31 August 2007

This Old Motherfucking House: the Prequel

The Prequel: Kenmore Blues

I wrote this prior to the realization that problems with This Old Motherfucking House would be frequent enough to warrant a series. Consider this the prequel. 

My washer broke. Times like these are when I could use a sweet hookup with a Maytag repairman.

Well, I may not have an in with a hot repairman (my Maytag repairman would not be that guy from the commercial), but I do have a strapping young son who likes taking stuff apart. Plus, it was his crazy unbalanced load of sheets and smelly football jerseys which broke the washer.

Digression: Speaking of smelly football gear, here's a little aside from Friday:

Son, getting ready for football practice: Hey Anyu, have you seen my cup?


Are you sure? You didn't see it out here?

Yes, I'm sure. It better not be out here -- and you probably need to wash that thing.

Son: Not really...

Oh, I'm quite sure you do.

Son: Huh?

After all those football practices? Please.

Son, holding up handful of ibuprofen:
 ... um, my glass? My cup of water?
Hey, the boy was readying himself for football practice, getting his gear together, what do you want? Like you wouldn't have thought the same thing. An honest mistake.

Anyway. Back to the washer.

I figured if we installed a new toilet together, using only directions from The Internets, we could fix a washer. The old toilet, by the way, was from 1964. Older than I am. The new one is a veritable throne. Anyway, I formed a hypothesis about which part we needed for the washer and ordered it through a local shop.

That evening, the son and I faced our adversary, armed with screwdrivers and a flashlight.

The part in question involved wiring and connectors. Great. The son gets the new part put in. I clean the nasty gunk built up in various and sundry places around the washer's innards. This stuff is a sticky mess borne of fabric softener, soap scum, sweater lint, and dog hair.

Seriously people, everyone should dismantle their washer and get that crap out of there. It's nasty.

The first time we reassembled the washer, I forgot to reconnect the bleach dispenser hose. Crap. I poured water in the bleach receptacle, hoping I was wrong. Water ran straight out the base of the washer. Crap. The son went on for a while about how could I have forgotten to reconnect the bleach dispenser, yada-yada.

The second time we reassembled the washer, it still wouldn't spin. By this time, tempers were a bit short, because we could smell the burritos that Teen Demon was preparing, and the son wanted to watch the movie we'd rented: Blades of Glory.

Oh, please. Get off your high horse. You try living with teenagers, and tell me you don't watch stupid movies.

Anyway, a semi-heated discussion followed, as the son was convinced that there was, in fact, something ELSE wrong with the washer after all. I had checked the rest of the washer while it was flayed open, and was of the opinion that Boy Wonder had neglected to connect something, or something was hooked up backward, upside-down, or otherwise not fitting with Kenmore's finicky standards. This meant I may be able to live down the bleach-dispenser oversight. Silver linings, people.

We took it apart again. We knocked a small part down into the guts of the thing. Crap! Oh, and a long plastic piece, known to us as "The White Thing" had been falling off and getting jammed between the cabinet and the back since we started. Every damn time we touched any part of the washer, The White Thing would slip off.

I figured if we could get The White Thing to stay, that would free up my hand, enabling me to help with the cabinet, and protecting my foot from getting crushed by the cabinet, since I had to stand so close to the damn thing in order to hold The White Thing in place. So I'm yelling for Teen Demon to bring some Scotch tape to hold The White Thing in place while we're farting around with the cabinet.

Teen Demon informs me that there is no Scotch tape.

I know there is Scotch tape, because I personally commandeered a fresh roll out of the gift-wrapping basket (which sounds very organized but is pretty much a joke) and installed it in the tape dispenser which I commandeered from the surplus pile at work, and which currently resides in the "school supply" section of our desk.  Also pretty much a joke.  I know there is Scotch tape as surely as I know there are ballpoint pens: not only did I raid the gift wrapping basket for tape, I had also wisely purchased three dozen cheap ballpoint pens at Office Hell one day, while in a rage over how there are never any pens or sharpened pencils in my house when I need one. Cheap pens because good pens don't last but overnight. Good pens disappear into backpacks and into oblivion in the blink of an eye.

