I was a “stay-at-home” mom for 20 years. Now, let me preface that with I was a “working” stay-at-home mom. What I mean by that, is that even thought I “stayed home”, I always worked at something. Whether it was reading books for Doubleday Books, or working in our church nursery, or making and selling crafts, or photography…I was always working! I just never did it 40 hours full time! It seemed that my husband’s salary was never quite enough and I always had to so do something to make ends meet. I also home schooled my children, which in and of itself is a full time job!
What a shock it was to my system when my husband asked for a divorce and he told me I’d have to get a job. The last time I had worked a real job, the only computer in the company was as big as the room which held it! Thankfully, God opened the door for me to work at the place where I have worked for the past 4 years, and it is a blessing. That took care of that part! There were just so many other parts I was not prepared for.
Not long after my husband moved out, our oven went out. No, it didn’t go out on a date…it went OUT! Broken. Kaput! No longer heated. No longer turned on. Not only that, but I have two ovens and whatever was wrong with the one, was wrong on BOTH ovens! To repair it would cost over $250, and I just didn’t have $250! Needless to say, I learned to cook things in very creative ways for 2 years! Did you know you can make pizza and cookies on the grill?!? Well, I’m here to tell you that you can!
There are so many things that I took for granted having a husband that made a decent income. Let me preface this with the fact that my husband was NOT handy!! He could do very minor stuff, but anything major required a call to a repairman! But at least, we usually had the money to pay for the repairs! Now that I was on my own, that kind of money was just not laying around. Especially now that I support my children all on my own!
The next thing to go was our garage door! Thankfully, when it happened, my neighbor happened to be outside, and he was able to open it for me long enough to get the cars out! I had to call a repairman and $175 later, we were in business! (Thank God, I had just had a portrait session that week that covered that little expense).
Then, it was frozen pipes in my bathroom after an especially frigid winter night. Thankfully, again, my neighbor came over, cut a nice little hole in my wall and placed a heater by the hole. With his instructions to watch it carefully in case the pipes burst, he went off to have his dinner. So, I sat in front of the little hole in the wall until I heard a psssssssssssssssssst sound and felt water spraying on my face! I raced downstairs and got the water turned off before any damage was done to walls (except the hole!) and the carpet. Once again, some friends stepped in and one repaired the pipes, while one repaired the wall! (And I stuffed the wall with insulation when we discovered there had been no insulation in that part of the wall! Now it’s so insulated, I dare it to freeze again!)
Two weeks ago, my middle daughter called to me from the laundry room—“Mom, something’s wrong with the washing machine!” My first thought was “Oh, no, Lord….I just don’t have the money to repair the washing machine now!” I went in there and sure enough, the washing machine was not draining. Instead of calling a repairman, I did what any sane person would do—-I sat down at the computer and googled the words “why won’t my washing machine drain”. The first thing one of the articles said was to check the lock on the lid. It said to push down in the hole with a pencil to see if you feel any resistance, because you should. So, I got my trusty pencil and went and pushed in the hole…the whole lock fell right into the water in the machine! Guess I had just diagnosed the problem!!
I went back to my computer and now googled “how to replace the lid lock on a Whirlpool washing machine”….are you aware that you can google just about any problem, and there is a youtube answer?!?! It’s amazing! I immediately found a youtube video that showed how to replace the darn thing! Feeling a little anxious about my abilities to take apart a whole washing machine, I decided to call my repairman to see what it would cost for him to repair it: the answer—-about $150! My anxiety began to melt away! I went to Amazon.com, and found the exact part. I found a few for under $5 but all the reviews said the part only lasted a couple of washes. I finally found another seller that had the part for $11.20 (which included shipping!) that had all good reviews. Bought the part. Now it was time to wait for the part to come!
Now those of you that know me, know that I have the inability to wait for anything! It is just not in my make up. Even though I knew the part wouldn’t be in for a few days, I decided to go ahead and remove the old part, just to see if this was going to be as easy as the guy on youtube made it look! I had that baby apart in no time!! It was THAT easy!! I think it actually took me longer to figure out how to put the screwdriver thingy together to remove one of the nuts! Now, the washing machine was laying open in the laundry room. Can I just tell you that the insides of a washing machine get disgustingly filthy?!? I figured I might as well clean it out really good since it was already all apart! I guess all that water sloshing around, sloshes all the detergent and fabric softener up over the edges and it gets caked on the drum—at one point I was using a putty knife to remove the gunk. Thankfully, since it was detergent and softener, it at least smelled good!
Finally, the day arrived that the part came!! Could I do this? Could I really make a $150 washing machine repair? I laid all my stuff out, and although I had already watched it 15 times and had committed it to memory, I watched the youtube video one more time. I was ready for this operation! Things went like clockwork. I got it all installed, and then went to put the outside of the machine back over the drum….I couldn’t figure out how to get the dumb thing to fit back together! Are you kidding me?! I came this far, and now I will need to call a repairman to put it back together for me?!?! I wondered how much THAT would cost?! I just saw those dollar signs floating around in my head and decided I could do this! I dimly remembered the guy on youtube saying something about putting your foot at the base of the machine and tilting it. I tried it–VOILA! Success! Two more nuts and I was home free! I screwed those nuts on and it was back together! Now the moment of truth….I turned the machine on, let the water load (I had drained it days before with a 7-11 Slurpee cup–Oh, thank Heaven for 7-11) and waited while it agitated. Did you know that 6 minutes is a really long time when you’re waiting for 6 minutes to pass?!? It is. The sixth minute passes. It stops agitating and…..NOTHING!! Crap! Apparently it was something more than just the lid lock. I race to my computer and do what any normal person would do…no, I don’t google it, I put a notice on Facebook—What is wrong with my machine now?!?! Anyone?!?!?!
I go back through all the steps again, thinking if there was something I’d missed. Oh, did I reattach that little thing that snapped together?! I can’t remember! That’s got to be it! I race to the laundry room with tools in hand. I take it all apart again–dang! I did snap the little thingy together. I then get the idea that maybe something just got loosened, so I start pushing things in, making sure they are tight, all while praying and cursing the devil. I close it all back up again, this time, putting my foot along at the base of the machine and once again, two nuts and I’m home free. I twirl the knob around to the six minutes again. Wait for it….wait for it….YES!!!!! The tub drains and the machine finishes the wash!! I begin to glow. I begin to holler–I FIXED IT!! IT WORKS!!
I don’t think I had ever been that proud of myself since the days I pushed out 7lb babies! I fixed my own washing machine—ALL BY MYSELF! (And the guy on youtube!) If this time on my own has taught me anything, it’s that I am stronger, smarter and handier than I ever thought I was. I hope that if nothing else, my girls learn that they CAN do anything they set their minds to! Or that…….just two more nuts and they’re home free!! 🙂