An hour later, after the water filled the washer for his second load, an ominous grating and snapping sound interrupted my laughter at the Daily Show. Far worse was the silence that followed as I realized the washer had stopped working.
I tried restarting it in other cycles (i.e. gentle instead of normal, etc.) and then starting it at different points in the cycle. I hoped, if nothing else, I could put it on spin and drain the water. Nothing. At that point, I reached into the heavily perfumed, soapy water to feel if something was caught on the agitator. Oh, and there was the problem. The machine was crammed so full that I couldn't even wedge my skinny arm between the clothes to get to the bottom. I started pulling out dripping handfuls of fabric, and suddenly the water started filling the basin again. "Good, maybe it will work now." The water shut off. Nothing. Broken agitator.
Someday, I would like to be handy enough with household appliances to fix them rather than just diagnose the problem. Since I'm not, I guess I'll have to finish my laundry at my sister's house. But when I use my sister's washing machine, I won't break it.
I have newfound appreciation for my mother's wall of laundry instructions that taught me how to wash the clothes when she was out of town. I used to think it was ridiculous that she included every detail, right down to "6 large towels or 8 pairs of Anna's jeans make an extra-large load." Ah, the wisdom of my obsessive compulsive mother!