Tuesday, 16 August 2011

The washing machine saga...

To say I had a busy weekend may be a slight understatement. Earlier in the week the washing machine decided it's had it and like a stubborn mule simply refused to fill with cold water. As you are nou doubt aware, I have somewhat soft computer hands and I'm not exactly the type of guy to fiddle with these things. But after I heard what it will cost me to get someone to come out ($100 call-out + parts + labour at $16-50 / 10 min) I decided:

1) I had missed my calling, and
2) surely, surely it can't be thát difficult...

I then proceeded to Google the problem (as one does in these situations) and learned everything there was to learn about a Whirlpool top loader.  So, armed with my newly-acquired knowledge, a screw driver in the one hand and a spanner in the other, I cautiously approached the laundry, after I first instructed my dear wife Christa nót to follow me, and should I not return after an hour, to immediately call the emergency services.

I wrestled the machine out of its lair (which I must admit was a challenge in itself - you don't need to be strong to type) and had a look at the back. Within an instant my keen eye took in the situation. The room was ominously quiet and somewhere in the distance a dog barked. Everything appeared simple. Too simple. There was a metal plate at the back and not much else. If only there were some bolts or screws or levers or knobs then I could, with a vengeance, start to pull or push or twist or turn something, but there was nothing! With calm determination I took hold of the situation and told myself, "Self, the reason they made it like this is to keep out those people who know nothing about these things. But you are not one of those people, now are you?" So I pulled myself together, squinted my eyes and focussed. It wasn't long before I noticed a small, seemingly insignificant screw in the top left corner. To the untrained eye it appears small and insignificant, but the experienced expert immediately recognises its importance. With all the concentration I could muster I cautiously and slowly started to unscrew it...

With my eyes still squinting and my body twisted un-naturally in at least three places, my hands pushing and pulling and disturbing noises emanating from the beast, the washing machine slowly gave up on the fight and I was able to, like a spastic surgeon of sorts, remove its innards piece by piece. It wasn't long before I found the source of the problem. The cold water is fed from our rain water tank which caused one of the filters to clog up. Now I ask you, with tears in my proverbial blue eyes, who in their right mind designs a washer with the filter hidden so deep inside that my whole body disappears with only my feet sticking out while I try to reach it?!? To cut a long story short, with me heaving and panting about as much the Boks vs. Samoa, the filter was removed and cleaned.

Now started the challenge to try and reassemble the machine so that it:

a) looks like a washing machine,
b) sounds like a washing machine,
c) washes like a washing machine,
d) won’t attack and devour the kids or the dog

After a few kind words and a few less kind words (but always complying with the minimum standards for a Christian family) I managed to get all the parts assembled. In the process I had to reopen the animal twice (by this stage I was convinced it had to be a living organism with a very evil soul) when I discovered with a sinking feeling in my stomach, that some parts that originated from the inside of the machine were still well and truly on the outside of said machine. Finally there were no more loose parts and every screw or bolt had a place (hopefully the correct place!) and the white monster resembled a washing machine once again.

Now for the test. I attached the plug to the wall, switched it on, turned the big knob like I've always seen my wife do, held my breath, hit the button and... NOTHING! Nada! Zigalô! Aikôna wena! Not a drop! At this stage I started talking again but this time the choice of words may have been a little more liberal. Winners don't give up though, now do they? The only option that remained was that I open it again and (with an intelligent expression on my face of course) inspect the complicated parts. It's a lot like being stuck at the side of the road in the middle of the Karoo. You open the hood and look at the engine thinking that maybe, just maybe you will see something obvious and fixable.

Fortunately this time I remembered to clóse the tap befóre disconnecting the hose! And then it hit me like a salmon right between the eyes. The tap was closed! It was CLOSED! HA! Take that! In my eagerness to test the thing I forgot to open the tap again. Hands trembling with anticipation, I turned on the tap and pressed the button. Immediately I heard a sound not unlike the singing of angels and my eyes became watery with emotion. The machine was fixed! Just there I gave a victory cry and did the haka in a way that will make the All Blacks jealous! The kids darted in one direction and the dog, with his tail firmly between his legs took refuge in the other.

The day had been saved! My wife was happy, the kids could go to school with clean socks, I saved my hard-earned cash and did all of that in under 60 minutes! To prevent this somewhat unsavoury event from repeating itself I darted off to Bunnings to get a second filter which I promptly fitted to the tap because, in spite of my overwhelming success, I still don't think my soft computer hands were made for fixing washing machines!

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