Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks
Monday, August 18, 2008 The Kitchen Sink
This wasn't how I had planned to spend my weekend evening.
On the weekends, Trash likes to make up large quantities of food to put in the fridge for my sustenance during my telecommuting week. Otherwise I just eat sandwiches for lunch every day, except for the days when I skip the sandwiches. One of the items she decided to whip up this past weekend was a batch of mashed potatoes. Convenient, easy to heat up, and a good use for a bunch of spuds that were going to start growing legs and walking out of there if we didn't use them soon.
The peeled and quartered potatoes hadn't been boiling in the pot very long when Trash took M. Edium to Trader Joe's to pick up some milk, without which the dish couldn't be completed. While I waited for them to return with the final ingredient, I prepped the rest of the stuff that would be needed. I got down the stand mixer, excavated the beaters from the utensil drawer, melted some butter to mix in, and ran the spray nozzle and garbage disposal to rid the bottom of the sink of the layer of crud our dishwasher had just horked up into it for some reason. When I drained the potatoes into the sink, I didn't want them to pick up any of…well, whatever that was.
This last item turned out to be a bit of an obstacle. After I had rinsed the sink, the water wouldn't go down; even having the disposal on just sent a roil of cloudy churn-water up into the other half of the sink. Clearly we had a clog.
By the time Trash and M. Edium got home with the milk (and other stuff), I was already under the sink -- having cleared out all of the child-killing solvents we normally keep locked up in there -- and ready to go to work dismantling the plumbing. While Trash put away the groceries, M. Edium held the flashlight for me. That way I could always have a free hand to stick between him and the can of oven cleaner.
I had mixed emotions once I got the trap segment loose and failed to discover the clog in there. Never have I been more disappointed not to see a disgusting bolus of damp organic matter. This meant the clog was behind the wall or even in the basement, which meant I was going to have to dig out the plumber's snake. M. Edium went downstairs to help me find it, and then back in the kitchen he helped me wriggle the springy end into the pipe as far as it would go. Then I put all the pipes back together, tested it out, and watched as both halves of the kitchen sink filled up and stayed that way. Apparently a toilet auger and a plumber's snake are two different things.
Clearly I needed a bigger snake (which is what I had always been told in high school). While Trash started getting M. Edium to bed, I called Home Depot to make sure they had what I needed. They did, as long as I refrained from having "what I need" include advice on what to do if the snake didn't work. "Any other suggestions?" I asked. "No," he said.
So I went to Home Depot, then got back home and fed all 25 feet of the new snake down the pipe, then put the pipes back together and ran the water. After watching it disappear, I went upstairs and told Trash it was fixed. Then I went downstairs and realized that the drain was full again, and I had to go up and tell Trash that it wasn't fixed after all, and would she have a minute to see if our neighborhood plumber makes weekend calls?
She encouraged me to go down and give it one more try, so I did. I took apart all the segments one more time, snaked the drain one more time, put it all together one more time, and ran the faucet. I could hear the echo getting more and more highly pitched as the drain filled, and finally had to admit defeat. Just as I was putting all the poisons back under the cabinet while dreading the prospect of a kitchen sink-less Sunday, I heard this sad little "gloop" as the weight of the water in the drain finally pushed the clog clear into the sewer or whatever. The drain was clear! And now, at last, I could finally drain those potatoes that had been sitting in the pot of water for three hours.
Yeah, I probably should have figured out a way to do that before this point, but I had my priorities. More on how this turned out later. posted by M. Giant 7:35 PM 3 comments
You are a major god among spouses. I'm inspired and will no longer consider myself blessed to have a plumber who takes my call on Christmas Eve. Because I shouldn't have needed to call him at all. I should have been as intrepid as you are!
Among the many, many things I've been waiting to say and have not, I can now add "disgusting bolus of damp organic matter". That completely made my day.
My husband and I both have no chops in the home maintenance area, and are preparing to start living in our own home, rather than an apartment, for the first time. I'm really, really hoping that my perennially cash-strapped friend who understands how physical objects work and likes power tools will be susceptible to the lure of sweet cash money on weekends. Because I shudder to think what would happen if we tried to fix these kinds of problems on our own.