Fix-it Santa

I was having a really lovely day, with the house all to myself, well, as all to myself as it ever gets with three dogs of my own, two fosters, a husband, and a temporary housemate. And then I went to rinse my coffee mug, and realized the kitchen sink wasn’t draining.

I ran the disposal. It hummed and whirred and turned itself off.

I tested the other half of the sink, the part without the disposal; it was fine.

Aha! I thought. Someone has put something bad down the disposal, and the trap is jammed.

Sadly, knowing what the problem is and knowing how to fix the problem are not enough if you do not have the necessary arm length to reach the pipes that need to be cleaned.

So, I had to wait til said housemate arrived home, as Fuzzy is still in Utah.

Fortunately, I spent enough years doing tech support to be able to walk our housemate (Ben) through the necessary steps, which I did, while listening to him tell me that we should call a plumber, or that the pipe I’d identified couldn’t possibly be the problem, or, or, or.

“Trust me,” I said, “This has happened before. It’s an easy fix. Sometimes the even easier fix works, but as you can see I already tried that,” and I brandished the old wire coat hanger that I’d turned into a sort of snake.

NO WIRE HANGERS may be the rule for clothing, but trust me on this: keeping a couple of them around can SAVE YOUR LIFE when you have plumbing issues.

Anyway, Ben did as I instructed, and twisted and turned, handing me the u-bend with the attached p-trap, and I cleaned both of them out, and then guided him through re-attachment, plugging in the disposal (because of course the first thing I did was UNPLUG it) and showing him where to find the RESET button.

So, maybe I didn’t do the physical labor, though if I could have reached, I would have, but I still claim credit for the fix, because I knew what to do.

Today’s Santa: It seemed appropriate to share Fix-It Santa today. He doesn’t do plumbing, but a few small repairs to your gingerbread house are totally in his repertoire. Source: Cracker Barrel.

We All Float Here

Under the Tub It may be a first world problem, but for someone who styles herself The Bathtub Mermaid, it’s a personal tragedy: my bathtub is broken.

Early last week I was taking a bath, and I overfilled the tub. When I pulled the drain plug to let some water out, instead of just the plug coming up, the whole drain came out of the tub. Upon investigation, we learned that the elbow joint meant to connect the drain to the drainpipe was on the ground under the tub.

We called the home warranty company, and they sent a plumber who said we had to remove the ceramic tile step at the end of the tub. We tried, but there’s no way to do that without breaking into the actual floor. However, when we cut into the drywall half-wall at the back of the tub we saw that the pipe is NOT under the ceramic tile, but under the tub.

So now we’re waiting for the plumber to come back.

Meanwhile, there’s a gaping hole in the fake wall at the end of the tub (Fuzzy has put his dremel case in front of it, so a) I don’t have to see it and b) the dogs won’t explore it and c) no creepy-crawly things emerge from it) but I’ve clearly read too many Stephen King novels, because every time I see the expanse of exposed pipe, or catch a glimpse of the drain hole in my tub, in which the drain fixture currently is not, I keep thinking of Pennywise the Clown from It.

I’m really glad my neighborhood doesn’t have old-style gutters with metal grates, because, as it is, every time I enter my bathroom I hear a filtered version of Tim Curry’s voice growling, “We all float here.”