Monday, May 28, 2007

Oh, that's where they are

Well, several mysteries were solved tonight.

I was in the midst of a load of laundry when it happened. My beloved relatively new front-loader malfunctioned. There was beeping, and the numbers that normally show how much time is left in the cycle started flashing "F-02."

F-02? What the F does that mean?

I shrugged it off and cleared the cycle, and told it to rinse and drain. It did. Whew. Crisis averted.

Until it did it again on the next load. Uh oh. Better call in the heavy hitter.

M was not too pleased to be brought in on this particular project, because it involved two things he doesn't like to work on: plumbing, and relatively new appliances. I won't lie...there were some expletives involved, and a fair amount of griping.

We got out the manual. F-02 means that the washer isn't draining properly. Well, duh. There's a boatload of water in there, swishing around with our clothes, and it's not leaving when it ought.

So he checked the drain pipe coming off the back of the washer (per the owner's manual instructions). Nothin'. Okay. Hunh. Well, let's try clearing the cycle and running it again, like I had done the first time. Nope. Not workin'.

At this point we're both tired, and frustrated, and becoming increasing pissed off at the possibility we might have to call our good buddies at Sears.

We pull the sopping wet clothes out, and I start rinsing them manually in the sink. That's a load of fun on Memorial Day evening, let me tell you. M began inspecting the washer more closely, this time inside the drum.

He pulled out a little sticker. Looks shiny. Yep, it's an official MLB sticker from a Cardinals shirt we had recently washed. WTF? Damn MLB. Like the fifteen tags I cut off the sucker weren't enough, they gotta go and stick something on. Only problem is, there were two of those shirts. Where is the other sticker? Great, now we gotta tear into the whole washer to find the other one, because we're betting that's what caused the drain malfunction. It's stuck somewhere and blocking the flow of water.

M showed me where he found it in the drum, and gestured towards the rubber gasket at the front of the drum that seals the door during wash cycles. I don't remember what he said, but for grins I tugged at the gasket and peeked inside.

Oh. My. God.

There were no less than 9 of Zoe's socks stuck in there. And by the looks of 'em, for awhile. A few were from when she was a newborn. There was also one of her weensy wash cloths, and a couple of my peds. Oh yeah, and one of M's Chapsticks. The socks that had been in there for awhile are beyond hope. They're pretty darn disgusting. I can salvage the peds and some of the new refugees, though. The Chapstick was a total loss.

So, this evening's experience was enlightening on several levels.

1. It feels fantastic when one can fix one's own appliance, without paying through the nose and dealing with incompetent boobs from Sears.

2. We now have an answer to "where do socks disappear to?"

3. I had to admit that M is right when he can't find something and proclaims, "This house eats things!" Well, it doesn't actually eat things so much as chew on them for awhile. Like, months. Or a year even.

4. The F-02 code means, "Check the F-ing gasket, you Flipping moron."

Washer is performing perfectly again (we're keeping our fingers crossed), and we're going to sleep soundly. For those of you with front loaders, I suggest you check that front gasket every once in awhile. Who knows what you'll find. Would have been better to find some cash in there, you know, like when you pull out your winter coat for the first time of the season and discover a fiver in the pocket (yeah! free mocha money!), but at this point I'll settle for clean clothes and a happy husband.


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