Friday, April 29, 2011

And the Radio Just Keeps on Playin' all those Songs about Rain

Nothing is ever cut and dry with me. It's usually grab the scissors, they're too dull, get a knife, the blade breaks, find a utility knife and there's no blade so I saw at it for an hour with a very dull saw blade that is hanging around on the basement floor and get it apart just in time for a huge flood to come and get whatever is supposed to be dried sopping wet. Okay, so I don't really know what the whole, "cut and dry," thing means, but I'm assuming it's something that's simple and straight forward. In any case, nothing is ever easy.

Almost the entire last week sets the example that cut and dry and I are not compatible. I see you there rolling your eyes and thinking I'm being a bit dramatic. I suppose I could be. I've been known to tip the drama scale from time to time, but in this instance I believe it's warranted.

Sunday was Easter. It rained. A lot. I'm not talking this nice little spring rain that brings forth nice little flowers and birdies are still singing happy tunes throughout as you frolic happily through dandelions that have gone to seed, (that's probably not a good idea seems they would stick to you in any amount of moisture) I'm talking heavens to Betsy killed a cat, yo (if you have ever conversed with me face to face and something is beyond belief, that's the phrase I use) raining. A torrential downpour that would make Noah sit up and take notice. It was the beginning of numerous ark jokes, countless rain song posts and days and days worth of rain. When this much rain falls in such a short time, there is runoff. And where did this runoff decide to land? All up in my basement.

Some may have been overjoyed at the thought of an indoor pool at the bottom of their basement steps. Why wouldn't they be? A chance to do those laps you've been putting off, or float around on a mat while sipping tropical drinks from a coconut with a little umbrella, but not me! I'm the pessimistic type sometimes. Indoor pools are cool and all, but frankly, I prefer to have hot water and no fear of it reaching the fuse box. I was secretly terrified that the water would rise to the fuse box. I'm not sure what kind of havoc that would wreak, but yo, I did not want to find out. The 14 inch deep water was still several feet from reaching that point, but little miss worst case scenario likes to rear her ugly head from time to time.

Monday morning rolled around and the water had not receded in the least. Not a single solitary drop had dissipated. We discussed it (one of us in tears that nearly matched the strength of the afore mentioned downpour) and decided buying a pump would be the best course of action. Tractor Supply was awesome!! We bought a little pump, some water hose and an extension cord. Oh, how my spirits lifted! This was going to work, I just knew it! We'd have a nice dry basement by the day's end and all would be well. After getting this nifty new pump home, put the hose on it, ran it out the basement window and got everything ready to plug it in. The moment of truth! This was going to work! This is awesome! Happiness and woots filled my mind in crazy tendrils while grabbing the plugs to get it started. Let's do this!! I smiled as I plugged it in, certain that this was the answer! Nothing happened. Nothing at all. All was silent. What the dog poop in the mornin' (another one of my rather insane exclamations)! the extension cord is leeching power. Let's plug it up directly. We repositioned, plugged it in and nothing. Well poop. This isn't helping us any. Reading the instructions told us nothing that we didn't already know. An exchange was in order. Adam went back to Tractor Supply and exchanged it. This one worked. We watched for a few minutes as water blasted from the hose. Woot!! The water is going to go down in no time now! An hour went by and I measured the water. It had gone down 3/4 of an inch. This was going to take forever!!

Just then my dad swooped in to save the day! He showed up with this massive piece of machinery that had to weigh every bit of 100 pounds and looked as if it had been tripped over by dinosaurs. I was skeptical. After all, this day was full of roller coaster likeness and I was almost sure this was going to be a big ol' freefall downward. It first. After about 45 minutes of fiddling with it, priming it, priming it again, is there enough gas, what the heck does this do, which is in and which is out, we got it running. And boy, oh boy did it run! Gallons and gallons of water lurched through the hose and down the back yard. Oh, happy day! Happy dances and more woots! Water was disappearing from the basement in leaps and bounds! Awesomeness! rained. Oh, did it rain! It rained like pouring water out of a boot. And when it rains there is runoff. And where did this runoff go? All up in my basement. I'm not sure where my dad's patience came from. Everything that had been pumped out was back in. He may have just been holding back because his oldest daughter was crying like a 2 year old who lost her favorite dolly. Either way, he held fast. It was pretty amazing really. Until about 6 that night we pumped water out of the basement with that old pump then we used what we have since called, "LittlePump." The next morning, the water was gone!! One fight many more to go? Ah, that remained to be seen!

I'm a huge fan of major appliances. Next to [most] people and my cat, they're the best things ever. They cook, they wash dishes, they keep things cool or frozen. What's not to like----when they work. That morning, I remained cautiously optimistic that the appliances in the basement hadn't been destroyed beyond compare. First the washer. Saying a small prayer, I turned the knob and pulled it forward. Nothing. My heart sank. We had just bought this washer mere days before the flood and I had been able to use it for very nearly 48 hours. Why, oh why wouldn't it bring forth the beautiful spray of water that had immensely impressed me so recently? Maybe it was stopped up. I pressed the button and turned it to the spin cycle. Silence greeted me and fear gripped my heart. the washer was dead. One small failure, we can get past this. On to the dryer. Atop the dryer, placed under the detergent was a black cord. I studied it for a second and then laughed to myself as I plugged the washer's cord into the socket. The washer then began to do the absolutely amazing job that it was meant to do! Success!

