Friday, July 16, 2010

Story of fixing the washing machine in the volunteer apt

July 15:  And now, the story of the washing machine repair man. About 4 or 5 years ago, the TIPS Partnership bought both a washing machine and dryer for the volunteer apartment. Adam Schwartz and family stayed in the apartment before us and found out that the dryer didn't work at all and the washing machine control had to be restarted after each cycle. So Monday, Dvora called a repairman named Dudi (a nickname for David) and gave him my number. As it turns out, Dudi's office is about a block from us.

His older son came over on Tuesday morning and said that the problem was the part that made the inside of the machine rotate. He replaced it for 450 shekels. He then fixed the dryer--it needed a new part for the starter. The normal charge was 250 shekels, but since he was already at the apartment, he charged only 200. When I was worrying about whether to fix the dryer or not (it isn't really necessary hereas it is easy to put clothes out to dry on the porch, but it is helpful for towels an sheets), I mentioned that we would only use the dryer until the end of the month when the apartment would be vacated. All of the appliances would be donated to the Social Services Department for the needy. So he lowered the price to 150 shekels -- just for the part and took away his charge. He also figured out the code for the downstairs air conditioner (86) and reprogrammed the charge. In all we paid 600 shekels (almost $160), which we were to deduct from the $50 US per week for the use of the apartment.
The bad part.

Unfortunately, the washer was not fixed. So the young man came back the next day (Wed.), and told me the problem could be the timer, which would cost 600 shekels to fix. Meanwhile he tighened a cord/wire. He didn't charge anything more. I tried to finish the washing cycle later...and found out there was still the same problem. So I called back Dudi and left a message.

He called me the next morning to find out if his son had come, then said that he had forgotten to remind him and that he was in Ashdod for the day.So Dudi himself came over himself an hour later. He took apart the rotator to be sure that it was kaput, and inside it was obvious that it had died (see the attached photo). He told me that when the rotator part goes, if the machine is still used, it can cause other parts to become damaged, including the timer. Older machines were made better and didn't not have this defect. Dudi, however, wanted to check out several things first.

One included cleaning a part with vinegar. There was vinegar in the house....however, only apple cider vinegar and wine vinegar, so I trotted down 2 flights of stairs, went across the street, and went to buy vinegar at the supermarket. I found 2 kinds, one for about a dollar, and the other about twice the price. I asked a lady nearby if she knew the difference, and she asked me if I were buying it to use on food or for cleaning. When I told her the latter, she told me to buy the cheaper kind! In the States I wouldn't ask a stranger such a question so easily, but here in Israel (especially outside the big cities), I am very comfortable doing so.

Back to the apartment, Dudi said that he was going to come back later with another small part to see if it would help. Howard and I were going out to lunch at a friend's (an English teacher at the high school), so Dudi said that he would return after 3.

new part
While he was working, he asked me where I was from in the US. Then he told me a story of 30 years ago, when a good friendof his was going to the US and invited him along. Dudi was interested, but his wife was not, so he stayed here. His friend did not return, and has since become a multi-millionaire in the US. He also told me that he lived on a small farm and sold it for about $60,000 US to move to Kiryat Malachi about 20 years ago. The farm--especially the land-- is now worth more than 15 times that, while his home in Kiyrat Malachi has not increased as much in value. He also showed me photos of his wife and her sisters. He told me she was 55, and I told him she looked much younger. He also told me that the son that had first worked on the washing machine the day before was getting married in 3 months.

I told him that Howard had met his youngest son 2 or 3 years ago when he was helping to interview candidates going into 9th grade for a special after-school computer training program called NETA. Dudi is also the father of Liron, a special needs young adult who used to be on the Young Council. All this from a visit of the washing machine repairman.

I haven't tried the washing machine yet but will soon. I hope the little part that he replaced will work. If not, we can always fall back on cleaning another part with the vinegar that I bought...that Dudi hasn't use yet.
Update:  Friday, July 16:  Sad news.....washer still stops at key points...sigh...

A few days later:  Dudu came back, tried something else that didn't work, and finally took out the timer.  He sent it to another person, who might be able to adjust it.

July 27th we got the timer back.  We could have gotten it back a few days earlier but Dudu had lost our # and kept on coming to the apt when we were not in.  Anyway, success! For another 200 shekels ($52), the timer was fixed and I did a bunch of loads of wash, including the dirty sheets from previous occupants!  Yay!

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