Recently we experienced what seems like the revenge of household appliances. As new suburbanites, we knew that things seem to happen in clusters, and we certainly experienced that recently. Our adventure started on a Saturday. Dan and I got up fairly early to get ready to join Devon at the Ultimate Frisbee National Championships in Sarasota. We wanted to be on the road by 9. As Dan was showering, I retrieved the bathroom area rugs from the laundry room where they’d been washed the day before. When I came back into the bathroom to put them down before Dan got out of the shower, I saw that the toilet was overflowing. Icky water was everywhere! I ran to get some junk towels to soak it up. I placed the towels around and Dan took the lid off the toilet tank to work on things to make it stop flowing. There was so much water that I ran back to get another armful of junk towels and a bucket. While I was getting them from the laundry room, I heard a loud CRASH. When I got back to the bathroom, I found a very unhappy husband picking up the tank lid, which was in about 30 pieces, and putting it into the trashcan! He had been trying to sop up the water and grabbed a towel that was behind him, not realizing that the lid was sitting up on the towel. When he pulled the towel, the lid went crashing. It was clearly not a superglue job. We worked for over an hour cleaning up the floor, unplugging the toilet and then cleaning the toilet and floor with Lysol! We finally got on the road to Sarasota about 10:30. And we now have a lidless toilet tank.
[We had a great day with Devon watching the Frisbee Championships. It is an intense sport! Played with a Frisbee, or more correctly called a disk, it is played on a soccer sized field and is part soccer, part basketball, part football and is self governed. There are official “observers” that are there to watch and settle disputes. Everyone knows the rules and “ref” themselves. There are terms for all the moves, passes and fouls. It’s a complete subculture! There were 30 fields set up (yes, 30 fields – it was a huge venue!), teams from all over the US and hundreds of people there. Devon’s team took 2nd in Florida and went to the Regional playoffs but didn’t place to participate in the Nationals. It was fun meeting much of Devon’s team and watching the games with Devon. We had to laugh because since the average player is between the ages of 21 and 32, we were the oldie goldies – definitely out of our demographic.]
Monday evening the wind up garden hose holder betrayed us. We have the kind that is attached to the wall and conveniently winds the hose up using a handle. It’s a great system that is very helpful to me. After several very dry and hot Florida days, I needed to water the various flowers and plants in the yard. I grabbed the nozzle and began to pull on it as I usually do. After a couple of feet, instead of freely rolling out, it stopped and the entire hose holder disintegrated. It split wide open, dropping chunks of plastic on the ground. I don’t know, sure seems like it should have latest more than 1 1/2 years!
We had just bought a 2nd one to install on the side of the house, so Dan had to use that one to replace the broken unit. That wasn’t what we’d planned and now we’re going to have to buy yet another one. Did I even need to say that?
The next day, Dan took a small thermos of coffee to work with him. He set it on one of the back seats in our van, next to a cream colored throw blanket that I keep in the car. When we arrived, we found that it had leaked all over the place…the seat and the throw were a mess. Dan sopped up as much as he could with paper towels. When we got home that evening, I washed the throw to get the coffee out.
The next morning I went to put it in the dryer. When I opened the washer I was greeted with the throw sitting in a washer full of soapy water. It hadn’t finished the wash cycle. I thought it was a little curious but I went ahead and started it again before I left for work. That evening I checked it and found the same thing! The throw was sitting in a machine full of water. My heart sunk because I knew that this probably meant an expensive service call. I couldn’t understand what the issue was, so I pulled a chair into the laundry room, started the machine and sat and watched it as it progressed through it’s wash cycle. But it didn’t get very far before it shut down. It just wouldn’t spin the water out. I was disgusted. I thought for sure this nice washer was supposed to last longer. I left the throw in the machine.
