Tucker has a neurotic attachment to his dog halter. It is orange and green with little monkey faces on it. He became attached to the halter in the pet store when I brought him in to try it on. He was so attached that, when I tried to take it off, he went a little nuts. When we got to the checkout, I had to lift him up so they could scan the halter while he was still wearing it. I call it his “monkey vest” and he has only had it off for baths since we bought it. Today was bath day so it had to come off. Tucker enjoyed his bath, then cooperated by drying off on a Martha Stewart Christmas door mat he has become neurotically attached to since the holiday decorating began. Here’s a little video of Tucker and the door mat. Sorry Martha.
I realized that not all the funky pre-bath odor was coming from Tucker. The monkey vest was contributing as well. I decided to wash Tucker’s beloved monkey vest with his blankets while he was drying from his bath.
I put the blankets and monkey vest in the washing machine, added a Tide pod, closed the lid and walked back into the kitchen. No sooner had I crossed the threshold, than a loud alarming noise came from the laundry room. I went out and took a look but could find nothing wrong, so I restarted the load. Again, a loud scraping sound could be heard. I thought maybe the plastic buckle and metal “D” ring on the monkey vest were causing the noise when the agitator turned. I decided just to take the monkey vest out and wash it by hand. I sorted through the heavy, wet blankets looking for the monkey vest and couldn’t find it. What? I thought it might be hiding inside a knotted up blanket so I went back to Plan A and started the washer again. The sound was immediate and loud! I took every sopping wet blanket out and let it drip on the floor while I looked for that vest. One by one I examined the blankets and tossed them into the utility sink until the washer was empty.
There was no sign of the monkey vest! I turned the now-empty washing machine on again and the screeching and scraping started. I realized that somehow the monkey vest had been swallowed into the bowels of the washing machine. And, Tucker was almost dry! He was going to be jonesing for that monkey vest.
I did a little research online and realized that the monkey vest was more likely than not trapped inside the agitator. The manual warned that the lid, with its heavy glass, could crash down and break during removal of the top of the washing machine. I was in over my head.
I weighed my options, finally deciding that this was a significant enough of an emergency to warrant waking Michael early.
Fearing for my life, I ran upstairs to summon help. I woke Michael up, explained that I was getting ready to dissemble the washer to retrieve Tucker’s monkey vest and he graciously offered to help. I suspect his motivation was more about the replacement cost of a Maytag Commercial Series washing machine than a neurotic dog, but help was on the way.
Michael surveyed the situation and determined that the vest must have squeezed through a slit at the top of the drum. On this machine there is no actual agitator. The drum is a two-part piece and the inner part rotates. The first problem was holding the lid up so that the top of the washing machine could be removed. The laundry room is narrow and there wasn’t space for me to hold the lid up and Michael to work, to say nothing of the fact that I would be crying like a baby after 30 seconds anyway.
So we did what any self-respecting appliance repair professional would do and grabbed our gigantic pizza peel and wedged it under the lid of the machine.
Problem #1 solved.
Tucker was beginning to lose hope and decided to go look for the monkey vest outside. He got distracted by gopher holes, so we bought ourselves a little time.
The online instructions for removing the washer top said to disconnect the water hose, being careful not to let it fall. If it fell, we would have to take apart the whole machine to retrieve it. We wondered what would Tim (Michael’s real-life professional appliance repair brother) do? Of course, he would attach a dog leash to the clip on the water hose and tie the other end around an ugly mauve cabinet knob. Duh.
With the pizza peel holding the lid up, and the dog leash keeping the water hose from falling, Michael was ready to remove the water hose.
Time was of the essence at this point.
Once the water hose was removed, the top of the machine could be lifted to get access to several clips holding the big, white plastic ring in place. Once the plastic ring was removed, we used a flashlight to examine the narrow space between the outer and inner pieces of the drum. There it was! We could see the monkey vest!
Luckily, the monkey vest was on the front side where we could get to it easier, but wedged as deep as it could go. We couldn’t reach it. We would need tools, serious appliance repair tools, like kitchen tongs!
I grabbed the tongs from the kitchen and Michael reached in with them, finally able to lift the monkey vest from the inner depth’s of the Maytag.
Michael played with Tucker to distract him while I hastily dried the vest with a load of towels. Still a bit damp, but none the worse for wear, the monkey vest and Tucker were reunited. Crisis averted.
The washing machine was put back together and from now on, the monkey vest will be washed by hand.