The DIY dunce and the dishwasher

What happens when a DIY dunce wields a screwdriver…? Photo credit: Tekton on Unsplash

A few weeks back the dishwasher stopped working. It had power, the door was closing properly, but it just wouldn’t start once I’d set it. Obviously, I had absolutely no idea what was wrong, so I applied the remedy that everyone uses for PCs. I turned it off at the socket and on again. A needless number of times, if I’m honest.

I was out of ideas within the first minute and a half, as DIY dunces often are.

But for some reason, maybe it was because there is a pandemic on and I didn’t want anyone to come out to us, I decided I would persist. Persist with what, I couldn’t actually say.

First, I wondered if it had got confused during a programme. I realise white goods probably don’t get confused as such but you know what I mean. I turned it off at the socket yet again, and then just left it, imagining that a period of time without power might reset it. I’m sure this strategy has worked before.

An hour later I turned it back on and it was apparent that this had been a stupid strategy because nothing had changed. Some of you are thinking, “Well, duh!” and that is absolutely fair enough.

The next step was a crucial step that all DIY dunces are familiar with. I got the screwdriver and started poking around. There was no logical motivation for this. I guess I just wanted to feel I was doing something. And do something I did. I managed to flip the latch on the door into the opposite position to how it was supposed to be and I was unable to flip it back.

So not only did the machine still not work, now the door wouldn’t even close properly because the latch was in the wrong position. This was not going well.

I did some more fiddling around, which is to say I jiggled the screwdriver inside the mechanism for another 10 minutes. During those 10 minutes I realised I was going to have to remove the inner door cover of the dishwasher so that I could access the latch mechanism and then hopefully be able to flip it back into its correct position. The notion of this filled me with both terror and a weird masochistic sense of excitement.

That excitement wore off when, having removed the 12 screws holding the cover to the door, I sliced my hand open because the metal cover had really sharp edges. I wondered if I could have anticipated that. Does everyone else know that the inner door cover of a dishwasher has razor-like edges? Hey ho.

After wiping up blood from the kitchen floor and wrapping my hand in a bandage, I resumed. I now had easy access to the door mechanism and was able to flip the latch into the correct position with the minimum of fuss. Apart from all the slicing and pain and blood on the floor, obviously.

I screwed the metal cover back, taking a superhuman amount of care not to do myself any further damage.

I took stock. I had spent half an hour taking off the inner door cover. I had cut my hand, maybe not badly, but nastily enough. I had got the latch back into the correct position. I had put the door cover back on. The dishwasher still didn’t work. I mean, I hadn’t tried it but there was no reason to think that fiddling around had made any difference.

Essentially, I had still done nothing to fix the dishwasher. Ah, the life of a DIY dunce.

I closed the dishwasher, just to make sure I’d at least managed this part of the operation. Then I opened the door again in anticipation of whatever I was going to try next. The dishwasher’s cycle started. Or possibly continued. Water began to spray, both inside and, dismayingly, out.

I quickly shut the door, utterly baffled and slightly damp. I thought machines like this didn’t run when the door was open. Clearly, I was wrong. It was working, making all the right noises, despite the fact I had done absolutely nothing except the slicing/pain/blood on floor debacle.

I pondered. It was clearly doing what it was supposed to do, even if I didn’t know why. I didn’t dare open the door again so I made an executive decision. I put the screwdriver away, made a coffee and went back to watching the cricket.

After about 40 minutes, the dishwasher stopped. It beeped three times, which is the sign that it has finished its wash. I got up and opened it, steaming up my specs as always. The lights on the control panel were all off, the items in the machine had apparently been cleaned, everything was fine.

It may not surprise you to learn that the dishwasher has not given us any trouble since. Go figure.

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