The Mast-Head: Do It Yourself 101

Were they all too busy to deal with this? Was I on some secret blacklist of repair people? I felt alone, scorned

   We were two weeks without a functioning washing machine, and not one of the local repair companies with which I had left messages had called me back about service. It seemed odd.
    We had been going to the in-laws to use their washer. For us, a family of five, plus beach towels at this time of year, that made for a lot of trips, missing items, and an all-around headache. Something had to be done.
    The problem was pretty clearly the pump that evacuates water from the drum. The front-loader would not drain at the end of its cycles, and the waste hose itself was heavy with increasingly smelly water.
    Were they all too busy to deal with this? Was I on some secret blacklist of repair people? I felt alone, scorned.
    At the one mom-and-pop shop where I did get someone on the phone, mom told me they no longer dealt with our brand of machine because it was difficult to get parts. That seemed fishy.
    It turned out that the Internet came through when I needed it and that the problem was indeed a dead pump. Searching on Google for “Frigidaire washer pump replacement,” I quickly found a how-to video for my specific model. It looked easy. Selecting a parts supplier was simple, too, and just a little over $100 later, a new pump was on its way. A small box arrived at the office two days later at most.
    At home, two screws held on a cover plate at the bottom of the washer. Two more screws held the pump in place. I used a large pair of pliers to ease the hose clamps away, and the old one was free. To install the new one, I just reversed the procedure.
    The only snag I encountered was calling to my wife to come get Ellis, our 3-year-old, who saw tools and wanted to help. I fired up a load of beach towels as a test; a satisfying draining gurgle was my first clue that my diagnosis and repair had worked.
    On a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being changing a light bulb, the whole job rated a 3 at most. I didn’t get it. Why wouldn’t a repair shop want to make a couple hundred bucks if it were so easy?
    The old saying is that if you want something done right, you do it yourself. Around here, in the Hamptons in high summer, anyway, it appears that if you want something done at all, it’s up to you.
    I’m still waiting on those other call-backs.