|Saturday, July 17th, 2004|
9:47a - Repairman
I was cleaning, hunting for a SMELL. It's persistence prompted me to put repairing the air freshener's motor on the list.
Finally I located it. In a bag of healthy Idaho potatoes was one whose demise had occurred. Manipulating the plastic bag perfectly, I managed to dump the remains directly into the sink hole that contains the disposal. Giving the switch a flick and turning the water to COLD, I examined the potatoes that had been closest to the offender, and although most of them were sound, I saw another one that had been touching the bad one, so I decided it should go, too.
As it hit the grinding blades, the disposal stalled. I quickly shut it off and repositioned the potato. Once the weak edge was taken care of, the disposal again stalled. Shutting it down again, I carefully removed the big chunks and threw them out the door. Even though I had the electricity off, as I was feeling around for the little pieces not yet tiny enough to pass through the system safely, I had a vision of releasing some piece that was wedged and having the machine give a little jolt, trapping my fingers or gnawing on them the same way it would what it was digesting. The thought was strong enough that I removed my right hand and used my left.
I was sweating when I finished, so I used the cold water spigot on the refrigerator. Thinking how nice it would be if the ice maker worked, I added it to the list. As I ran the aging vent fan to remove the smell, putting up with the horrid squeaking noise it makes most of the time now, I decided that the one repair trip would get the full line-up. Generally, the most expensive part of a repair trip seems to be the trip call.
When the repairman called back, he tried to guide me through the repair on the disposal long distance. I located the reset button easily enough and pushed it. His directions continued without execution time, and I missed part of the next direction -- a crucial part, as it turned out. I was to take a hefty sized allen wrench and insert it (under the unit in a hole) and wiggle it back and forth to be sure the unit was freed up before I tested the electricity.
Looking around, I found the allen wrench. I looked around again, (NOT underneath) and found a slot the perfect size for the allen wrench right at the top of the unit, where it joined the sink. Now, common sense SHOULD have told me that that area should NOT wiggle back and forth, but I was in "follow direction" mode. I inserted, and COULD NOT MOVE IT.
"Just wiggle it back and forth," the voice on the telephone reassured me, not being able to see WHERE I had the allen wrench stuck.
With one mighty heave, it moved!
The entire unit dropped to the floor of the cabinet. Two hoses were still firmly connected to the unit. Thank heavens for flexible hoses!
I relate my disaster to the repairman. He doesn't miss a beat. More instructions follow. I am to hold the unit up in place where it should go, push the seal back into place and using the allen wrench again, reattach it.
"Piece of cake," his tone of voice suggested.
"With what four hands?" my thoughts wondered. Setting the phone down, I discovered that I could not even hold the unit in the proper position with BOTH HANDS. It was awkward and heavy, and it wobbled back and forth. Even with a partner, this was NOT a job I was going to succeed at.
Eventually, he set a time for the next day, but first he wondered if any MEN lived around who could help me out. I should just run next door and borrow somebody's husband, to hear him tell it.
When Friday afternoon arrived, I got a call from the repairman who had delivered my washer last summer. He laughed when I told him the "borrow a man" remark. He'd just driven down a road with a 90+ year old who didn't see or hear too well, another octogenarian whose wife had recently died, and abandoned farm house after abandoned farm house. He knew there were no other houses on my mile that had men living in them, nor the next one in either direction.
"You have to understand ___. He lives in Centerville, and can't imagine country living."
He has a struggle with the disposal, which then runs properly when turned on. "You're right. You would not have been able to get this to mate right." I turn on the water when he flips the switch, so he leans down to check for leaks.
Getting the refrigerator out to get at the cord for the air freshener is a real treat. He takes that unit with him, as he can feel that the thing is repairable. He gets the ice maker working, but it is lethargic, and he takes it, too, to check it out better.
I don't know if he'll be back today or Tuesday...
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