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Three score and ten or more

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The last couple of days have been days of education.

I have been complaining about DSL and we discovered late Thursday evening that the network cards in all my computers but my laptop had been fried. I was promised that a tech from the ISP would show up the next day with a USB cable, and drivers that would make a couple of computers work till I could replace the network cards. For one reason or another, it didn’t happen and I got so frustrated I completely forgot that Friday afternoon is one of my sessions of physical therapy to try to make my shoulder spurs less painful. I missed the session, so there went some money down the drain.

So, Friday afternoon I bought a couple of network cards from Office Max and with some help from second son, they were installed (but not in my computer). We went along messing with these while Janet made a favorite pasta dish for supper. “Oh Darn” came the call from the kitchen and I went in to find the trouble and discovered that she had opened a package of pasta, dropped it in the boiling water without paying much attention and when she turned to look at it, it was full of small bugs (which were now floating in the boiling water). Without even checking to see if it was “al dente” she switched on the garbage disposal turned on a stream of water and dumped the pasta into the disposal. We learned lesson number one (or two or seven, I still have got to learn to count), that our garbage disposal does not react well to pasta, and the pipes clogged completely. Just then the dishwasher began to empty and the clogged drain filled the kitchen sink with—Oh, you know.

Clearing the clog became my task. The pasta has not “stuck” in the disposal, but in the pipes below, so I first tried a plunger, then two plungers. The pasta somewhere below us just chuckled, and all the teeny pieces chopped up by the disposal linked arms and said. “Nanner nanner noo noo,” or “ Bleaathh” or whatever teeny pieces of pasta say in defiance. I then went to Lowes and bought a large container of industrial strength drain cleaner (that, according to the label would clean my drain without eating the innards of the garbage disposal). This drain cleaner would pour through standing water and clean out and dissolve “anything organic”, which I assumed included dead and ground up pasta. When I inserted a funnel into the drain, through the standing water (as per directions on the package) and poured it , it just sat there and stared at me, foaming a little but otherwise performing like a left handed mechanic in a right handed car. I shrugged and we sat down to eat the pasta (from a differed package). After the meal was finished, and following another a half hour of under the breath profanity seeing that the drain cleaner had not done a thing, I returned to the plungers, succeeding only in coating a fair amount of my upper body in caustic solutions. “Oh Well”, says I, “Its bed time, surely the drain cleaner just needs an overnight opportunity to do its job.” And off to the shower and then to bed I went.

Early this morning I got up to go to my water aerobics class, but my dear wife just was not able to go with me. She has been taking medication that nauseates her, and she didn’t sleep well last night so she just groaned, and I tucked her in and tiptoed into the kitchen to see how the drain cleaner had worked. Now, not only the ground up pasta in the pipes were shouting “Nanner nanner noo noo” so was the foamy water mixed with drain cleaner in the sink. Back to the plungers, and I was busily plunging away when I felt moisture on my toesees. Looking under the sink, I discovered that all that plunging had forces some of that toxic water out of the stand pipe and under the sink.

After removing most of the stuff under the sink (mostly cleaning chemicals, and pads for the “Twister” mops and stuff like that), disposing of whatever was package in paper and sorting the rest, I came to the conclusion that it was time to remove the traps and go into the pipes with a “pipe snake”. Of course first I had to bring in the wet and dry vacuum cleaner and suck up all that caustic water (even to stick it down the drain and see if I could move the clog (wherever it was). The drain cleaner advertising was right about dissolving anything organic (except pasta) because it dissolved the filters in my wet and dry vac very effectively. Fortunately we got the water out first. My next step was to remove all the sink traps, all of which were clear, as I thought they would be (just my luck that the clog was beneath them and they had refused to trap it, as was their task)
I worked my way down to the stand pipe (which was full of water and required a new filter in the shop vac, and some more water was sucked up. I then inserted the sewer snake. The one I had was too thick to go in all the way, so I went back to Lowes and bought a smaller one. Alternating snaking and sucking up the contents of the pipe with the shop vac, we finally cleaned the pasta out of the drain. Disposal ground pasta looks much like a lot of small maggots or large rice mixed with a lot of grassy looking stuff.

After washing out the shop vacs (actually used two, one with a small hose and one with a large hose and lots of power), replacing the filters, re-installing all the plumbing and testing it, the drains are draining smoothly, we will never toss pasta into the disposal again, sometime tomorrow I will put the cleaning chemicals and other stuff back under the sink, and, now, I am going to take a shower and go to bed. (Oh, while I was plumbing, number two son put a third card into the third computer so that all computers are now on line. Whee, my withdrawal symptoms are leaving fast)

Nighty Night..


At 7:50 AM, Blogger Ed Abbey said...

That sounds more like an odyssey than a blog story. Right up there with the Iliad.

Whenever I do a home project like that, I figure on getting every tool you think you'll need, fill up the rest of your arms with other tools, and you will still need to make three trips back for more tools plus a trip or two to the store for parts. You've proved that theory right.

My condolences.

At 4:53 PM, Blogger Gayle said...

I know it didn't seem funny at the time it was taking place, but this post was absolutely hysterical!

You have a wonderful gift for taking a horrid experience and turning it into an interesting and humerous read, and I promise you, I shall never, ever throw pasta down a garbage disposal!

At 4:55 PM, Blogger Gayle said...

That was supposed to be "humorous" but I'm still laughing and I guess I can't spell and laugh at the same time.

At 7:47 PM, Blogger Kathleen said...

Funny, funny. I think I loved the tale much more than you loved the "odyssey."



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