Wednesday, June 23, 2010
“Wishes Won't Wash Dishes"
It took me five years, 4 book cases, 2 entertainment centers, 1 motorcycle gas tank, 2 flat tires and 1 gas grill to learn it, but I eventually got the message: The Professor and I should not work together on any kind of home improvement/maintenance/upgrade project. The problem is that neither one of us has much skill in fixing/replacing/assembling. I want to study a picture, look at what I’m working on and move slowly, scared that screwing in the wrong bolt will cause my home to spontaneously combust. H e wants to get the entire horrid process over as quickly as possible, so he just starts assembling and/or disassembling – sometimes simultaneously – at will*. And we never seem to find a way to meld these…styles…without a lot of cussing. * I will note at this point that this “ignore the directions and screw everything together” philosophy could be the reason we had to completely take the grill apart half way through assembly so that we could start over. But I won’t. All of this is to say that when I got back from a quick 4 day trip to Florida and found my dishwasher was full of water that had failed to drain – 4 days ago – I was kinda glad The Professor was going to be out of town for a week. If he had been home, he would have been yanking things apart before I could even get to Google to ask its opinion on fixing dishwashers. I did call him and ask if he knew where the owner’s manual could be found, since he moved into the house a year before I did. He laughed at me and said “How the hell do I know? Anyway, we’ll just buy a new dishwasher”. I asked him how the hell he went from “clogged drain” to “replace the whole damn thing!” in 1.2 seconds, because I was determined to fix it. I am woman, here me roar! Surely I could just take off the drain cover, pull out whatever was clogging it, and move on to my wine and my evening. But first? I had to empty the water. Did I mention that there was so much water that when I opened the door, some of it ran onto the floor? And I figured that since it was going to require a lot of bending over and standing back up, I should probably wait to open the bottle of red my sister had sent home with me. Suddenly, just replacing the dishwasher sounded like a good idea. It sounded even better when I got the drain cover off and discovered the things growing in the Deep Dark Places of my Dishwasher. Needless to say, my little “pull off the drain cover and fix it in five minutes” plan did not work. It took me 45 minutes to get the water out. And then I had to figure out how the hell the drain cover came off, because those suckers needed something more complex than a Phillips head screwdriver, damn them. So it took me ten minutes of looking at my tool kit to figure out which unknown Thingy-With-A-Handle would remove those Weird Thingies holding the drain cover down. I was informed later (not by The Professor) that those are bolt screws. Whatever –I felt like a freaking goddess when I finally got them off. Do I even need to tell you that I could not, in fact, clear the problem? It was clearly time for me, Google, and the Wine to have a nice ménage a trios while we figured things out together. By the end of the evening, I convinced myself that I was NOT going to get into any kind of plumbing situation; that I was done, finished, we’d call a repair guy so I could drink my wine in peace without worrying that I’d accidentally jack up all my kitchen plumbing. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of telling that to a friend at work the next day, who has a very big “don’t ever call a professional without spending entirely too much time trying to fix it yourself” mentality. And he convinced me to get into the plumbing. My Friday night was shaping up to be a real treat. Ok, fine, I could do this. It’s just unhooking one little hose from one big pipe. How hard could this be? And he promised to be online to walk me through it when the panic attack hit. So I cleaned out under the kitchen sink, got a big bowl to catch water, and went to it, if by "went to it" you mean "stare at the pipes for 30 minutes before realizing that I actually had to touch the pipe if I wanted to get anything productive done". 30 minutes later – full of furious IM’ing and handholding – I had some things taken a apart, a little more water drained – and nothing fixed. "Don’t worry", Friend typed. "On Monday I’ll bring you something to slide in the hose and loosen up whatever’s stuck." So I ignored the dishwasher for the weekend, which was easy because I pretty much ingore the dishwasher all the time anyway. Guess what? The snake-claw-grabber thing didn’t work either. By now, The Professor was home from his trip and I was finished, done, over it. I turned it over to him and said “I’m NOT pulling this monster out of the cabinets. Call someone, I’m through”. And then I grabbed the rum and the pina colada mix and went outside and pretended I was back in Florida, with the delusion that I had functional kitchen appliances. So, The Professor calls Friend J, who lives down the street. Friend J is a handy guy to have around, if you happen to be as clueless with tools as The Professor and I happen to be. (True Story: Friend J had to use a hammer at our house once and when I handed it to him he laughed and called it a “Baby Hammer”). Friend J comes over the next morning (yesterday) and starts taking things apart –in the correct order, no less. And after much handyman-work-that-I-am-in-awe-of, he figured out the problem. A teeny tiny screw had come loose from the teeny tiny blade that chops up any food that gets past the drain cover. And he found it in the motor. Where it had done Considerable Damage. Guess who’s getting a new dishwasher? PS – they also found the owner’s manual! When they pulled the dishwasher out of the cabinet, they discovered that the people that installed it had left the manual taped to the top of the dishwasher. Brilliance!