Monday, January 20, 2014

Ms. MacGeyver Hates Plumbing

It started with a spurt of air and water in the sink when the guest bathroom toilet was flushed.  Not every time, just some times.  I wondered if it was some quirk of plumbing that was related to the sub zero temperatures we’d had.  Dean didn’t seem to care about it at all.  I wondered if we should call a plumber.  Dean just shrugged.  But after a day or two it stopped.  It didn’t happen again for three weeks………until last night.  Last night it happened again.  And it’s not subzero anymore.  I thought we should call a plumber.  Dean wanted to “try something first.”

Have you ever wondered how people know what they know?  Men, for example.  When the spurting air and a thin spray of water began again in earnest today how did Dean know it might be related to the plumbing vent? Or that there even is such a thing as a plumbing vent?  During the epoch we’ve been married, we have never ever had air and a thin spray of water shoot up through the bathroom sink when the toilet was flushed.  Never.  So how did he know about plumbing vents?  Are men just born with that kind of knowledge?   Why aren't they born with knowing when it’s time to give up or when it’s better not to start at all?

Dean wanted to check the plumbing vent to make sure nothing was blocking it so up on the roof he went.  Down the vent went the metal coil of the plumbing snake.  All of it.  Out of his mouth came one word.   From my assigned position holding the ladder I called up that I would be happy to call the plumber.  “They probably have just the right tool to fish out snakes.”

I’ve heard the Dean Mantra “you never know, I might need that someday” for so long that I assumed a long rod with an end just right for retrieving a long string of metal would have been hiding among all the boxes and shelves and stacks and piles of junk stuff Dean hoards has collected, but  I was wrong.  The boat motor he dragged up from the old chicken house has been sitting in front of the house for six months because “you never know, I might need that someday wasn’t going to work. The old parts from the irrigation pump that have been lying by the side of the yard for nearly 18 months because “you never know, I might want to do something with those someday” weren’t going to work either.  But I found something that would not only fish out snakes but didn't come from a pile of usele ... uh, treasures.  I thought of a ski pole.  Me, I thought of it.  My plan to ski today didn’t work but I could still put the pole to use. 

 I handed the pole up to Dean but his first attempt at grabbing the snake failed because the plastic tip was too slick.  He could pull the metal coil partway up the vent pipe but then it would slip back down into the hole.  So I thought of wrapping the end with duct tape, sticky side out.  Me.  I don’t want to brag … okay, 

yes I do … I thought of that too.  And it worked.  Dean was able to push the sticky end of the pole onto the snake and push it up to the top so he could grab it – all without losing the pole down the vent as well.

But that did not solve the air/water spitting sink when the toilet was flushed issue.  And soon after we discovered the kitchen sink wasn’t draining either.  I offered to call the plumber again but Dean wanted to snake the sink.  But before that he wanted to snake the shower which hadn’t drained very well the night before.  After that he snaked our bathroom sink.  But there were still gurgling noises and spurting air when the toilet was flushed only now it happened with all the sinks and both toilets, not just the guest bathroom.  On top of that, the toilets drained slower and slower with each flush.

Again I offered to call the plumber but Dean wanted to snake the guest room toilet first just in case that would solve everything.  It didn't.  I really wanted to call a plumber but Dean thought he should snake our our toilet first so he would know if that was the problem area.  Maybe that would take care of it and we wouldn't have to call a plumber at all.  So he tried, but the snake wouldn’t go very far.  He pulled it out and I said “let’s just stop and call the plumber.”  But he wanted to try again and this time he really worked at it and got the snake to go much further although it still didn’t get rid of any of the problem.  I offered to call the plumber again.  I had my phone in my hand.  But Dean wanted to check one more time to see if he could find a clean-out drain.  So down to the basement we went again.  Nothing.  Down to the crawl space we went again.  No clean out drain – but now there was a big puddle of water that had not been there before.  “I must have broken the seal on the pipe when I forced the snake down our toilet.” 

This time I didn’t ask.  I called the plumber.  But today is, of course, Sunday so I left a message begging  asking politely if we could be first on their list tomorrow morning.  Then we went to the brewery and drank beer, which may not have been the wisest decision considering the antique outhouse in our yard is not sitting over a hole. 

At least for tonight it gets dark early, we live outside of town with a lot of trees and bushes, most of the snow has melted, it’s not subzero, and I have a flashlight.




Jerry Thompson said...

It's a guy thing

Leslie said...


Melissa said...

I think your first mistake was mentioning there might be a problem. I usually wait to do that until after I have called someone! :)

Abby said...

That's a lot of snaking.