Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Home Repair Drama

It is the curse of old vehicles and used appliances - something is always in need of repair.

This winter seemed worse than usual.

First it was the oven. Days before Christmas and a few weeks till my due date, I realized that the oven would heat but not get fully hot. After trying to bake muffins for 45 minutes, I finally decided I had a problem.

It is probably no surprise that I use my oven frequently so Ed quickly called the repairman and left a message. After a week and still no word from the repairman, Ed's sleuth work found that one oven coil wasn't working. He ordered the part, it arrived a few days later, and with a few minutes of Ed's time, I had an operating oven in time to welcome our new baby.

A few weeks later Ed spent a Saturday cutting wood. When he got home, he said he had a close call. Of course my mind conjured up visions of accidents including chain saws and falling trees. But he was smiling so I figured it wasn't too bad.

The truck's alternator, the part that charges the battery had went bad. Ed knew the battery wasn't charging well so when he dropped off the first load of wood at our house he had not stopped the truck. He didn't think it would be able to start it again if he turned off the truck. By the time he got back to the woods, the turn signal wasn't even working. When he turned off the truck, the battery was completely dead.

My brother Eric "just happened" to be cutting wood that day too. And of all my brothers, Eric is the one you want to have with you if you are repairing a vehicle. And they were cutting wood right beside a junk yard. Ed and Eric walked down to the junk yard, bought an alternator that fit, and Eric had tools in his truck to install it.

Twenty dollars and a few minutes later, they were back to cutting wood and Ed had his truck fixed. Not only did he save a large amount of money compared to taking the truck to his normal mechanic - the truck could have left him sit on his way to work or some other inconvenient time.

Next to pitch a fit was the washing machine. I think I could live without almost any appliance except a washing machine.

A stomach bug had struck and the bathroom rug was caught in the line of fire. I shoved the rug in the washer but an hour later, when I checked the washer, it was full of water. I figured something had become unbalanced from the rug and pulled it out, attempting to spin the water out of the washer. The washer feebly spinned once and quit again. I bailed out the water with a cup and tried again with no success. I gave up and emailed a friend whose husband is an appliance repairman. From a description of the problem, he dignosied the problem as a clog in the drain line and told Ed how to clean it out.

I won't pretend Ed had fun. There is an amazing amount of gunk in a washing machine drain line. (Aren't you glad I'm not sharing photos!) The clog culprit was a nursing pad. Oops! I was thankful we had not had to call a repairman for more reasons than just the cost savings.

But the laundry problems weren't over. (I suppose they won't ever be over until heaven.)  A few weeks later I went down to the basement and sniffed. Yuck. Something smelled burnt. It was not exactly a smoke smell, more like something charred. I looked around for the source and decided it was coming from the dryer. The clothes were permeated with the odor.

When Ed smelled the clothing he said it smelled like burnt hair. Burnt hair? Could a lint ball have caught somewhere and caused such a smell?

Once again Ed pulled out his tool bag. This time he had the dryer unscrewed into many pieces before he could get back to the heating element of the dryer.

And there he found a mouse.

Or what used to be a mouse. Maybe he was searching for a warm home this winter. Now he was well-toasted, crisp- fried, char-roasted. Ick!

And now you are really glad I'm not sharing pictures.

We had to run the dryer for a while to burn of the remaining odor. I was now glad my laundry was in the basement depths. At least we didn't have to smell it in our living quarters.

Maybe you don't think these stories have point. But maybe it will encourage another homemaker who is watching her appliances self-destruct.

Thank God who allowed breakdowns at perfect times to be easily fixed with minimal time or money.

And thank God for a husband who battles washer gunk and charred mouse.

(By the way, are any of you headed to the CHAP convention on Friday? I'd love to meet you, so if our paths cross, come over and say "Hi." I'll be the one with the cute baby!)


  1. You are blessed to have a handy hubby, I'm thankful for my handy hubby too!

  2. Oh my! You have had lots of mechanical problems lately. But so blessed to have help right when you need it from all of the sources God has provided for you...and a handy husband.

  3. I think appliances get their collective heads together and plan out their nefarious campaigns with malice aforethought. I blogged on this awhile back myself:

    Glad to hear I'm not the only one that has faced down the electronic hordes.



  4. God bless husbands :) Not sure what we'd do without them sometimes. My poor guy fixed numerous breaks in the plumbing this winter by crawling underneath the house with nothing but a flash light and little room to breath. Next was the car, the electric in the house, and untold other numbers of winter adventures. He did it all without one complaint.

  5. Your stories make me laugh. Oh my. So sorry. And so nice you kept your sense of humor through all that!!

  6. Funny about the nursing pad! Linford himself pulled the same thing out of our washing machine drain pipe :( NASTY!

  7. Thanks for sharing! In my work with people needing a leg up, I often hear "Why meee??" I keep telling them "these things happen to everyone!!"

  8. Great true stories. Thanks, it is nice to know we all have our appliance breakdowns and such. My sewer line out has flooded the basement twice. I put down $20 of root killer and use MORE water per instructions for flushing solids and so far so good. I get more exercise checking the basement two times a day now. Friend snaked it out twice for me. I just hope that is done with. Washer needed belts or something, dryer got a new part so it can tumble again. Hope things run well for a while!

  9. I had a similar issue where we had a furnace problem that required multiple furnace repair calls (thankfully under warranty), 5 plumbing leaks, a broken ceiling fan, a washing machine leak, and a van problem all within a month! When I called the plumber the receptionist said "oh no, not you again!"... I had to laugh. Its enough to make me want to not have any appliances, indoor plumbing and central heat, and rely so much on modern things! :)

  10. I was reading this just last night, thinking it's just really helpful for us to know we're not alone in our trials. Wouldn't you know it - today I was heating up the oven to bake some beautiful bread when the bake element just broke itself to pieces. I sent the dough home with a friend to bake and eat herself, but she brought back the loaf all warm and delicious. So thank God for generous friends, too!

  11. You all certainly handled challenging situations well. In my apartment, we've dealt with so many breakdowns in the past few months that whenever a new thing goes wrong, my husband and I start laughing. Once things get to the point of absurdity, they actually become more bearable!

  12. O my! The washer made me laugh :) Mine has eaten socks,nails, and other small things we found when it doesn't spin the water out :)

  13. oh, these stories made me laugh! All those clever guys who fix things - what would we do without them!?

  14. I'm in the same boat and so thankful for a handy husband and a providing Father!


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