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September 15, 2006

The world is nothing but an open sewer

In a stunning break from our 24/7 coverage of my psychodrama, here's something even more nauseating: What happened when I fixed the sink.

Our bathroom sink has been draining slowly for ages. Weeks. Months, maybe. We've tried putting caustic drain cleaner down it, and that helped some, but then it got worse all over again. Finally I decided that I would need to take the trap out and clean that.

Taking out the trap went pretty well, after I took out the endless mounds of crap that we somehow manage to store under the sink. Cleaning the trap out was awful, though--foul sludge and hair and horribleness. I poked it through with an old toothbrush, and cleaned the inside walls of it as well, and it was all perfectly disgusting. But on the other hand, it was satisfying, because now! My sink would work!

I washed out the newly cleaned trap in the kitchen sink, and reinstalled it, only to find: The sink still wouldn't drain properly. It was, oh, maybe a little faster. Not much. Not compared to the pile of toxic waste I'd taken out of the trap!

My new theory was that the sink pop-up thingy was somehow not seated correctly. So I went to learn about how sinks go together. I found a nice page of Easy Sink and Tub Stopper Repairs, which seemed like just the thing. I learned all about clevis screws and springs and whatnots, and I went, armed with information from the Faulty Sink Pop-up Stopper page, to fix what was wrong.

Not so much.

I undid everything and put it back together nicely, and NADA. This time, at least, I had thought to bring a bowl, so I could test the draining of the sink without putting the trap back in. Yucky water came out very slowly. My new theory was that the pop-up gizmo was *also* clogged with gunk and hair and stuff. My new theory turned out to be true, but hard to respond to.

I used another old toothbrush, and a hanger, and some (to-be-discarded) old tweezers, and my fingers, and then I really started getting somewhere. Clumps of horror came out. Everytime I though I was done? There was more. I don't really understand how that volume of disgusting substance could be contained in such a small space.

Here's what came out:


My apologies if you have a weak stomach. All I can tell you is that it smelled far worse than it looks.

Here's how things looked before I cleaned up and put it all back together:


At that point, I was getting clean water pouring freely from the sink when I turned the tap, and better yet, stopping when I turned off the tap!

I'm not sure when I've ever been prouder of a household task. It's not so much that this was complicated, but it was certainly daunting, and it was especially grody. And I stuck it through to the very end, not always one of my special strengths. And now our sink is all happy, and water whooshes through it just like it ought to.


Posted by Rose at September 15, 2006 05:29 PM


Maybe you should look into going to plumbing school. A very useful skill!

Posted by: Ellen at September 15, 2006 06:19 PM

Gah! *sets dinner aside for a moment* Clumps of wet hair are my biggest squick, I think. Can I get you to come clean our drains? :)

Posted by: neural at September 15, 2006 09:30 PM

Rose, by the way, is my hero.

Posted by: Francis at September 17, 2006 01:16 AM

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