Kathleen Cremonesi’s Day Off

November 23, 2010

This post is not about food. I will not mention the word Kitchen again. I will not share a single picture. And there will not be an embedded recipe unless you are looking for a lousy way to spend your day off.

At best, you’ll find some Kicking and Screaming.

Today was supposed to be my day off. My goals: prepare the home and property for the 11 degree low the local paper predicted is coming (eleven!), clean the bathrooms, do the laundry, and maybe, just maybe, find a quiet hour to catch up on yesterday’s New York Times in honor of the birthday I missed celebrating over the weekend due to my holiday work schedule.

I’d just like to say that, deep inside, I don’t think it’s right that a day off is spent cleaning bathrooms. A wintry day off, especially around one’s birthday, should be spent sipping tea, watching movies, and eating fresh-baked cookies.

Seeing that the pipes are likely to freeze in the coming days, I figured I’d get the laundry under way, and then I’d move on to shutting off irrigation faucets, turning lights on in pump houses, and blocking the foundation vents with cardboard. I did get the laundry started, but when I returned some 40 minutes later to switch load one into the dryer and get load going, I found load one sitting in a pool of water.


My 12-year-old front-loader does not always spin as she’s supposed to, so I started turning the dial around trying to get one of the rinse cycles started. No matter what I tried, I could not get water to flow into the machine. Not yet cold enough for the water line to freeze, so I figured it was clogged. Now I’m a modern woman and a pretty handy person, and I’m willing to get my hands dirty. But when it comes to scenarios such as clogged septic lines and cats releasing live rodents in the house, it becomes a Boy Job.  This is especially true when appliances go on the fritz. I mean, my husband is and Espresso Machine Technician. He diagnoses electrical problems, mechanical malfunctions, and pump issues on a daily basis. He understand electricity and water, and he isn’t nearly as likely to electrocute himself. So why, I ask, was I the one gashing my knuckles while searching for a blockage in the washer’s incoming water lines only to discover that there was no blockage.

I asked for hubby’s help. He listened to the humming sound for a few seconds. Pump’s probably bad, he said. Damn thing’s 12 years old. Time to buy a new one.

Can’t say I haven’t looked at the Home Depot flyer and coveted those candy-apple-red jobbies that wash and dry and steam and fold your clothes for you. (They do fold the clothes too, don’t they?) But I wasn’t giving up just yet.

Since water would flow out of the nearby utility sink’s faucet just fine, and there was nothing physically keeping water from coming into the washing machine, I transferred the sopping wet clothes into a basket, soaking the area rug in the process and tried the machine’s various settings again. Water would now flow into the machine.  What this means is that my washing machine is smarter than I am. It knew there had to be something keeping water from going out of the machine, long before I did, and it was therefore keeping more water from coming in.

This is when Google comes in really, really handy. My Frigidaire front loader won’t drain. In 0.30 seconds, I found out that 192,000 other people had this same problem. The first link I clicked on mentioned a black, rubber, accordion-like boot behind the bottom panel that connects the tub to the pump to the drain. And it told me that there may be a filter in there that often clogs. Aha! I unplugged the washer, removed that boot, and promptly flooded my laundry room. Thank goodness we had the sense to install a drain in the concrete floor. (It was supposed to be a dog washing station — mighta been used once in 10 years.) I was also thankful that I’d thought to unplug the wine refrigerator as well (God save the wine!) so I didn’t get electrocuted by the inch of water I was now standing in.

Amazing how much water those front loaders actually hold. When the flow finally stopped, I broomed enough of the water into the drain so I could get down on my knees and stick a few fingers, blindly, into the pump housing. No filter. Could have been just about anything in there, but what did I pull out? An underwire from one of my bras. Yep. Jammed into the pump, keeping it from spinning. The damn thing was rusted all to hell, so it must have been working its way in there for a good, long time. (You’d think a girl would notice when half her bosom has been flying freer than the other for the past few months!) An underwire! Couldn’t it have been a screw, a wire nut, some coins, or one of the other myriad things my husband leaves in his pockets? At least then we could have shared the blame…

I reassembled hoses and clamps and panels, and the washer seems to be working fine, even if there is a slight clicking sound when it spins… (Another underwire? Did I not notice because both of them are in there? Or maybe there is a screw!)

Didn’t get much of a day off, but perhaps I will be getting that fancy red washer and dryer after all…

8 Responses to “Kathleen Cremonesi’s Day Off”

  1. Liz Says:

    Thank you for a nice laugh as I look out at the snow and realize that I am snowed in and have all that Thanksgiving shopping yet to do. Maybe I should try to do the laundry?

  2. Marilyn Harryman Says:

    First…Happy Birthday….and isnt it really the most powerful thing to fix such a problem! Loved every word. (ok, more fun to debrief in word than deed.)
    What I have discovered when getting the Boy to fix things, it is easier if he sees it as a problem. If it’s mine, I gotta fix it!!! If he sees I am enjoying it or suddenly thinks he can do it better…he takes over!!! Works like a charm.

    Earlier this year, when the rusty and most faithful gas dryer finally said no more after about 30 years of trouble free service. I finally gave in and bought a new one that steams and almost folds, holds very big blankies too. Very cool technology but I am not sure it is worth the expense since the Boy usually does the laundry. However, it is fun just to turn the knobs, open the door and hear it tell you to clean the filter every time!!!!!
    Now I gotta pay for it…one year without interest – almost up, sigh.

    • Love it, M! Thanks for sharing.
      We have the same rule for pet messes — you find it, you clean it. And keeping your eyes pointed straight ahead without looking down is no good either — might step in it!
      Boy is not allowed to do my laundry since the time he bleached and shrunk one of my favorite sweaters. If I ever do need to get that new one, I’ll be sure to enjoy it.

  3. Marilyn Harryman Says:

    happy birthday again….and fyi, made your puff pastry thingys yesterday! Had some fun with it and results not bad! Had planned to freeze a couple to see what would happen, but they disappeared. Will have to experiment again for Thanksgiving get together at Maggie’s.

    • Yay! I love that you tried them. With all the yummy sauces and cheeses and veggies in your refrigerator, I bet you can come up with some amazing combinations – which is something I love about these appetizers. One batch, lots of variety. Happy happy T day!

  4. Cathy Trimble Says:

    Happy Birthday Kathleen!
    You snuck that one by me.
    Funny story & I hope you get it resolved
    take one mygirlzaflopin and call me in the morning.

  5. Thanks Cath! So far so good — the floppin’ and the washin’~

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