Tuesday, June 16, 2015

How to Fix the Washer in 41 Easy Steps

1. Notice that the formerly white throw rug from the basement bathroom, used heavily by pony clubbers last week at camp, is now mostly dirt brown.

2. Throw rug, which has lain mostly unmolested in the seldom-used basement bathroom for the last 14 years, into the washing machine. With some towels for friction.

3. Later in the day, go to move the load from the washer to the dryer, only to realize that a) it did not spin properly; b) everything is soaking wet; c) the washer is flashing an error code.

4. Wonder how one throw rug and three towels can unbalance the washer. Start it again.

5. Repeat step #3.

6. Repeat step #4.

7. Repeat step #3.

8. Reflect that the error code, "OE," might refer to something meaningful.

9. Nah. Try a spin and rinse cycle instead.

10. Uh-uh.

11. Look up error codes online. OE means the machine won't drain. (There is no explanation for how "OE" is supposed to stand for "won't drain.")

12. Reflect up advisability of calling a repair man versus attempting a self repair. Ponder cost and usefulness of college education. Ponder self-image of strong, smart, capable woman.

13. Go online and read how to clean the drain filter in six simple steps, beginning with "unplug machine and turn water off."

14. Unplug machine and turn water off.

15. Begin to shimmy machine out from between cabinet and dryer, to access back wall.

16. Call strapping college-age son for assistance.

17. Climb behind washer. Identify water lines and also drain line. Pull drain line from wall. Correct son who says, "now you've broken it." Explain authoritatively that drain line is supposed to be able to be pulled from wall. How else would you clean it?

18. Try to figure out how one might clean a drain line. Look for "trapdoor of drain filter." Fail to find anything remotely resembling a trap door. Attempt to pry various plastic bits from back of washer, without success.

19. Wonder if one read the instructions for the correct type of washer. Climb from behind washer, consult internet again.

20. Ascertain that one has a front-loading washer, and that these are apparently different from top-loading washers.

21. Read terrifying front-loading washer drain-filter cleaning instructions, which include "remove the three screws on the bottom of the lower panel of the washing machine, using the 1/4 inch socket or hex screwdriver."

22. Attempt to locate a 1/4 socket or hex screwdriver. Find a wrench. Hope it's good enough.

23. As instructed, tip washer back. Instead of resting the elevated front edge on wooden blocks, rest it on a pair of rubber boots that happen to be handy.

24. Observe that rubber boots squish.

25. Rootle in garage and find some enormously sketchy wooden bits, probably covered in spiders.

26. Prop front edge of washer on wooden bits.

27. Observe that you do not see screws, three or otherwise, or anything like a metal panel designed to be removed by home repairwomen.

28. While pondering, observe small trapdoor located in plain sight on front of washer. Wonder why one never noticed it before.

29. Open it. Remove drain filter, which turns out to be small cylinder coated with a few plasticky bits which seem to have been the backing to the throw rug.

30. Upon further inspection, realize that drain filter is an open cylinder completely jam packed with plasticky bits. Empty into trash. Look into washer, see drain hose stuffed with more plasticky bits. Remove by poking them with a pencil, as the wrench won't fit.

31. Spill water and plastic all over the floor.

32.  Feeling triumphant, replace filter, restart washer, bask in glory.

33. Not so fast.  OE.

34. Remove filter, rinse again, rinse drain hose, yada yada.

35. Restart washer.

36. No.

37. Remove rug, towels, and millions more pieces of rug backing to driveway. Clean up enormous number of plastic bits from inside washer. Wonder how one small rug can produce 17 rugs' worth of backing.

38. Restart empty washer.

39. Pour self a glass of wine.

40. Attempt to glare washer into submission.

41. OE.

42. Attempt to contact repairperson via internet. Discover that internet is down.