Ode to a Stopped Drain

The night before last, my beatiful wife awakened me. I had retired before she did, and before I went to bed, I started the dishwasher. As she was sitting downstairs, she heard the sink in our bar gurgle, and water was coming up the drain. So I raced upstairs to turn off the dishwasher which drained the dishwasher instead of helpfully pausing it, but we managed to get a bucket and bail the sink before too much of the water ended up on our floor.

And it brought to mind a little ditty by Paula Abdul.

The solution for a clogged drain like this is to panic to run a cable augur, also known as a snake, into the pipes to bore through the obstruction.

The kitchen and bar sink are on the north side of the house, and the wastewater exit is on the south side of the house. The showers, bathrooms, and laundry equipment were draining fine, so I knew it was in the line running from the north side of the house to the south side of the house.

Now, I have a small augur that fits on my drill and has a couple feet of cable in it, but it’s a long way to go to the south side of the house, so we called for a plumber to come out and run a real auger into the plumbing.

I have thought about getting a real auger, at least a real consumer auger, but they run hundreds of dollars. When I was in college, the legendary Swedish mechanic (who shamed me into reading literature for fun) owned one, so my father could borrow it when he had a clog. But it’s hundreds of dollars in expense that might not pay out if I don’t get enough clogged drains (or have enough friends to borrow it from my while it clutters up a part of my garage).

You know, it’s the first clog beyond the p-trap that we’ve had here at Nogglestead. Contrast that with our experience in Old Trees, where we lived for three years: We had the drain guy out so often, we were on a first name basis with Rick and knew a lot about him (his favorite hobby and prized possession was his monster truck which he took to events and children’s hospitals).

Back then, it might have made sense to buy a full-sized auger, but if we’re only going to need to use it once a decade, it would take fifty years or more to pay out versus calling a plumber.

So no cool new power tool for me.

Just an increased watchfulness on the drains to see if they’re draining slowly because now I know that a back-up is an actual possibility from direct experience, as well as a sense of relief that we caught the back-up before the dishwasher went through its whole cycle and made a real mess. And an excuse to run a Paula Abdul video.