Saturday, May 28, 2011

And the saga continues

We started out this weekend with a plan. We usually camp this weekend for a semi-annual medieval event in the Tri-Cities, but we had instead planned to work on fence and the bridge, and help Mom move Dad to a new assisted living facility. Dad's move happened earlier than originally planned, but in the meantime, the hitch for our pickup had wandered off the farm, and we were in no way prepared for the first camping event of the year, so we revised our plan to catch up on some housework and work on the fence. It is still to wet to work on fence, so we have visions of some really significant catch-up happening on the house. I'm afraid it didn't work out that way.

Yesterday afternoon, the child was doing the laundry and hollered that there was a problem. We asked what that might be, and she stated that the washer had quit working. She was not too specific, so Steve went to take a look, and the washer would not drain. It would have been nice if it had failed to fill, rather than failed to drain, but that's not what happened. Steve flipped a few switches, reset a fuse or two, and tried a different cycle, all to no avail. We were planning to go to a movie, so we didn't do anything else at that time. We left for the movie and put off thoughts of washing machines until morning. I just spent a fairly significant amount of time addressing the immediate problem associated with the failure of the washing machine to drain. You can see the results below.

Yes, those are towels drying on the fence. No, it is not good weather for drying clothes outside. It's only about 50 degrees, and those are storm clouds in the sky. The load in the washer could not have been whites, or Steve's scrubs, or even sheets. No, the washer had a full load of towels in it. And the washer failed at the end of the wash cycle, so they were soapy and sopping wet. As I was sitting on the edge of the bath tub, rinsing and hand-wringing each towel in preparation to hanging for outside drying, it occurred to me that many modern conveniences are interwoven. For example, modern ulta-absorbent terry cloth towels are nearly impossible to adequately wash, rinse and wring by hand. The very existence of these soft squishy things we all expect to waiting for us as we step out of our showers of hot running water depends on the modern washing machine being available to do the work of washing, rinsing, and wringing. By the time I had dealt with the entire load, I had decided that if ever I was permanently deprived of my modern washing machine, I would be reintroducing linen as an absorbent material. And yes, the washing machine still has water in it. Steve and I are discussing how best to remove it. I want to use a garden hose and siphon it out, much like you would empty a fish tank. Steve wants to bail it out with a bucket.

Prior to undertaking the task of the towels, however, I took some of the outside cats to a spay / neuter clinic in Pendleton. When I parked, I noticed steam coming out from under the hood of the car. It was rather odd, since Steve had just have the oil changed and the coolant flushed yesterday, and the temperature was in the 40's, so overheating really should not have happened. Besides, the temperature gauge was not showing that the engine was hot. But, I couldn't deal with it right then, so I proceeded to take care of getting the cats registered and dropped off, and then worried about the car. It was no longer steaming when I came out, which I took to be a good sign. I started it up to move it to a better parking spot and the steam started back up with the engine. So, I moved it only two car lengths, and called Steve to come get me and figure out what we needed to do about the car. After some poking and wiping and peering and checking, we concluded that all of the necessary fluid levels were sufficient, and decided to drive it to the shop. Steve opted to drive the steaming car, and I drove his. We got separated, but that was OK, because we both knew where we were going. Before I got far, though, my cell phone rang. It was Steve, saying that he thought it was probably just spray or overflow from the service and he was going to drive on home where he could put it up and take a closer look. I defer to his judgement in most things automotive, so I didn't argue, and went on about running my errands. Before I got to my first stop my phone rang again. Steve had gotten about 5 miles out of town before the water pump in the car failed. He called Triple A for a tow, and the car went to the shop.

As an aside, we have so many feral cats between our house and Mom's that we got a volume discount at the spay & neuter clinic. The houses are now surrounded by live traps in the hopes that we can get a few more in before tomorrow.