Minnie must think I’m mental. Every once in a while she asks me to do somethin’ so easy I figure it must be a little test just to see if I’m mental.
The other day, she comes up the basement stairs after puttin’ on a load of wash and says – I gotta run over Joan’s to help her get ready for the baby’s birthday party (that’d be Cyril and Joan’s daughter Cathy’s little fella, Little Jim). I’m gonna leave the basement door open, she said, so you can keep an ear out for the washer. When you hear it stop, go down and throw the clothes in the dryer. Do ya think you can handle that?
Yes dear, I says. (Which is what I say when what I mean is, I’m not mental and ya don’t have to ask with a snit in your face.)
Good, she says. Now I already set the dial for the timer so all you gotta do is throw the clothes in and press the button.
Yes dear, I says.
Good, she says again. And remember, it’s the dryer, not the washer, so you don’t need to put detergent in.
Ohhh, I only did that one time! I said, and I told ya then it’s because I wasn’t wearin’ my glasses and the ball game was on commercial!
Anyway, just don’t forget, she says.
I sighed a sigh that was more like a huff. Yes dear, I said, and off she goes.
Now, I didn’t really forget about it exactly. I remembered, but it was just much later. What happened was I was watchin’ one of them funniest videos shows where every second guy gets nailed in the crotch with somethin’ (it cracks me right up every time). Anyways, I went out to the kitchen to get a drink of pop and it was right drafty.
Who in the hell left the basement door open, I said to myself, and that’s when I remembered I was supposed to go change the wash about two hours earlier.
Piece of cake, I muttered under my breath. I’ll show her I’m not mental.
I opened the lid of the washer, reached in to get the clothes out and got soaked up to my elbows in water. The damn washer was filled to the brim with water and the clothes sorta floatin’ in it.
What the…?? I pulled out the dial to turn it on again – nothin’. I turned the dial around again – nothin’. I pressed every button and turned every dial but there wasn’t a kick out of the washer.
So I figured I could just haul the clothes out of the water and maybe put them in the dryer for twice as long or somethin’. But when I hauled out a pair of jeans, all soakin’ wet, they weighed about thirty pounds and they were drippin’ and slippin’ all over the place, so when they dropped back into the water, I just let them plop there.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. I don’t know anything about how to fix a washer, so I get on the horn to Cyril.
I called over Cyril and Joan’s and just lucky Cyril answered.
Listen! I says. Don’t let on to Minnie that it’s me you’re talkin’ to.
Ohhh-kaaaaay, he says right suspicious.
I told him all about the washer and how it was full of water and everything else. He said, it could be that the drain hose is clogged, but a lot of times what happens is, there’s a problem with the lid switch.
What in the hell is the lid switch? I says to him.
There’s usually a little plastic clip underneath the lid that slides into a slot in the washer, he says. There’s a switch in the slot and the clip presses down on it and that tells the washer the lid is closed. If that clip breaks off or gets bent or somethin’, the switch doesn’t get pressed and the washer will shut itself off, for safety.
So how do I fix that? I asked him.
Have a look at the washer, he says, and if it stopped right at the start of a spin cycle, the clip for that lid switch is probably broken, because the washer won’t go into the spin cycle if there’s any chance you got the lid open. So just stick somethin’ down the slot – like a nail or a screwnail or somethin’ and when you feel the nail hit the switch, keep ‘er pressed down and turn the washer on again, and it should work, he says.
So I hang up and go downstairs and fish a drywall screw out of a bucket. I open the washer lid and sure enough, the little plastic clip, shaped like a spaceship, is broke right off sideways. So I stick the nail down the slot and feel the button get pressed down. I pull the switch on the washer and BAM – she starts right up. The twirly thing in the middle starts goin’ round and round and round, spinnin’ like crazy.
So I try to go back upstairs, but as soon as the screwnail stops pressin’ the switch, the washer stops again. And that’s when I realize I gotta stand there holdin’ the screw to keep the damn thing goin’. So I stuck it back in and started it up again, and I was just hopin’ it would finish before Minnie got home.
Of course, that’s when I heard the truck pull into the driveway. Then I heard Minnie walk in the kitchen. Then I heard her open one of the drawers, and then she was comin’ down over the stairs.
Hello dear – I said, but she cut me off.
Here, she says, holdin’ out a butterknife – Cyril said to tell you ya could jam the switch down with this and then ya won’t have to stand there like a knob.
I let out another big huff. Yes dear, I said.