Years and years ago my grandson and daughter lived with us. We bought our grandson a goldfish when he was almost four. He named it Skipper. One day, after several months, he came to me and said “Grandpa, Skipper stopped.” He was new to the concept of death. Observing him taught us so many new ways of looking at life. He turned twenty in October and is doing well in his sophomore year working toward a Bachelor of Animation. He is now showing his professors new ways of looking at their worlds and their art.
Now for a more mundane topic: About six weeks ago our dishwasher, like Skipper, “stopped.” It was only six. No lights at all. No noise. No water. Nada.
I was new to the concept of dishwasher repair, but mistrustful of bringing someone in to repair it. After a couple of weeks dealing with other priorities I set up an appointment with the department store’s repair service and had almost 10 days to wait for them to come out. I chose the large corporation because I figured people working for them would be on a salary and less likely to exaggerate the dishwasher’s problem for personal profit. However, I had time to look into fixing it myself. The Web is full of ideas about what the cause of “stopping” might be. Two expensive possibilities were the small electronic control board (the “brain”) and the actual console with the control buttons. Both parts were almost $200 Canadian, over that with tax. The visit itself would’ve been $80 plus 13% tax – and labour would be another big chunk, especially if the built in dishwasher had to be wrestled out of its sunken nest. (The genius that installed ceramic tiles on our first floor hall, kitchen, powder and laundry rooms in 2007 thought it would be good to raise the floor about 3/4″, just enough to create zero clearance under the kitchen counter for the new dishwasher we had installed three years later in 2010.)
We were looking at over $400 if the problem was one of the big ones. More still, if it was a thermostat or other item that required moving the unit to fix.
So my research began in earnest. Part number variations, youtube videos, phoning the seller, the manufacturer and a handy friend who lives 2000 miles West of us. Managed to establish that the power supply by direct connection was live, without getting electrocuted in the attempt. Bought a multimeter to test continuity on the switches and the thermal fuse and whatever else. Replaced the thermal fuse even though it looked OK because it was only $25 and many posts on the website said it was a very likely cause. That wasn’t it. I canceled the service appointment anyway after the kind person at the service desk who sold me the fuse pointed out that the department store now uses subcontractors, who are no less likely to inflate the repair cost than someone selected from the “Yellow Pages.”
Sloowwly the main suspect became the $180 console with the front buttons, which houses the door latch and “brain.” Though it could not be checked, it looked stained in inner areas, very probably because the left side plastic housings for the console had been stripped by the turkey that assembled it during manufacturing. This defect did not show during the six years we owned it, until it “stopped” and I took it apart.
Next, I cheekily called the brother of an acquaintance who had fixed our washer and dryer before and asked him whether the console panel was a likely cause. He said yes. I asked for a per cent probability. He said “90%.” I asked about the electronic control board and he said “almost never.” I said; “Many thanks!”
Aware that the department store’s parts department would not allow me to return the console if it didn’t fix the problem, I gambled the $200 and ordered it “rush.” It came in 6 days and I picked it up this morning. I was fourth in line. In line ahead of me were three do it yourselfers who had issues with part number errors and shipping errors. We chatted pleasantly with each other. We even talked about the November 8th election and, bingo, the 40 minute wait for the first customer’s issue to be resolved to her satisfaction just FLEW by.
Nobody encountered during this experience was anything but pleasant to deal with. People called were invariably keen to help and suggest others that might help. The local parts clerks were longsuffering and conscientious: patiently trying to decode parts numbers submitted by removing unnecessary and misleading early letters, trying other numbers I had seen on the Web, rushing my second order and – getting it right!
And, my gamble paid off. We have lights! We have water! We have the right gurgling sounds. I’ve saved at least $200. High fives all around!
Personally, we don’t mind washing dishes. If I could have thrown the thing out without leaving an ugly hole in the kitchen, I might have. But then I wouldn’t have met so many nice people…
I can at last say and, thanks to the great Leonard Cohen, who “stopped” yesterday, even SING…
Or, to show a deeper dialogue of that amazing poet with his complex god: You Want It Darker This sort of piece has nothing at all to do with the mundane… Incredible final statement.