I don't like to ask for help. This goes beyond the old conflict between self-reliance and allowing others the blessings of service. When I need to consult a doctor or mechanic, I'm always afraid that he will blame me for my problem. I prepare my defenses for narrow questions and contemptuous looks, but they rarely come. Most professionals are pretty nice.
Most. My fears are not completely unfounded.
When we graduated from coin laundry to our own appliances, we had trouble with the dryer right away. It just wouldn't work sometimes. Finally I called in a repairman. Dandelionslayer happened to be home when he came. The repairman would not even look at me. "She must not clean out the lint," he told my husband. Which I did, faithfully. Having blamed the problem on me, the repairman went his way.
We called in again a few weeks later. A different repairman correctly diagnosed the dryer as defective. He brought us a new one, which has served us well. Years later, it started making terrible noises. So I called for repair. The repairman did a good job, but wasn't impressed with the problem. A piece of paper had fallen down the lint trap, into the fan. "This is a pretty expensive piece of paper," he told me when presenting me with the bill. But the manual that came with the dryer didn't teach me how to solve the problem myself. Neither did the repairman.
When a pencil fell into the same space more recently, I skipped the yellow pages and let my fingers walk around the internet. There I learned how to open up the back of the dryer and clean out the mass of lint, dust, and more than one pencil that had collected there, way out of normal reach. I felt powerful.
When I was preparing to can peaches this summer, the dishwasher started leaking. Gushing, all over the floor. We gave the dishwasher a good cleaning, and it seemed to work fine. Until I was ready to can tomatoes. The dishwasher was still pretty clean. I ordered a replacement gasket, and we washed by hand until it came. Once it arrived, we popped it in under the guidance of a video expert, and the dishwasher hasn't leaked since.
While we were waiting for the dishwasher gasket, the clothes washer quit draining. (Why do these things all happen at once?) Again, the manual didn't offer any solutions. But the internet did. Videos showed us how to take the cabinet off and test the lid switch for continuity. The lid switch was the problem, so we ordered a new one at a fraction of a repair call price. I almost did ask some friends for help with finishing the load that was sitting soggily in the washer, and I'm sure they would have been happy to let me bring my burdens over. But then we figured out how to hotwire the switch, and got through the two laundry days before the new switch arrived.
As our appliances age, parts become less available. Things just don't last forever. During the washers saga, I also took my favorite sewing machine in to cure its noisiness. I was basically told to take it home and make it comfortable. I'm far more attached to that machine than any of the washers or dryer, since I've had it much longer and done much more interesting things with it. I grieve. But I am grateful for the resources that empower me to fix the things I can.
What have you fixed lately?
Parable of the Pit
11 months ago