December 16, 2007

The Maytag repairman comes to La Gringa's house

Maytag works againDo you see those red lights glowing?!

La Gringa is happy today!

El Jefe's mother recommended a repairman, technically not the Maytag repairman, but supposedly a good one. I was leery but El Jefe said that he had had a lot of training, even having been to Tegucigalpa for some special training. As it was getting difficult to even walk through the laundry room by this point, he borrowed a car and drove to El Porvenir to pick up the guy.

lots of laundryWhy was I leery? Based on a long line of experiences of which I'll tell you a few. Once we had our car in a shop in San Pedro (highly recommended by a friend) for three months, bought $300 of parts, and after numerous phone calls and trips to San Pedro, finally had to take it back in exactly the same shape it was in to start with.

El Jefe's old car spent most of one year in the shop trying to repair an oil leak that required pulling the engine out of the car. Generally, when it begins to look hopeless, we take back whatever is being repaired and take it somewhere else. You can't do that when your car has no engine installed!
It took us almost two months to find a bolt that the mechanic had broken while removing it. The repairman, friend of a friend who was recommended to us, wanted to charge more because it was basically his career for that year. Guess what? When we got the car back, it was still leaking oil.

Currently we are going on six months without a car. After numerous and expensive car part purchases from the states (one by one, and often sending them back and forth because they were the wrong ones), and all this time, the mechanic (highly recommended as the best transmission mechanic in La Ceiba) finished yesterday and guess what? It's the same. Absolutely no change.

One repairman had one of our ceiling fans for about six weeks. Convinced that a certain part was no good, he had a new one rebuilt. It was rebuilt wrongly, didn't fix the problem, but to top that off, he threw away the original part so we don't even know what the part is supposed to look like and can't get another one made.

When we had our lawn mower repaired, for absolutely no reason that we can discern, they welded the height adjustments on all the wheels to the lowest level and we had to take it back to get them to "unweld" it. The speed selection on my electric mixer quit working. The repairman took off some parts, lost them, and then returned the mixer to us a month later, still broken. My neighbor had one of his car parts replaced with a pop top from a coke can and was assured that it would work just as well. I'm sure we would never have noticed the switch, but this neighbor did.

So, that's the reason why we try to repair the things that we can ourselves, when humanly possible. The most frustrating thing is that no one will ever tell you that they can not fix something. They will just keep it forever! You can call and/or visit them and each time you will be assured that it will be ready mañana, but it never is.

But, this repairman was different! At least this time was different. He found the problem!

Needless to say, based on experience, whenever we need a repairman, I just get sick to my stomach worrying that they will cause more problems than they solve or waste our time and money having us buy parts that we don't need. I was a little more resigned this time, trying to accept the fact that the washer is seven years old and if we just had to buy a new one, so be it, even though I think that they should last longer than that.

confusing wiring of the washerI was afraid that he would say that we needed part A from the US and after getting part A, he would say we needed part B, then part C, and so on and so on. I guided him through the trouble shooting chart from the repair manual, but honestly, he seemed to know where to start and one by one, he found that the most likely suspects were all functioning.

Finally, out of ideas from the manual and my stomach hurting so badly, I had to go away. About 45 minutes later, El Jefe came to me with a big smile. "No!" I exclaimed. "You aren't going to tell me that he fixed it without buying any parts?" Yes!

Deep in the bowels of the dryer compartment, the electrical wiring from the dryer to the washer was burned and crumbled. He cut off the damaged parts of the wires and reconnected them. The repairman said it was due to the dryer overheating (which it has done for years). I don't know if that could cause it but he fixed it so I'm happy. By the way, he charged L.300 (about US $15).

It was late on a Saturday night by then, so he said he would have to come back another day to look at the dryer overheating problem. At least I can now get this mountain of laundry done.

Life is good.

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