I Can do Home Maintenance! (Sort of. Mostly.)Dawn Meehan
After my amazing job of fixing my washing machine (you can read all about it here), I’ve come to the conclusion that I can fix anything. I’m awesome. I’m amazing. Home Maintenance is my middle name! I’m like Bob Vila! Or Ty Pennington! Or some other astonishing home improvement guy! Or Ty Pennington (he deserves to be mentioned twice because he’s Ty Pennington!)
So when my washing machine started leaking, I thought to myself, No problem! I’m an expert! I can totally fix this! See? You give me a small taste of success and it goes right to my head.
Unfortunately, I hadn’t had time to take a look at the washer this week. I figured it just wasn’t draining properly again and I’d probably have to take the whole thing apart once more in order to figure out where the leak was. Last night, I finally found a few minutes to take a look. I opened the laundry room door and a tidal wave of water came sloshing out over my head, engulfing everything in its path. Or so it felt. I slogged through the piles of sopping wet laundry on the floor, stagnant, smelly water squishing up between my toes with every step I took. I grabbed onto the washing machine and tried to pull it away from the wall, but given the fact that I have the upper body strength of a gerbil, I lost my grip and fell back into the puddle of wet clothes. Still, I’m Master Builder Meehan; I can do anything! I tried again. “I know I pulled it out from the wall the last time,” I said through gritted teeth while heaving with all my strength. It didn’t budge. Wow, my gerbil-like strength might have to be downgraded to that of a jellyfish, I thought. Then I realized the washer was full of clothes.Yes! I’m not a weakling, after all!
I emptied the washer and tried again. It took me a few minutes of scooting the washer this way an inch, then that way an inch, then this way an inch, then that way an inch. Sure, that method is time consuming, but it’s effective. As I angled it out, it jammed up against the wall and I thought of Ross. “PIVOT!” I yelled to no one in particular. (You get bonus points and will be my new best friend if you understand that reference.)
No sooner had I moved the appliance away from the wall then I saw where the water was coming from. It wasn’t the washer that was leaking at all. It was the hose that runs from the wall to the washer that had a small, steady stream of water pouring from it. Hallelujah! I don’t have to take the whole washer apart again! I just have to tighten up this thingy that screws these two hoses together. I can do that!
I unplugged the machine and turned the water off before I began because I’m smarter than your average bear that way (and because I may learn things the hard way, but I do tend to remember those lessons.) I gripped the pieces and twisted with all my might. Nothing happened. Well, actually something happened. My hand turned red and got indentations from the screwy part. But I couldn’t tighten it. No problem. I’ll ask Austin. I’m pretty sure the Hardware Rule Book states that I don’t have to abdicate my title as Amazing Fixit Guy just because I need a little help in the manly muscle department.
Austin got a grippy tool and was able to tighten the part. I turned the water back on. The good news is that there was no longer a steady trickle of water. The bad news is that the water now sprayed out in an impressive arch kinda like when you were a kid playing outside with the garden hose and you put your thumb over the nozzle so you could shoot your sister from across the yard. Yeah. Being the quick-thinker I am, I took less than 5 minutes to realize I needed to turn off the water again.
Okay, plan B. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned, it’s that you always need a plan B when fixing stuff. It’s usually a pretty good idea to have a plan C, D, E, and F as well. You know, just in case.
I had Austin use his grippy tool to take the hoses apart, then I inspected them as if I had a clue what I was looking for. There was a black rubber thingy inside one of them. “Aha!” I exclaimed. I bet I need a new one of these. This looks like something that could make a washing machine leak,” I informed Austin who looked disinterested in the whole process.
I grabbed the black rubber thingy and headed to Ace. I assume everyone ran and hid when they saw me approaching because it took me several minutes to find someone to help me. It might have something to do with the weed whacker incident.
When I finally found someone, I produced my black rubber thingy and said, “I need one of these because my washing machine is leaking.”
He looked at the little black circle in my palm and said, “You need a new washer.”
“Really? It’s only two years old! I don’t think I need a new washer. I’m pretty sure I can fix the leak if I get a new one of these thingys,” I countered, indicating the rubber circle.
The guy just looked at me.
“What?” I asked
innocently obliviously. “You don’t think this is the problem? This couldn’t be causing the leak?”
Realizing that I wasn’t being a smartbutt and that, in actuality, I really am this stupid, the guy said (in very small, simple terms), “This little black circle is called a washer. You need a new washer. And yes, this is probably why it’s leaking.”
“Isn’t that a little confusing? A washer for the washer?” I asked. “It should really be named something else. Like Little Black Circle. Now that makes sense.”
He stopped and looked at me again. I got the feeling the other Ace guys had tipped him off about me.
He led me to an aisle with plumbing type stuff, grabbed a pack of orange washers off the wall, and handed it to me.
“These aren’t the same,” I informed him.
He wrinkled his brow and took the black washer from me, comparing it to the ones in the package. After a brief moment, he assured me, “Yep. They’re the same.”
“It doesn’t matter that these are orange?” I asked. In hindsight, I guess it was stupid of me, but at the time, I didn’t know. I thought maybe they were color-coded. You know like the hangers at Target. Each size has its own color tab on top. I understand clothes shopping. I don’t understand hardware shopping.
So I went home, jammed the washer into the screwy part of the hose and tightened it all up again. I turned the water on full-blast, proud of myself for figuring out what was wrong and fixing it all by myself. (If Ty knew about my skills, he’d be all over me.)
Water spewed from the hose, spraying my face, the wall, the dry clothes stacked neatly on the dryer, basically everything.
I calmly turned off the water again and declared, “It’s unfixable. Time for a new washer, and not the little rubber circle kind either!”
I suppose I could’ve Googled how to fix this sort of thing. I could’ve messed around with it until a lightbulb appeared above my head. But instead I ran to my neighbor’s house. “Help? My washing machine is broken and I don’t know what to do.”
My neighbor came over and took a look at the hoses. “I’ve had just enough beers that I think I can fix this,” he said. I remember the time my son, Jackson let this particular neighbor give him a haircut after a few beers.
“Actually, I might not need help after all,” I changed my mind.
“Nah, this is an easy fix. You just need a new hose,” he stated confidently.
“They sell those?”
“Probably. If not, you can get them at Lowe’s.”
I thought about going to Lowe’s, but I figured, They already think I’m unbalanced at Ace; why add a second store of employees who think I’m mentally challenged? I ran to Ace, found the same guy, told him the new washer didn’t work, and asked him to point me in the direction of the hoses.
Long story short (or long story not quite as long as I could make it), I got the new hoses and my neighbor installed them. Not only that, but while he was installing them, Savannah was asking me questions for her psychology homework. My neighbor helped with that too by giving her such helpful answers as “flux capacitor” and “I’m sorry, but that question wasn’t asked in the form of an answer.”
I may have gotten help with this repair, but I’m still retaining my self-imposed title of Fixit Queen of the World. I can do that since I live in my own fantasyworld. And I’ve come to the conclusion that I no longer need a fixit guy. I’ve got this single mom thing down pat! I’ll just borrow my neighbor’s husband now and then and I’ll get cats. Lots of cats. The cats are really optional, but they represent the fact that I don’t need a fixit guy since this single mom is now the Fixit Queen of the World. Unless Ty Pennington wants to be my fixit guy. I’ll ditch the Cat Plan for him.
If you liked this, here are some more favorites from Dawn.