Or what my kitchen sink taught me about patience.
I am big on DIY projects
I love to experiment. (Which accounts for the phone numbers of numerous reliable skilled people in my phone book).
I grew up with my Uncles who enjoyed tinkering with stuff. Come Sunday, and post-lunch, we’d be poring over a wall clock pulled apart, or a radio in pieces. By the end of the evening, a series of cups of tea and snacks later, whatever he had pulled apart would be put back together again, unlike Humpty Dumpty. I admired them, because it seemed like they could fix anything that was broken – leaky taps, freaky fuses, damaged furniture – everything. Almost.
I’ve sort of inherited the tendency from them. Not clocks and radios, but mechanical things. Basic plumbing, carpentry, construction work. About ten years ago, I painted our entire apartment, alone. With my six year old son and Mom for company. What fun it was! Peach for the kitchen, ivory for the living room, yellow for one bedroom, light strawberry pink for the second and ivory for the third.
I love DIY projects and enjoy trying my hand at everything. And I have the patience!
And so, life went on…until one afternoon.
I was doing the dishes. Humming to myself. Thinking about the next thing on my list. After all, washing utensils is a mechanical job, right?
Especially, not when the tube under the sink decides to stop letting the water pass through and throws it right back at you. Suddenly my feet, which I thought were safe in my bright blue flip flops, felt a rush of water.
I don’t know — have you ever felt an unexpected rush of water on your feet when you least expected it, from a source you least expected it from? It is scary. Not as much as having the carpet pulled from under your feet, perhaps, but — weirdly scary. Like having a puppy come lick your feet, especially when you have no puppy.
Well, I looked down and to my consternation, found an inch of water where there should have been dry land.
Oh well, I thought.
Blocked drain. Needs cleaning. And being a rather competent DIY project person – I consider myself one anyway – I quickly picked up a packet of drain cleaner from my store room and emptied the pack into the sink and followed the instructions, which meant adding a cup of water. It also meant I had to wait for thirty minutes for the magic to happen.
Patience is one of my major virtues – in certain things anyway.
So, I told my folks to stay away from the sink. Not a big deal since we had all just enjoyed a rather heavy lunch followed by dessert.
Half an hour later, I checked. (after checking the clock every five minutes to see if it was half an hour). I could sense the water going through — you know how the sound sounds just right. Yes. So I finished washing the rest of the dishes.
So imagine my shock when I felt yet another rush of water against my feet.
What the what! I thought. Then it occurred to me! The tube from the sink was fine. It was the beyond that was a problem. Holy whatnot!
Oh well, I thought again. I am no stranger to the nether parts. Of the sink’s tube I mean. (and the other type, too!).
I calmly encased my emergency light in clear plastic, placed it where it would shed enough light under the sink where I wanted to work without becoming damp and, bracing myself, crouched. Not easy. Full tummy still.
Not for the first time, I cussed under my breath. Why couldn’t the under-the-sink area be directly reachable? Why did it have to be in a corner making me bend myself in half? This feeling was aggravated by the fact that each time I had to get something, I misjudged the distance between my head and the sink above and received a painful knock. Several times over. I lost count. You can picture that, right? And oh, did I mention my kitchen sink is solid granite? Ouch!
So much for DIY. Hmm.
Anyway, using a large plastic cover as a glove (yes, I have plastic gloves, just felt too lazy to get them) I grabbed the pipe under the sink and pulled it out from the drain’s inlet. I had a plastic broom at the ready and holding it a few inches from the tip with the sticks bunched up, I transformed it into a thick-ish short broom with which to give the drain a vigorous stir, with the hope of dislodging whatever gunk might be causing it to block the water.
Seemed to have worked because I saw the stagnant water very slowly begin to drain. Enthused, I had a brainwave. I picked up another packet of the drain cleaner and emptied it into the drain.
I waited another thirty minutes.
Then, I turned on the tap and bending down, looked under the sink. I topped off half a mug of vinegar with water and cleaned up the area. Thinking I was almost done and only had to fix the sieve back with the tube in place, I crouched again and tried to fix it. Imagine my surprise when the sieve splintered in my hand. Crrrrunch!
Did I say I was resourceful? I am. And patient!
I remembered I had a spare sieve. All I had to do was cut a hole in it. I quickly got my toolkit out and picked up the sharp cutting pliers. Cut the hole. Passed the tube through it. Perfect fit. Love it when my DIY project turns out…. oh wait! There was a problem – the sieve was light and the tube was heavy. The sieve refused to sit on the drain.
Some more choice words later, and getting not a little annoyed, I remembered I had once bought a posh sieve we never used. But being of heavy steel, there was no way I could cut a hole in it. Deciding I could do without the hole, I set about fitting it on the drain. Not a perfect fit, but would have to do for the time being. I scrubbed the area, placed the sieve, rested the tube’s tip on it and placed a round little rock on the sieve for good measure.
You’d think that solved the problem of the blocked drain, right?
A Sunday afternoon well spent, I thought.
Did I say I love DIY projects?
My motto in life is: Try everything at least once!