RSS Feed

Tag Archives: plumbing

A Truly Crappy Day

On the brighter side, I learned how to use an augur.

Yesterday went right down the toilet, figuratively and literally. Steven and I began the day with a clogged toilet. I was plunged into despair.

My new job has been aggravating the tennis elbow in my right arm and creating one in my left. I have been icing and ibuprofening, which seems to help. Yesterday I woke up wanting to ice but first spent some time plunging, which did not help the muscles. I iced and plunged, iced and plunged, to no avail.

Steven had no better luck during the day. I stopped at Ilion True Value Hardware Store (I drive through Ilion on my way to and from work). I studied the stuff you pour into toilets and looked at augurs and snakes. Most of the pour-in stuff say to not use them in toilets. Rats! I found some that did not say that and brought that and the augur I liked best to the cash register.

The nice lady there told me it is really not recommended to pour stuff into toilets, except for this certain stuff which she showed me. I realized I probably did not need to aug and pour, so decided to only get the augur, a decision the lady agreed with.

So I went home and auged (yes, autocorrect, I realize “aug” and “auged” are not words, but what else do you do with an augur?). It took a couple of tries, but at last I met with success.

After that disgusting experience, I was too tired to make a blog post. So here is my Tired Tuesday, prior to six on Wednesday morning. Judge me if you are so inclined.

Domestic Disturbances

Oh what a day!  The day was just shaping up to be difficult when I talked to my mother on the phone.  I said, with what may have been misplaced optimism, “At least it will make a good blog post!”  We shall see.

The first thing to go wrong was that the coffee maker died.  It had been sputtering along on its proverbial last legs for a while, but these things are always a tragedy when they finally occur.  I made plans to purchase a coffee maker later this morning, but I wanted to go running first, since I did not go yesterday.

And that was when things got interesting.  The toilet overflowed.  Yikes!  I plunged and plunged, hollering for Steven to come up and turn the water off (I can’t get that little handle to turn).  At last I got all the water to go down.  Steven got a mop and with the help of some dirty towels (don’t judge my laundry methods; I have enough problems today), we got the spilled water cleaned up.

This has happened to us before, most memorably on Christmas Day (I wonder if I made a blog postpost about it). What I did then was run out for a bottle of drain unclogger (we needn’t mention brands).  A couple of doses, more plunging, and our holiday was saved.  I had every reason to believe that would be the case today.

First I had a problem finding the right stuff to pour in.  So many of them said do not use on toilets!  What’s that all about?  I finally found one that said to pour a quarter of the bottle in.  Four doses!  I felt I would soon be flush with success (see what I did there?).

It was while I was waiting 15 minutes for the second dose to work its magic that I called my parents.  My father told me a useful trick: take the lid off the tank, then when you see the water is not going down, push the stopper down and the bowl will stop filling.  Genius!

If I had known how many times I was going to use that trick this morning,  I would not have been so sanguine when I hung up the phone.  However, I kept in mind the other thing my father told me:  sometimes you just have to keep plunging.

When I needed a break from plunging, I took a walk down to Collis TrueValue Hardware on Main Street in Herkimer (just  to sneak in a plug for a local business) for more stuff to pour into the toilet.  I tried something different this time.

More pouring, more plunging.  On my forlorn last pour, while I waited the 15 minutes, I asked Google how to snake a toilet.  I feared another trip to Collis was in my future.

I went upstairs, held my breath, and flushed.  And the water did NOT go down!  I plunged.  However, this time it felt different.   It took fewer plunges for the water to go down.  Barely daring to hope, I flushed again.


I cannot adequately describe my relief, joy and delight.  I flushed it again, just to be sure.  Success!

So that is my toilet story for the day.  I wonder if I can top it on Lame Post Friday.  As always, I hope you’ll stay tuned.


Flush La La La La

So I said to the clerk at Rite Aid, “Merry Christmas to you, you have to work. Merry Christmas to me, I have a clogged toilet.”

And I just realized that this would be an excellent reason for a Wrist to Forehead Sunday.  But it is not.  Once again, my perverse sense of humor comes to my rescue and I think this is awfully funny.  My husband, Steven, is less amused, but you’ll have that in a marriage.

Our toilet has been a cause of minor concern to me for some time now.  Only minor, though, because it won’t go down, we plunge it, it goes down, everything is fine till next time.  Imagine my consternation, then, when I began to plunge it this morning and it KEPT GOING UP!  I hollered to Steven, “I’m having a little problem here,” and plunged frantically.  It stopped going up before flooding the bathroom.  Some water splashed on the floor, largely whooshed out of the toilet from my frantic plunging.

We took turns plunging for what seemed like a long time.  I kept insisting the water was going down by minute amounts, which Steven could not see.  I wondered if I was kidding myself and the agitation caused by the plunging was creating the illusion.  No, it WAS going down. It really, truly was.  At last it was down to a normal level, or perhaps a little lower.  We were frightened to flush it again.  Who knows what could happen?