The next morning at breakfast I broke the bad news to Dan. The washer was broken and we needed to have a service call. Since Dan was leaving in 2 days on a week long ministry trip, we needed it fixed as soon as possible. After work that day, I got a bucket and fished the throw out. I rinsed it by hand in the kitchen sink and wrung it out (by hand) while Dan watched the machine NOT do its cycle. He went online and researched the issue and possible fix. After a while, he went in to work on it. I wasn’t sure what he could do since it is a front loading machine with electronic controls. And after a bit, he called me to say that he’d fixed it but I needed to come look at something. He discovered that there was a trap that he could access easily. When he pulled it out he found that it was jam packed and clogged with what looked like cotton batting. It was bigger than his fist.
We’re not sure where it came from. Could the wad of used coffee paper towels have been scooped up in the throw and washed with it? Dan swears he threw those paper towels away. If not that, could it have been that the throw, which was a fuzzy, cuddly, soft chenille one, lose all it’s fuzzy, cuddly softness? Did it slough off all its “chenille”? I’d washed it before with no issues. Yet this is the only conclusion we can come up with. There was white fuzz all over the washer drum. We ran it through another wash cycle and cleaned out the trap again. We washed some junk towels, trying to get the fuzzes out of the washer – we didn’t want our clothes to come out covered in white fuzz.
While all this was going on, I shook the throw out outside. The air was full of fuzz. The ground was covered with fuzz; it looked like it had snowed just in that little area of the grass. I put it in the dryer thinking that I’d gotten it all shaken out. About a third of the way through the dry cycle, I stopped it and checked the lint screen. It was so full I could hardly get it out of it’s slot. There was enough fuzz to make another throw! “Well,” I thought, “that is that, all the fuzz is gone.” I put it in the dryer again. To be safe, after another 10 or 15 minutes, I checked the lint screen again. To my utter amazement and shock, I found yet another full batch of white fuzz. The 2 together were as big as a basketball. I dried the junk towels and got a bit more fuzz. Now tell me, how can a throw blanket disintegrate so much just by washing it??!! It is now not so fuzzy and literally threadbare – and still losing fuzz everywhere it goes. I’ve since put it in the garbage.
At least the coffee stain came out.
And the washing machine works just fine now. (What a great husband I have! He figured it out and took care of it, sparing us an expensive service call!!) I since have heard several stories of people having major “fuzz” issues with their chenille throws, but none as dramatic (traumatic, astounding?) as ours.
The cycle of revenge didn’t end there.
A few days after the fuzz attack I was vacuuming the house. I have a love/hate relationship with this vacuum cleaner. I love it because it works well, does hard floors and carpet, has a special cleaning head for the couch and a good baseboard/corner nozzle. I hate it because after less than a year, the on/off switch busted. Dan was able to bypass the switch and hardwire it so that when I plugged it in, it turned on. To turn it off, I had to go unplug it. A hassle, yes, but it worked. Eventually Dan installed a simple on/off switch on the cord. That worked for a while but one day it “blew up” (with spits, sparks, smoke and melted plastic) in my hands. I’m thankful I was not shocked. Dan hardwired it again. On = plug it in, off = unplug it.
This particular day I was just finishing the day’s vacuuming when the whole hardwire section disintegrated in my hands. It completely separated. I was left holding the “hot” end! Again, it was just God’s grace that I was not electrocuted. It is now hardwired again.
All this doesn’t take into account the belts that have busted and left oily marks on the carpet, smoked and stunk up the house. And no, we aren’t yet going to get a new one – can’t afford it.
……And the ice maker is chugging along. Ice makers are not supposed to chug. Dan has become an experienced ice maker repairman. We have a stand alone ice maker. I guess our many years in the tropics taught us to really appreciate and enjoy our ice! He’s replaced the cutting wires several times. He’s replaced the 2 different pumps a couple of times. We’ve learned that the chugging means that another pump needs to be replaced very soon.
I’m so thankful for a handy husband!! I couldn’t make it without him!
Thanksgiving is coming very soon. My prayer is that no more appliances will get it into their heads to act up, go on the fritz or otherwise go kaput. With 19 people expected for lunch that day, I need everything to hold up its end of the deal!