Thursday, February 19, 2015

Adventures in Plumbing: Episode 1


My dad calls owning a home "on the job training."

He is so right.

I now understand plumbing. It doesn't necessarily mean I'm going to be able to rip apart a sink and insert a new one -- well, that's probably not true. I probably could replace a sink now. I have helped install a toilet, and I have ripped out an old sink, so who says I couldn't install a new sink by myself.

I've had help, obviously, but with all that help, I've learned how the plumbing of my house seems to work. I know what venting is and why plumbing needs air. I understand how integral those two pipes sticking out of my roof are, and what happens when one gets clogged. I have been around sewer gas. I have had to call a professional plumber. I'm sure my adventures in plumbing aren't quite over yet, but I sure hope to get a break.

I'm no weekend warrior. I want to enjoy my weekends, not chase after house projects.

Our dubious plumbing has been under scrutiny ever since our small bathroom toilet decided to give us clogging issues. Luckily, with two bathrooms in our small house, we've never been without a toilet, but we finally tackled the small bathroom issue.

That's a story for another day. The first story that must be told, the prequel, if you will, deals with the kitchen sink.

The kitchen sink is vital for the survival in any house. I also don't own a dishwasher, so when the kitchen sink can't drain, I'm doing dishes elsewhere -- this past October, it was in the bathtub.

I would've celebrated it by taking selfies, but it felt degrading. I felt sub-human, hunched over the tub, using the waterpik to chisel food off the plates.

For over a week, we dealt with a slow drain. I poured Drain-o down the sink to see if that would alleviate the clog, but instead, the water, with added chemical mixture, came back up. To make matters worse, I didn't empty the left side of the kitchen sink, so we lost many kitchen utensils to poison.

The slow drain turned into a stopped drain. Instead clamoring over the toilet, I chose to do the dishes in the sink, but once I was done with the sudsy water, I would suck it out with a power plunger and dump the water down the tub.

I had to keep reminding myself that there were people subjected to far worse, and that this hiccup of a plumbing issue was no big deal. A week-and-a-half of annoying sink issues was nothing compared to having no plumbing or clean drinking water. I closed my eyes, took deep breaths, and counted to ten.

It took ten hours between two days to figure out the problem.

To be continued...