Then I realize that I had just been in another pen rage not two days ago, as the run-of-the-mill Bics I had so thoughtfully purchased were now gone. If the pens are gone, chances are the tape is gone as well. There is, however, a dried up glue stick available, with approximately 1/2 millimeter of old glue that I could possibly dig out with a fingernail.

Crap. I continue to keep The White Thing in place with one hand, while adroitly holding the flashlight in the other so the son can fish out the tiny part from the innards of the washer. There is the requisite discussion about how to prevent the tiny part from falling out again, ending with the son's exasperated, "I got this!"

We finally decide to leave the washer until after burritos and the movie. Thank goodness for Teen Demon's burritos that night. I call them D├ętente Burritos. Burritos, however, need lettuce, and there was only a sad tiny pile of limp lettuce available for burritos. Lettuce is not high on Teen Demon's list of burrito ingredients. It is pretty much a necessity for my burritos. I take off for the store with much squealing of tires to procure some lettuce. I don't know why I didn't get pens and Scotch tape while I was at it, but I didn't, so we're still out.

After a rousing round of burritos and Men on Ice, the son ventures back out to the garage.

Um ... the washer's fixed. I kind of forgot to connect the ends of the wires.

Vindicated. Also, that kid rocks.

If I ever win the lottery, I'm going to break my new bigass washer on purpose, just so I can enjoy calling a friggin' repairman, and let somebody else fix that shit for us.


  1. Wait...it was meant to be 'hilarious' right? Cuz if I'm over hear laughing at your plite and suffering, than that would mean I am an asshole.
    (oh please don't be an asshole. oh please oh please oh please)

  2. Replacing toilets and repairing washers..Ahhhh..Those wonderful bonding moments between a boy and his mother!

  3. You should've called in the Rad Dyke Plumber from the Stranger.

    And I don't understand your comment about watching stupid movies when you have teenagers. It just seemed totally random. I mean, I KNOW you couldn't've been talking about Blades of Glory. 'Cause that is the most bad-ass movie in existence.

  4. You rock, as does the kid! Good job. I had forgotten about fixing things with the help of a teenager. You're right, food usually manages to calm things down on both sides. I'm with Allen, the day I win the lottery, the laundry becomes some else's problem. And cleaning the house? I don't think so. Not that it gets cleaned now.

  5. Hat: You are the most un-assholish person ever. You're the anti-asshole. It wasn't hilarious at the time. But you know what they say, one man's calamity is another man's hilarity.

    Sling: Well, somebody's gotta do it.

    WM: Yeah, I thought about that, but it wasn't really a plumbing problem. And while I'd rather support her than some dude flashing his hairy crack at me, she still costs. Although with the amount your brother eats during football season, I may as well have paid her.

    As far as your film commentary, right, you know better. Yes, it was funny, but I KNOW you didn't defend BoG without being fully aware of your rationalization. Go on, queer ally, tell it. Yeah. thought so. (OK, it was still funny. In a stupid way.)

  6. Evil-G: With the amount this boy eats, he should be repairing everything in the house. That's OK though. When he's playing in the NFL, or an Olympic wrestler or track star, he'll remember who kept him up on his protein. Including those nastyass shakes. Actually, he'll most likely get me that little chalet in Italy with his computer skillz, when he takes over for Bill Gates. Either way, I'm covered. Stretchmarks.

  7. I finally get a moment to read your blog and it could be right outta my life, except I could never fix a washing machine. Ain't it handy to have a large teenager around? I totally love it, especially with my sore back.

    P.S. As we useta say, 'you crack me up.'

  8. You are my hero - repairing washers and toilets and raising responsible, successful kids. My kind of woman!
    - and, yes I would think the cup should be cleaned occasionally.


I've got a fever ...