Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Day I Did Laundry

I wrote this a while ago, but wanted to post it here...

I broke my washing machine. It sits in the same room as our computer, so while I'm trying to work on the computer, my unbalanced machine starts going crazy. this is not unsusual for this particular Kenmore product; no matter how carefully I believe I am distributing a load, it goes nuts during the spin cycle.
Today, I snapped. I sat at the computer, trying to read an article, and slowly my machine began to pound and whir, growing louder and louder until it drowned out the NPR program I was straining to hear. THA-THUNK THA-THUNK THA-THUNK. I lunged at it, throwing myself on top of the lid, feet dangling off the floor, arms reaching around either side. When it continued its rampage (and had me bucking mechanical bull style), I lifted my hips and came down with both knees, full power, in a satisfying jolt to the front of the machine.
I heard a crack, the THA-THUNK subsided, and the machine whirred to an eerie silence.
"Shit." I was still hugging the machine but had lowered my feet to the ground. I cautiously opened the lid. It looked fine, the clothes were half-spun, but centered. What did I do? I turned the knob back to the Normal wash line. I pulled it out, and the machine came to life, dousing my clothes once again. "oh, thank God," I breathed and jostled the clothes around trying to find some stability. I shut the lid once again and went back to the computer.
It must've been about twenty minutes later when I noticed the silence. I looked at the washing machine. I walked over and cringed as I slowly lifted the lid. The knob had stopped at the drain/spin part of the wash. Just as I had dreaded, there sat my load, soaking is not-so-sudsy water. I kicked the machine. I closed the lid again, pushed the knob in and out, trying to get it to do something. Nothing. "CRAP" I shouted, my seven year old daughter came running.
"What's wrong mommy?" She asked. I was already unscrewing the back panel of the washer. "Nothing. Go play." I grumbled. I WOULD fix this thing; I figured I just disconnected something, I just needed to see. But seeing does not mean understanding. I just stared at the mix of wires and hoses. How would I ever even know if something was out of the ordinary? I ran to the computer and brought up google. Surely there would be something...After about an hour of sorting through trouble-shooting sites and all online manuals that existed (i found diagrams of everything BUT a Kenmore), I angrily began screwing the panel back on. I opened the lid and looked at the mess around the agitator. What was I going to do.
Then I glanced at the little hole where the lever gets pushed down when you close the lid. Where was the lever? I carefully stuck my fingers back behind the hole and felt a jagged stub of metal. Jeezus. I had broken the lever? I mean, It made sense, but such a simple problem...I pushed the jagged edge down and immediately the machine sprang to life. Water slowly drained and the tub began to spin. I stared at it, refusing to pull my finger back, even as the notoriously unbalanced tub lurched up, threatening to mutilate my hand. I could see why they want you to have the lid closed; kind of scary to see that thing, at any moment it could spin out of control, sending plastic parts and buttons flying into my face.
I stood there, for several minutes, until it was finished. I smiled triumphantly as I shook my stiff fingers and began to toss garments into the dryer.
You gotta let these things know who's in charge, right?

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