A Day in the Life…
Our less-than-two-years-old top-of-the-range washing machine suddenly decided to stop short of its full cycle. Before doing its final rinse and spin, it just … stopped. Now I need to let you know when this happened I was somewhere else, and therefore was not aware.
When 9yo son wanted to do his laundry – yes, all my children do their own laundry as soon as they turn 8 years old – he couldn’t, as my bedsheets were still in there. He couldn’t open the door either.
The machine is a front-loader and has a safety mechanism which doesn’t allow the door to be opened willy-nilly – unlike a top-loader. This safety mechanism, however, is not fool-proof. If one switches the machine off and then wait one minute or so, a faint click will sound, signifying that the door is openable. So, I turned the machine off and waited the obligatory one minute and then opened the door, and which point water gushed out! I quickly slammed the door shut and no bad words came out of my mouth.
I then decided that the bedsheets needed another wash. So, I put in some washing powder, turned the machine back on for a full wash and waited. Once again, right before the spin cycle, it stopped.
I turned the knob for just a Spin. No go. Lots of humming, but no action. (Like some politicians.)
Pulled out the Manual and tried looking up my particular problem.
At the bottom of the ‘Problems’ page, it said ever so helpfully, ‘If your problem isn’t listed, please call Customer Service.’
I hate using the phone for such things. Hate it.
Called the number listed, and obeyed the call instructions that was recorded by a woman with a Kiwi accint. I was then put in a queue and was told by a Aussie male recording that my call was very important to them. Another voice recording came on periodically to let me know that I was next in the queue. As soon as my call reached the front of the line, I was disconnected.
I called two more times, only to be disconnected again.
Fourth time, I finally got to speak to a person! I explained the problem and she said that it was most likely something stuck in the machine. Asked me to look for the panel at the bottom right of the machine.
Asked me to open the cover.
To be honest, I was already up to this step when I called Customer Service. The Help Person then told me that I needed to twist open the cap. ‘But don’t do it right now!’ she cautioned, urgently. ‘You need to get lots of towels and do it very, very slowly.’
Then the line disconnected again.
I pressed the Last Number Dialled button on my phone, didn’t wait for Ms Kiwi to tell me the options because I had them memorised and waited in the queue again while listening to their assurance that my call really was important to them. When I finally got to speak to a person, the first thing I said was, ‘I just want you to know that this is my fifth time calling. I keep getting disconnected. So, please take down my number and if the line cuts off, I want you to call me back.’
A pause, and then a cautious, ‘Okay…’
I brought this new Help Person up-to-date and she told me that after draining the machine, I had to poke around and see what was causing the blockage. ‘It could be a button, or a coin, or a bit of tissue…’
Disconnected again. I waited and true to her word, the lady called me back, bless her.
She told me that after I drained the machine…I had to do … something…. Something about opening the door and …something… about the drum. I am not the best at remembering oral instructions. Really, I’m not sure her calling me back helped all that much.
So, I started the long and arduous task of draining the machine. Those cloth nappies I saved from when my oldest was a baby really came in handy. But not quite enough.
Twenty-two nappies later – yes, I counted them! – used several times over, I decided this wasn’t going to work.
My oldest was sent on a hunt for something small enough to fit under that cap, but big enough to hold some water. The only thing in our house that fit that criteria was this:
There I was opening the cap just a crack to let water out and then closing it again when the lid got full. The water was then emptied into that white bucket (without the cloth nappies).
While all this was going on, I was mindful of the fact that I was supposed to be homeschooling, specifically, reading to my 9yo. So, what do I, a compulsive tick-all-the-boxes person, do? I call to him to get his books and bring them to me. I explained that I couldn’t read to him, but that since he can read quite well, he could read his books to me!
So, there we were. I, sitting on the floor of the laundry room, trying to drain the washing machine jar-lid by jar-lid, and my 9yo son sitting next to me reading his books out loud. Sorry, no photo. You’ll just have to use your imagination.
Finally, one hour and three buckets later, the machine finally gurgled out its last drops of water and it was safe enough to open the cap completely and stick my fingers inside and pull out the offending item.
Looking on the bright side, the problem could be solved on our own. If a service person had to come, that would have cost us $100.
And the culprit?