cleaning it out. The first thing you should do is turn off the power to the disposal, although I didn’t bother. The second thing to do is unhook the thing, turn it upside down over a big bowl and dump out the penny. If your disposal is like the ones I’ve worked with, there are two hoses coming in - one to drain the water, and one that hooks up to the dishwasher. The dishwasher one is very important - make sure you remove the plug so there is actually a hole for water from the dishwasher to pass through. If you’ve never run your dishwasher before, and it won’t drain, check the connection to the disposal. If yours is like mine when I moved in, someone has forgotten to remove the plug. Removing the plug is not trivial, either. You probably have to bang on a screwdriver with a hammer or something like that. Then you have to dump the piece of plastic out, because it won’t go down the drain, and it will take approximately six years of running the disposal to chop it up into little bits.
Another important thing to know about disposals is that they have a little screw at the bottom that takes an allen wrench. You should always know where this wrench is. If your disposal stops working due to large amounts of whatever you’ve put in there, get the wrench and turn that screw back and forth for a bit, then try the disposal again. The only thing I’ve put down a disposal that made it stop working that wasn’t fixed by turning that screw was a shot glass.
It is also important to use your disposal. If you have one, you must run it occasionally, or else you need a screen to keep things from falling down there. I can’t tell you how awesome it is to have congealed chicken fat and six month old onion peel sitting at the bottom of the disposal. Actually, I can. Because I know. It is not awesome at all.