Originally created as an email warning to my wife while at work, this was too fun not to share. Sorry, Honey.
Hey, I'm semi-retired now; I suffer,YOU suffer:-)
Be prepared for a freakin' MESS when you get home.
The (our) bathroom sink quit working entirely this morning. I noticed this after I'd showered and needed the sink to shave.
Being the creative and handy bastard that I am, I took the plunger to it.
It began to slowly drain water.
Well, if a little's good, alotwill be LOTS better, right?
So, encouraged by this ever-so-slight thread of progress, I took the plunger and attacked the friggin' sink like a man
Whatever had been slowing the flow down then chose to apparently wedge in sideways, now-completely- blocking the drain.
All I could show for a now hideously-sore shoulder and enough calories burnt, akinto a half hour romp with el numero uno, was a sinkful of
unholy looking blend of decomposed/partially-decomposed"stuff" andpipe fragments (?)that I have ever seen in my life. How do plumbers DO
this kind of work...
Well, shower over and now freshly shaven, I dressed & proceeded to the ACE Hardware store in Woodland.
The nice, older guy who works there met me in the aisle.
"Can I help you find something?"
"Yes you can" I replied, never blinking.
"You can direct me to the Thermonuclear drain cleaner or one-inch pipe bombs with waterproof fuses, whichever is cheaper."
I must've frightened him with my determined demeanor because all the poor guy could get out in the midst of stammering and stuttering was
"Aisle 14, left side."
Cool. Hope the pipe bombs are on sale this week......
What I uncovered amongst thehousehold drain openers (pfffftt!) was one SINGLE quart jug of this stuff that was in a thick plastic
container, double-wrapped in industrial plasticbags with more red lettering than black and no room for the corporation's seal who manufactured it,due in no small partto theabundance of"warning",
"Caution"and "danger" notes on it.
I gave it the nod because the word "fatal" appeared more times on this bottle than all of the others combined.
The trip took me 45 minutes. While I was there I also got a new tailpiece section with the built-in stopper, replacing the piece I'd
removed the stopper from, now 13 years ago. The absence of the metal stopper is what allowed the $10 aluminum tube of "Abreve" to fall down into the drainpipe in the first place.
This must never happen again.
Well, after getting home and carefully unwrapping my dangerous, "fatal" parcel and gingerly transporting it into the bathroom, I did
something that is/was completely out of character for me:
I read the instructions. No shit, I actually did this.
To my dismay, my newly-purchased bottle of "Concentrated Sulfuric Acid" (has a nice ring to it, does it not?) said absolutely -nothing-
about being used in standing water.Even after an hour, the funk-water remained in the sink, fermenting further, just as it had been when I left it. I now had to drain the sink. DAMN.
It would be necessary to clean everything out from under the sink to access the drain piping andremove this nastiness from both the sink
and the p-trap, so that the Thermonuclear liquid could be applied just before I could hurriedly vacate the premises, leaving the acidified piping to fend for itself.
It should be noted here that my wife collects things. As in everyTHING. There were baskets of "stuff"among the feminine products,
T-paperand cleaners. Somewhere amid all these little bottles and bags, compact cases, overnight kits and plethora of things that have no relation whatsoever to bathroom business, I'm certain I
found a bottle of shampoo, absconded from the Harrah's hotel in Reno where we stayed for our honeymoon 36 years prior.
Now I know the intrigue of Archeology. Thank you, dear.
In the instructions I read (!) that I "should place a dishpan, bucket or other catch basin, inverted, over the drain" lest the ensuing
explosion blow sulfuric-acidified funk onto the ceiling or ME.
I went andretrieved the laundry garbage can and before placing over the drain, used it as a catch-basin, loosened the pipe joint under the sink and caught the nastiness from the half-full sink
anddrain piping, thenpitched it into the toilet.
Next, to open the double-sealed, semi-legal bottle of explosive drain cleaner...
Per the instructions, I poured in approx. four ounces and let the stuff work.
Thepiping began to make noise. Gurgling sounds then emitted from the drain. I felt the pipes and almost burnt my hand insodoing. I love it
when dangerous things work, even if they don't work all thatwell....
I ran water into the sink after four or five minutes had elapsed, per the instructions.
Waterstill refused todrain. SHIT.
I then picked up the plunger, remembering the label's warning of certain death, should some of the nuclear liquid touch any part of me.
After about the second stroke with the plunger I heard a large "belch" from somewhere in the ABS piping behind the wall and the sink began
I repeated the process just for posterity's sake andsince I was "feelin' lucky", also did the other bathroom sink and the bathtub.
I wanted to do our shower drain also but alas,theentrance to the shower in out little bathroom remains blocked with the dregs of my
under-sink archaeology digs.
I will do it also, eventually.
The walls, floor, sink and countertop, as well as the new mirrored cabinet I recently installed are still covered with the funk of my
enthusiastic plunging, but I figure that'll wear off, eventually.
For now though, I have once again saved the day through mechanical resourcefulness, prompted by an unfettered sense of
I intend to replace the formerly "modified" stopper and tailpiece section with new one and then by God, I'm taking a motorcycle
Please call me when it's safe to return home and I once again have clear and uncluttered access to my favorite shitter.
Your loving Handyman
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