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How a 2-minute task turns into an hour long comedy of errors

Published to Blog on 22 Apr 2010

Why does Everything have to be so difficult? Nothing can be simple, everything has to be an Adventure.

My little guy tells me before he leaves this morning that he would like to have his new Iron Man pillow case washed today so he can use it tonight. Nobody else is home today so I figured I would go ahead and take care of it. Simple task – wash a pillow case, right? Should take maybe 5 minutes tops out of my day.

The washing part went off without a hitch. I found some similar colored fabrics and washed them all together. It is Earth Day after all, no use running a wash cycle with one pillow case.

The end of the wash cycle is where things started falling apart. The dryer had just finished its previous load so I pulled the clothes out, folded them and put them away. I went back to move the newly washed wet laundry from the washer to the dryer. I cleaned off the lint trap filter but noticed that it wasn’t sitting flush when I put it back. Of course there must be some extra lint trapped in there. “I’ll fix it” – mistake number one.

I look around for something long and slender that I can use to scrape the lint out of the trap and the only thing I find is a Bic pen – mistake number 2. Not the ideal tool, but it should do the trick. I successfully work out one big hunk of dryer lint and as I’m working on a second the pen slips from my fingers and falls into the trap. Doh!

Now I head downstairs and out to the garage to get a long screwdriver. The pen was lame but a long screwdriver was exactly what I needed. I should be able to finish the job of removing lint and get the pen out with the help of a screwdriver. And a screwdriver has a handle, so it won’t fall into the trap! Alas, I was able to get more lint out but I ended up only pushing the pen further down and out of reach. At this point I say to myself “Screw it. The pen is a goner, I was able to get the lint out. Mission accomplished.” I went back to my desk and tried to put the pen sitting in the dryer only inches away from the extremely hot drum out of my mind.

Five minutes later I’m back up at the dryer trying to figure out how to remove the lint trap so I can fish the pen and any additional lint out. There are two screws in the front that appear to be holding the lint trap on. Oh lucky day! I remove the two screws and of course the thing doesn’t budge. I thought about applying more pressure but then common sense kicked in.

Now down back to my computer to do a search for “Maytag Performa remove lint trap”. Two of the first three links that I clicked on tried to automatically install some type of “spyware remover”. No thanks. After a few more false leads I finally found what I was looking for:

  1. Unplug the dryer
  2. Pry up the top of the dryer with a large screwdriver.
  3. Remove the two screws at the top.
  4. Unhook the leads on the door switch.
  5. The front panel will now lift right off.
  6. Remove the two screws at the front and lift out the lint trap.

Ah – so I have to remove the dryer’s entire front panel to completely clean out the lint trap. Seems so obvious now! :( I grabbed a few more tools, including a Phillips screwdriver because the sheet metal screws would undoubtedly be Phillips, and headed back up.

I unplug the dryer cord, placing it over the top of the dryer so it doesn’t fall back behind dryer where I would have to fish it out later. I popped open the top and found the screws. They’re not Phillips – they’re slotted. Nice. Back downstairs and out to the garage and back up again. From here things have to get better and they do for the most part. The front panel comes off easily enough. I follow the rest of the directions and pop out the lint trap. I clean out all the lint and find and remove the pen. Of course I now have lint all over the hallway carpet, I’ll have to vacuum it up later, but my dryer is now lint free! I begin re-assembling.

The front panel goes back on, but it requires some maneuvering to get everything in place. I had to do this twice of course because the first time I didn’t have the screwdriver in reach. I put the top two screws in place and begin thinking that I’m almost done. Now let’s hookup the door switch again. Hmmm, I can’t reach it. D’oh again. There isn’t enough room to reach in and re-attach the leads to the door switch between the front panel and the dryer drum. I have to take the top screws back out, pull the front panel away enough to be able fit my hands in and hook up the door switch! Then I can put the top screws back in. Finally I got it re-assembled.

Of course by now the dryer power cord has fallen behind the dryer. We only have a small laundry closet, only enough room for the dryer and washer to sit side-by-side with a few inches clearance in between and on each side. I now have to pull the dryer out, reach back and grab the cord and push the dryer back in without dropping the cord so I can get it plugged back in. You guessed it – I had to do this twice too because the first time the cord slipped out of my hand just as I was getting the dryer back into place.

Fortunately for you and me the story ends here with a happy ending. Well, other than I had to go back downstairs to get the vacuum cleaner and bring it upstairs to vacuum all the lint from the hallway. But other than that small detail things finished up well. What a nice way to spend my lunch break.

Now, thankfully, the Iron Man pillow case is in the dryer and will be ready well before bedtime and Tucker will have no idea of the burdens that I bore to make it so.

Dan Hounshell
Web geek, nerd, amateur maker. Likes: apis, node, motorcycles, sports, chickens, watches, food, Nashville, Savannah, Cincinnati and family.
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