Humility, Thy Name is Level

Monday morning started off like most others: I grumbled at the alarm clock while thankful it was a work at home day, padded downstairs, made breakfast, started a load of laundry and settled in with coffee as I flipped through my work email.

An hour later, I remembered the laundry and went down to move it into the dryer. I discovered that everything was soaking wet. The water had drained out, but apparently, the spin cycle hadn’t really spun anything.

I fiddled with it and tried the spin cycle again. Nothing happened. And again. The motor was running fine, but the agitator wasn’t spinning. I started Googling and called my dad. We were able to guess it might be the belt – after all, there had to be a belt that somehow connects the motor to the agitator, right?

In the meantime, I wrung out, by hand, an entire load of mostly pajamas, sweats and other heavy clothes, squeezing nearly five gallons of icy cold water into a bucket.

Wednesday night, I tried to get the screws off the back of the panel to open up the machine and find the belt. I hoped the belt had merely slipped off and could be repositioned, or, barring that, had snapped and could be replaced. A couple of the screws were rusted on and stuck, so I called Dad again. He agreed to stop by today.

My parents came over this morning, tool box in tow. After figuring out the panel situation, we couldn’t find the belt, but upon investigation, we could see it at the bottom, beneath the basin. We tipped the machine back and saw the belt, perfectly intact, perfectly in place, and spinnable.

It looked like the dreaded repairman was in my future. Googling had said it could also be a pulley in the motor, or the sensors, neither of which we were prepared to fix.

But then we decided to do one more test run, just to see what happened. And after putting it back together and re-leveling it, the darn thing worked.

Apparently, all along, the problem was that it was grossly, egregiously out of level.

No floor in this house is level, and the basement is no exception. There’s a pretty good slope in the concrete, in part so that if water does get in, it flows down towards the floor drain. I’ve always adjusted for that with a small shim under one of the washer’s feet, but the shim had slipped and apparently, it was enough that the spin cycle wouldn’t spin.

I felt like an idiot for calling my dad all the way to Elgin to help, so he helped me hang a new spice rack I just finished painting. (It’s hard to judge appropriate height, mark the holes, etc alone.) But as he pointed out, at least I called him before a repairman. Then I really would have felt dumb, shelling out money so someone could tell me my floor’s not level.

Consider it a lesson learned.

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