What could go wrong?

Two weeks ago we lost the use of our dishwasher for a few days because the outlet tube was clogged. The repair guy took five minutes to unclog it.

Yesterday morning I tried to move diapers from the washer to the dryer only to discover the cycle hadn’t completed, and the readout said F-21. This has happened before, so I restarted the cycle and walked away. Ten minutes later, it had stopped again. This washer locks the door until the cycle completes, so I couldn’t take the diapers out. I couldn’t set it to just spin. I tried six times, and always the same.

The repair guy takes five days to arrive, by which time all the diapers would be moldy. After some poking around online, I downloaded the super-secret authorized repair manual that the repair guys use. Ten minutes after that, I phoned my Patient Husband.

“I’m going to unlock the front door,” I said, “and if I don’t call you back in fifteen minutes, call the police and have them do a wellness check to make sure I haven’t electrocuted myself.”

He said, “Are you sure this is a good idea?”

I said, “What could go wrong?”


Factory-driven screws holding the access panel are flush with the floor and driven in at an angle. No way to access unless I could phase through the floor. After struggling for five minutes, I found a 2×4 and propped up the washer, and then after that all three screws came off easily.


“Unscrew the filter cap,” says the manual, showing someone delicately turning it with two fingers. My first five tries, I couldn’t budge it at all. I had to unscrew the cap with two hands, and even at that, it moved veeeeerrrrrry slowly.

Finally, with the pan under the filter cap, I was ready to go. “How much water is in there?” my Patient Husband had said to me, and I’d replied with, “There can’t be more than a cup or two,” but at the same time, I felt inside, Two gallons. And before I finished unscrewing the filter cap, I thought, “I’ll just go get a deeper pan for this.” God looks out for fools, drunks, the United States of America, and me.


After I turned the filter cap enough, a thin stream of foul-smelling water started coming out. That’s when I spotted a plastic bowl beside the washing machine, and I thought, “I’ll fill that and dump it into the toilet instead of letting the pan fill.” See the above line about God? I filled that bowl twelve times before the water finally finished coming out. It took fifteen minutes! There were ounce markings on the side of the bowl. Ten ounces per filling. Plus water in the pan. I estimate all told, about two gallons.

With my Patient Husband on the phone, I said, “I’m kind of scared to pull it out.” But then I did.

Net result of the filter-trap clean-out: (Sorry, no pictures)

1 pencil, snapped in five pieces, metal binding sheared off to the side

1 silly band, holding together this big gob of filter-pudding

72 cents (two quarters, two dimes, two pennies)

1 tie-tack

1 clothing tag, wound in with the silly band

filter pudding, which we shall not describe

Reversing the process had its own perils, but this blog entry is long enough. The washing machine works. I am an appliance repair rock star.

Which is a good thing, because today, I need to unclog the coffee maker. Go me.


  1. cricketB

    Go Jane!

  2. Illya

    Way to go!
    Talk about thinking outside the box! Great courage!Amazing!

  3. MNdragonlady

    You are made of win. Not just for fixing your washing machine, but for your description. Love it. Thanks for the pick-me-up.

  4. loriendil

    Go go Gadget, Jane!

  5. K.M. Weiland

    Probably a good thing there are no pix to accompany this post. Sounds graphic! Oh well, life’s never dull, is it?

  6. MelRedcap

    Well, instead of paying a lot of money for a repairman, you made a profit on the job! 😀

    1. philangelus

      Do I owe taxes on my windfall? 🙂