The dryer, on the other hand, didn't work. I made sure it was plugged in, set the timer and pressed the button. I was only greeted with a quiet hum. I opened the door, turned the drum, (drum? barrel? spinny thing?) and tried again. This time, not only did it hum, but it emitted some sort of funky burning smell. I decided to leave it as it was. Maybe it just needed to dry out. Maybe it was dead. Maybe space aliens had landed sometime during the night and implanted some sort of not working device all up in it's innards. At worst, the dryer had gone to that big junk heap in the sky. At best, it was on hiatus. Moving along to the water heater.

I hate lighting pilot lights. It's not that I'm afraid of gas or the whole crouching down thing to get it lit, it's just that I completely stink at it. I can light a pilot light one out of about 64 tries. I wish this was an exaggeration. I wasn't too surprised when I couldn't get it to light. Adam could try again later.

I am hard pressed to let things just go as they are. If there was any way on God's beautiful (albeit muddy at the moment) green earth that I could get the dryer to work, I was going to. Wednesday morning I set my sights on Google and didn't come up for air for at least half an hour. Through site after site after dreadful, not-so-helpful site I combed, searching for an answer. Finally, I found it! Aha! I will take it apart and see what I can see. The schematics studied, screwdriver in hand, I made my way to the basement. According to my research it could be the motor, the blower wheel, the timer thingy wiring or the bushings (?) needed oiled. First, I needed to get the top screws off and see what I could see. The first two screws went remarkably well. I knew they needed a Phillips head, so I was pretty much set there. After I unscrewed those, the little side parts were pretty much supposed to pop off, or that's how I understood it anyway. Remember the cut and dry thing? Yeah, that decided to play a role in the disassembling of the dryer. Nothing came off anywhere. didn't quite work out so well, let's just go ahead and check on the timer wiring. Grabbing a pair of pliers (these were bolt-like and I wasn't sure I had the correct size, so I thought pliers would work best) walked to the back of the dryer. That's about the moment I decided that no one should ever buy used appliances and not check out the boltage before hand. Yeah, I'm not sure if boltage is a word, but it fits here, so I'm using it. There was every type of bolt and screw known to civilized man holding the back plates on. Screws, both Phillips and flathead, screws that took hex keys, and one screw that wasn't much more than a nail. Also, two bolts, one of which I could use a flathead screwdriver on. Ahhh, but you see, I wasn't in possession of a flathead screwdriver. I had several wrenches, the pliers, and various other tools that were absolutely useless in this case, but no flathead screwdriver. Three trips upstairs and a broken butter knife later, I had something that worked. It was something called a Miss Army knife. It's equipped with perfume vial, a mirror, a corkscrew, a hair pin, a small light an ink pen and much to my delight, a flathead screwdriver! Way too much time later I'm looking at a bunch of stuff that I have no idea what is. The wiring looked fine. There was a bit of dirt that had been left behind from the flood on the floor of the dryer, but other than that, I could see nothing wrong. Back to the front. I studied for a few moments wondering how the heck to remove the bottom panel. The screws were out, but the sides wouldn't pop off like they were supposed to. I suppose I could have gone back to Google, but at this point it just seemed a hassle. I hadn't bookmarked the only useful link anyway and I thought it would just take up more time. I tried to lift the top. It came up, but only slightly. Hmm, that's not going to work. I crouched down and felt around the front bottom panel. I pulled gently and low and behold! It just came off in my hands. No screws were required to remove it. I sighed and wondered who the heck came up with that dang schematic and for the first time since I had began this little project, realized that that may have just been the wrong schematic. It did look like my dryer though, but I guess a lot of dryers look about the same. Regardless, I could see the motor. I ran my finger along the floor of the dryer. Dust, with only a minute amount of moisture rested there. I shone a flashlight to the motor. Well, poop. The motor seriously looked like crap. Junk kinda dangled from it and I was pretty sure the color was a bit off. I decided letting it dry out would be the best idea.

That was about 3 days ago. The pilot light has since been lit, the washer works like a dream and there still isn't water in the basement. Unfortunately the dryer is probably a loss. After letting it dry it still doesn't start.

I suppose I could be sad about the dryer. I could mope and pout and just generally be emo about it, but I'm not. Sometimes we have to admit our defeats and just celebrate the victories. After all, the washer works, we have hot water and the basement is dry (for the most part, that is a story for another time). If the only loss we took is the dryer, well, I'm okay with that. After all, 3 out of 4 ain't bad. Nope, it ain't bad at all.

1 comment:

  1. This reads easy and was fun. I'm remembering what my first college creative writing teacher told me...whose store is this? Even though you're detailing it and it essentially happened to you, I think it's really the basement's story. I would love to see it told from his or is the basement a her...perspective...maybe I should say that... I would love to see this written from the basement's perspective; I mean, how might it have felt to be inundated with water, to have a presence that I am used to, that being you be so worried over me over the potential for me to come to harm or to cause harm... that kinda thing.. you write so well.. I feel like a child asking if you'll tell me a story :)