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New Washer - Have questions RE: resume & water levels

This is the first time I've had a front loader in decades and I realize everything is so much different, still, I have questions.


1.  The water level is non-existent. I'm literally washing damp items without any water in the drum. I ran a load of towels and they came out smelling dirty, and why not? They weren't washed! Is this normal? And I'm being serious about the "no water" thing. I can see the bottom of the drum as the clothes are being washed and can see no water. It squirts out sporadically as it's tumbling but just enough to get the clothes damped through.


2. Getting used to the controls on the front. UGH. We're a short family and reaching over it means bumping into the control panel and turning the washer off during the cycle. This washer runs a lot longer than my top loader so starting ovre means one load is now taking me over 3 hours to wash! I did it the first time I washed this load and had to start over with 20 minutes left. Because the towels were damp, instead of 45 mins the first time, it was now going to take an additional 58 mins!


When that load finished and didn't seem at all clean, I decided to run it again, trying Heavy Duty setting, hoping that would mean more water. (It doesn't.) So now it says it will take 1:58 to wash! My husband came in about 20 minutes in and leaned over the front and turned it off.


So, how do I resume. This isn't a "Pause" situation where I can then hit to start. This literally turned off the machine. When I did it the first time, and hit "Power", it drained and restarted at the 58 minutes to complete. So, is there something I need to know to help me NOT to have to essentially wash this dang load of towels a THIRD time?


Thanks for any help/info you can provide. So far, I'm not liking this at all!