I remembered a time staying at a cabin in Georgia (it had all the comforts), and the toilet got clogged.  My sister Victoria plunged and plunged it in the night (these things never happen at convenient times, do they?), and I called management as soon as they were open.  They sent over a couple of ladies who poured a whole bottle of Liquid Plumber down the toilet and that was it.  Surprisingly enough, it worked.  I volunteered to go to Rite Aid for supplies, since Steven remembered they would be open.

I got store brand and read the directions on the back.  They recommended pouring half the bottle down a clogged drain, one third of the bottle for a slow drain.  We went with half and set the timer on my watch for 30 minutes, also recommended by the back of the bottle.  That was enough time for both of us to take showers and dress (my cute outfit would have been worthy of a blog post if I wasn’t writing about this).

Steven asked me to remind him which way to turn the knob to turn the water off, if it started to overflow again.  I quoted him the immortal poetry of “righty tighty, lefty loosey.”  We held our breath and flushed.  Then plunged. Alas!  Once the water had finally gone down again, I poured in the rest of the bottle and reset the timer.  By now Steven had to use the toilet again.  I suggested he go to Rite Aid and use theirs, purchasing another bottle of drain stuff, just in case.

During all this, I had phoned my parents a few times, letting them know something of our tribulations.  You see, we where expected at their house for breakfast and presents.  I wondered if that would happen.  I said that if the second half bottle of stuff didn’t work, we would pour in the entire contents of the second bottle and flee the premises.  The bottle had suggested leaving the stuff in overnight for especially stubborn clogs.

After plunging the toilet AGAIN, we did just that.  We had a lovely Christmas.  We were too late for breakfast (I ate something at home, then had a snack at Mom and Dad’s house), but we opened some presents.  Then we went to my sister Cheryl’s house for a Christmas feast.  She really outdid herself, offering an excellent repast.  We opened some more presents, had an especially yummy dessert, then Steven and I took off, in case we needed to plunge and purchase more drain unclogger.

We flushed with high hopes, then plunged in despair. However, I noticed it plunged much more quickly this time.  We flushed and plunged again.  I suggested we keep flushing and plunging, since I really did not want to show my face at Rite Aid again.  It worked!

Is anybody surprised that I just got 700 words out of a clogged toiled (someone will say, “700 of your words?  No wonder the damn thing was clogged!”) (you know who you are).  Merry Christmas!


Jim the Plumber to the Rescue

My only regret is that I don’t retain hydration enough to cry. I’m sure many people are reaching the saturation point of my litany of woes, but it is Wrist to Forehead Sunday, and it is not for the faint of heart (I, personally, am not faint of heart, but it is two sizes too small).

This morning, after sleeping in to a leisurely six o’clock, I thought I heard it raining. No, it couldn’t be raining. Too sunny out. Good. Don’t want the basement flooding again; we’ve got fans down there.

Yes, it was raining. IN MY BATHROOM!!! A strong stream of water was shooting out from a pipe on the side of the toilet. I hollered to Steven while trying to turn that little thing he showed me how to turn when the toilet backs up. Righty tighty! Righty tighty! It wouldn’t budge.

Steven tried, and it wouldn’t budge for him either. In a panic, I called our plumber, the wonderful Jim Montague from Jim’s Home Improvement (I don’t know why I didn’t give him a shout out after he snaked our toilet on Saturday). He told me to shut off the water main.

“Where’s that!” I must have sounded ridiculous, but I submit that at this point, anybody would. I found it, but could not budge that either. On the way to the main I noted with dismay that the water was pouring through our kitchen and into our basement. At least I hadn’t put the sump pump away. I quickly moved the fans, so they at least would not get ruined.

I reported back to Steven. He had given up on the other and was trying to stem the flood with a towel. I took over the towel (didn’t stop the water, but at least it wasn’t squirting into our cabinet now). He got the main shut off. Good grief!

Jim soon showed up. The man is a prince, and he even likes our dog. He found the crack in the pipe, removed the pipe and was off to TruValue in Ilion to purchase another. TruValue in Ilion by the way, is open at 6 a.m. on Sunday. In the future I may have to divide my hardware dollars between Aubucon and them.

Of course I needed to use the toilet. I did what I had done Saturday: I went to FasTrac. It was, in fact, raining by this time. Did I say raining? It was a deluge! I had the wipers on high and I still couldn’t see. I got soppingly wet just going from the house to the car and the car to the store.

Once in the store I looked out and saw that I had parked in a completely ridiculous way. Well, what a surprise! I couldn’t see the damn lines in the parking lot or anything else for that matter! I just waited for somebody to say something, but nobody did.

The same lady I had dealt with on Saturday was there. I told her of my new woes and she was suitably sympathetic. I purchased some donuts (I felt to offer Jim coffee and donuts was the least we could do) and bottled water. It had stopped raining by the time I got home. Go figure!

To come to the end of my lament, Jim got our toilet fixed and it even has better pressure than it had before. And we found out he does hot water heaters, so he may soon be replacing ours. It’s only a little more mess to clean up than before. Really, as disasters go, this one was Not So Bad.

One must write blog posts on Wrist to Forehead Sunday, after all. But as a special favor to me, please, could nobody ask, “What next?”

Jim’s Home Improvements is based on Frankfort, NY. His phone number is 315-868-4083.