Home Repair
Home Repair
by Don Asher

Of course, you can take this home repair stuff, too far. My bathtub was stopped up, so I thought, hmmm... plumbing. I haven't had any fun with plumbing since I came and bought this place. (My summer dream home; a trailer of my own in Gerlach, Nevada.)

So I put about half a can of Drano down the spout, to no avail. I put in some, and it didn't work, and some more didn't work, so I just kept putting in some more. I was just wondering what the consequences of putting half a can of Drano in your bathtub are if it DOESN'T come unstuck.

This one did not come unstuck, so I was looking at a toxic waste dump right in my own bathroom. I read the can: Use 1 tablespoon. If that doesn't work, remove all water and use 1 tablespoon again. Under no circumstances should you attempt to use Drano more than twice on the same problem. Call a plumber.

Oh, boy, I thought. I am the plumber. I put MORE water in the tub, and then used a towel to remove all of it. It didn't burn, so I figured I'd live. Then I started over with the Drano. Still no luck. I put in a few gallons of water and worked it over with the plunger. Still no luck.

So I went outside and took the cover off the bath plumbing. I saw that the trap wasn't very close to the tub at all, so the Drano couldn't do its job. I also saw the vent pipe headed for the roof. Hmmm... I put the ladder on the trailer, and climbed up with a hose, and ran the hose down the vent pipe. I'll work this plug from both ends, I thought, using blasting water as a makeshift snake. That didn't work, and I assumed it was because the water could too easily run down the drain instead of against the plug.

So I did the only thing left to do: I took out the trap. It was a nasty tight little job, right up against the incoming water pipes and surrounded by fiberglass insulation and five million spider webs when WHAM! I got the shit bit out of my little pinkie by a spider. FUCK YOU, I thought, ripping my hand out of the hole. I had five little bites all up close together. Just the other day in the bar a drunk showed me a hole in his calf made by a brown recluse. Shit, I thought. But it didn't hurt further, nor swell up, and a careful monitoring of my CNS didn't reveal anything but maybe one cup of coffee too much and a little more excitement than I needed this morning. So back to plumbing.

I snaked out the trap with the hose, and I thought, damn, that was easy. Maybe the problem was further up the pipe after all. The only thing left was 10" feeder pipe, straight as an arrow shaft. How could that be it? I wondered. I went back inside, and sure enough, the damn tub was still half full of water. Then I saw it. The little doohicky under the bath spout. Up means stopper, down means flow. It was pointing up, sure as Jesus.

I pushed it down and all that water headed south as if pulled by suction. Because all those pipes were sure clean now.

The Art of Being Human

Email: artofbeinghuman@yahoo.com