Home DIY My Unexpected DIY Project. A Lesson In Patience

My Unexpected DIY Project. A Lesson In Patience

by Vidya Sury January 8, 2014 27 comments
ten things about me DIY Vidya Sury

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.

vidya sury DIY project

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!).

DIY project vidya sury 2

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!

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Sid January 9, 2014 at 12:24 am

You are indeed very resourceful and extremely patient. Loved your tryst with DIY on a well-spent Sunday afternoon. Enjoyable indeed.
Sid recently posted…One night in the Bronx

Shilpa Garg January 9, 2014 at 12:39 am

Wow! You are indeed very patient and very inspiring too!! Am in super-awe of you now! ♥
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Ruchira January 9, 2014 at 1:12 am

one patient soul indeed 🙂
loved your motto!
Ruchira recently posted…Wordless Wednesday #18

Pamela January 9, 2014 at 1:19 am

You are a DIY goddess 🙂
Pamela recently posted…More Tugs, Less Hugs

Mary Stephenson January 9, 2014 at 2:23 am

Hi Vidya

Sounds like a fun day!

Our simple DIY projects, that should require a few minutes to repair usually never turn out that way. It usually takes 4 trips to the hardware store, because the house I live in was built in 1949 and all the new parts don’t quite fit with the old plumbing. But it is a whole lot cheaper than hiring someone to do the repair. Luckily there are a couple of hardware stores within five miles.

It is nice that you are willing to get in there and give it a try.

Mary Stephenson recently posted…Just Another Day

Vidya Sury January 9, 2014 at 9:49 pm

Dear Mary, I understand! One of the reasons I prefer to try my hand at things is – our home is about twenty years old and calling the plumber for small issues surely means a big expense along with structural damage. 🙂 I only touch what I am sure of solving because we simply cannot afford to have things go wrong! 😀 Hugs.

Jairam Mohan January 9, 2014 at 4:20 am

Now that is one helluva way to spend a Sunday afternoon, beats watching some rubbish movie on TV.

Forgive my insensitivity, but I couldn’t stop chuckling through the entire post more so given that the kitchen sink decided to give you a piece of its mind by having you bop your head not once but twice on its bottom 😀
Jairam Mohan recently posted…Ophidiophobic tendencies

Usha Menon January 9, 2014 at 8:56 am

You have great patience Vidya. I used to try such DIY ideas years ago, but I was not as patient as you are. Now I call the plumber/electrician/carpenter to do fix the problems.
Usha Menon recently posted…My little sister

Seeta January 9, 2014 at 10:32 am

What an adventure you had! and oodles of patience to add 🙂
Seeta recently posted…Book Review: Sirens spell danger

Bhavya January 9, 2014 at 10:57 am

I’m no newbie in hitting my head and whatnot wherever I go, so I know how that would feel like. Hope there are no bumps there

I love what you mentioned about your uncles ripping out radios and clocks and then reassembling them. We used to do that a lot and we used to say we were performing a surgery 😛

And yes, you are one patient lady. Hats off 🙂
Bhavya recently posted…The Dancing Lights

Obsessivemom January 9, 2014 at 12:55 pm

Omg Vidya you had me laughing through it all. Just imagining you with an emergency light encased in plastic, hands encased in plastic crouching by the sink, cursing away to high glory….. Ooh I wish I were there to watch you. And man! You are patient. You painted your entire house???? That’s unbelievable.
PS: I didn’t just smile today.. I’ve been laughing.
Obsessivemom recently posted…My Little Sister

Suzy January 9, 2014 at 2:18 pm

Oh wow you do have patience and nerves of steel. I would’ve dialled the plumber and got him in to do the fixing 🙂
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richmiraclefiles January 9, 2014 at 5:48 pm

Hi Vidya
Painting hose is one thing but working on a a less than pleasant smelling sink, is quite another.
Well I admire your dogged determination,and the patience.Though working on afull tummy after a sumptuous lunch is a rather unenviable prospect.
richmiraclefiles recently posted…25 Golden Quotes On Gratitude

Kaarina Dillabough January 9, 2014 at 8:51 pm

I can just picture it, and you…and that brings a smile to my face. Cheers! Kaarina
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Vidya Sury January 9, 2014 at 9:46 pm

Kaarina dearest, I swear I thought of you, crouched there. And that inspired me. I was thinking of how you stained the exteriors of your home, and that particular photo of you poised on the roof. Oh man! Hugs! Love you!

Richa Singh January 9, 2014 at 11:20 pm

Honestly? I kind of laughed all through the way. Not to undermine your efforts or anything, that is of course top class. But I could picture you cussing, bumping your head being surprised when more to come signs are found and of course getting that rock and finally finishing the job in style 😀 This post was more about you than the DIY project for me 🙂

elle January 9, 2014 at 11:28 pm

Vidya you have this wonderful talent for making me laugh out loud. No easy feat as my hubby will tell you. I have this very stoic british sort of sense of humour, being amused by irony and the more laconic funnies. But you my dear, with your tales of wet feet and persistent DIY skills take the biscuit. Or is it cake?
elle recently posted…Hopeful people: How They Shine The Light Of Hope On Those Dark Times

Rainbow Hues January 9, 2014 at 11:54 pm

Bow down to you, lady! I can never get myself to do THIS!!

And you painted your whole house?? Now that was something…and this! Well, I appreciate how resourceful you rally are.

Yeah, try everything…at least once 🙂
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Kathy Combs (@Kathy29156) January 10, 2014 at 12:19 am

WOW, Vidya you are an amazing lady!! I am thoroughly impressed! You made me smile today as you always do. I would love to have you as a next door neighbor because I know no matter what kind of catastrophe I came up against I know you would know what to do. ♥
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ML Swift January 10, 2014 at 5:32 pm

Hey Vidya,

This made me chuckle. I can imagine seeing you crouched under your sink trying to fix the clog. I recently had my septic tank pumped out ($200) because my drains were slow…I’d stand in half a foot of water during my shower. After the pump-out, dang if they still weren’t slow. But everything worked through to the newly empty tank and now they drain free.

A lovely Sunday…aggravating, but lovely. 🙂
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Vishnu January 11, 2014 at 3:18 am

A job well done, Vidya. I am impressed!

I know nothing about any kind of DIY projects around the house. I can dial someone for help and that’s the extent of it:) And yes, I’ll make the call myself. lol

Betsy/Zen Mama January 11, 2014 at 5:30 am

You’re amazing! Loved reading your story! You used the perfect words… I could really “see” what you were talking about!! 🙂
Hope you have a more relaxing Sunday this week!!
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Proactive Indian January 11, 2014 at 3:58 pm

Wow! Painting the house, fixing the clogged sink, …!!

I know your motto is “Try everything at least once!” But, is there anything at all which you didn’t try a DIY on?
Proactive Indian recently posted…Governments for the people, or only for the ruling elite?

Vidya Sury January 11, 2014 at 4:07 pm

🙂 Yes Pro. There is. I haven’t had an Irish Coffee.
Vidya Sury recently posted…What If We Focus on Self Love?

My Inner Chick January 11, 2014 at 10:15 pm

you can pretty much Do It All!

Love you more than pink frosting on chocolate cake. Xx
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Terri Sonoda January 11, 2014 at 11:56 pm

Bless you and your patient soul. I would assume nothing less about you, my friend. You are one of those amazing women who gets things done. Wonderful post! XOXOs
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