Regular readers of my column will probably recollect my trails and tribulations at attempting simple home repairs. Those episodes such as https://allegro63.wordpress.com/2011/02/01/lucy-and-ethel-vs-the-closet-door/ demonstrate my daughter Megan and I’s skill with home projects. As I had never undertaken anything more daunting then changing a light bulb before venturing into the big wide adventure of being single, and no longer dependent on someone with testosterone to take on such household tasks, I’ve had the choice to either live with the problem or try to fix it myself. I have been enlisting the assistance of my youngest child, only to discover her home repair skills to be only slightly better then mine.
This time I was determined to go it alone, or at least attempt it.
The sink in the master bath had been a little slow to drain for some time. It was caused, most likely, by the amount of hair that seems to leave my head on a daily basis, plus the usual accumulation of substances that go down sink drains over a decade or more. I shed, a lot, in amounts only surpassed by Megan, and the four cats. We are a hairy lot. Cleaning my bathroom is more about the reduction in the amount of hairs clinging everywhere then to the ridding of soap scum and actual dirt. It is no wonder that some got down my bathroom sink.
I was in the “I’ll just live with it” stage until Rajah, aka hellcat, scooted an earring down the sink drain. Thankfully it only got stuck partway down, but it was too far for me to retrieve it and I couldn’t figure out how to get the drain plug unstuck to get it out. The sink was still a bit slower to drain, and it was a cheap WalMart earring, so I left things at “live with it.”
Within 2 weeks the draining problem was getting worse, and I knew that fixing the problem was something not to put off any longer. But how to get the drain stopper out of the sink? It wouldn’t budge any further then the sink mechanisms would allow. At my last house, I had no such issued because the stoppers weren’t fastened to keep them in place, so I could pull them out and get out accumulated hair and gunk with no problems. Not this time. I tried unsuccessfully several times just to pull the thing out of the sink, twisting it about, from open and closed positions to no avail. My lack of plumbing skills had stymied me.
Thankfully my friends Ted and Damien came to the rescue. They let me borrow a book that contains simple instructions on basic home maintenance, with pictures no less. I found the plumbing section of the book, discovered how my drain stopper was attached, along with simple illustrations on how to disconnect it. All it took was one of those wrench things with the little screw like things you use to open or close the width. I took out everything out that was stored in the cabinet under the sink, then laying on my back with my feet wedged against the tub, I disconnected what was necessary.
The untangled myself from my contorted position, retrieved not only my earring, but about a half a pound of hair, sludge and unrecognizable bits. Then I turned on the water to see how much better the drain was working.
Helpful hint. When testing drains, it helps to have something UNDER the drain, if one has left holes open.
I then reconnected everything, and did one more test to see if there were any leaks, then put back what I had stored under the sink. The actual project took about ten minutes, and that included mopping up the puddle I had made with the first drain test. The only thing I didn’t include in my first ever plumbing maintenance project was a display of plumber’s butt. A girl has to draw the line somewhere.
Once again, I feel empowered, I feel ready to take on a bigger project, like that broken garbage disposal. Ok not quite yet. That would involve a tiny bit of electrical prowess, of which I am certain I lack. I’ll just finish painting my kitchen cabinets instead.