Tuesday, October 04, 2011

She's the man, as long as it plugs in

Despite anatomical evidence to the contrary, I've always been something of the man about the house.

I don't mean I like to lounge about my house in a smoking jacket, fake beard and y fronts. I only do that on Tuesdays.

I mean that for most of my life, I've been better than the average female at many typically blokey things – like fixing computers, tuning televisions and working out which cables go into which holes on the back of the stereo – and have therefore been called upon by nearly everyone I know to fix some sort of household problem at some stage of our relationship.

My entire family and many of my friends owe their home entertainment systems to my in-depth knowledge of RCA plugs and HDMI inputs.

It's possible my mum and sister would just give up on television after the analogue switch-off if I wasn't around to install their set top boxes for them. Dad's already a lost cause – I gave up on him after he once tried to play “the other side” of a CD.
Being an honorary bloke is something of a badge of pride for me, because I am generally utterly crap at REALLY manly things like building a pergola or reverse parallel parking in one fluid movement.

So it was that when I arrived home from work on Thursday to find the dishwasher full of dirty water and blinking at me, my first thought was “I can fix that.”

The sensible part of my brain responded: “You SHOULD be able to fix that, but maybe you can't.”

And then: “Really, maybe you should call a plumber.”

And then: “No, seriously. Call a plumber.”

But it was too late. Screwdriver in hand, I had already started unhooking the drainage hose from the U bend under the sink.

“Can't be too difficult,” I thought, undoing the input hose from the water tap, smugly congratulating myself on remembering to turn off the water first.

“Look how professional you are! See, you don't need a stupid plumber,” the non sensible part of my brain jeered at the sensible part as I heaved the entire dishwasher out from under the bench, only to discover that didn't actually help at all.

The dirty water remained defiantly on the floor of the dishwasher, gurgling around the seemingly clear drainage hole.

A broken dishwasher is still better than this.

Only one thing for it – scoop the bilge water out and into the sink. And also into the cupboard under the sink, and over all of the recycling, because you disconnected the hose, remember?

“Told you to get a plumber,” sensible brain grumbled.

My next great idea was to determine where the blockage was by filling a cup with water and pouring it down the U Bend. And again, into the cupboard under the sink and all over the recycling because I forgot what just happened three seconds ago.

“IF YOU WERE A TV I WOULD HAVE FIXED YOU BY NOW!” I raged at the machine, angry at my inability to instantly acquire plumbing skills from the surrounding air.

So I did what all people my age do these days when faced with a problem they can't solve. I asked Google.

“All our dishwashers are programmed to drain at the start of each cycle,” said the manufacturer's website.

“If your dishwasher is not draining, start a wash cycle and stop it after 45 seconds.”

So I pushed the wash button. Like magic, the dishwasher did what the internet said it would - it drained. Into the cupboard under the sink and all over the recycling, because I had forgotten to hook the hose back up to the U bend first.

So in essence, Google fixed my dishwasher.

Don't tell any men though – they might revoke my club membership.

This article was first published in the Adelaide Sunday Mail's Sunday liftout on August 7, 2011.


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