It happened like this...

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Blog entry by Builder_Bob posted 05-24-2011 08:46 PM 3595 reads 0 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So it all started Saturday when my wife started to make a tuna fish sandwich that we could split for lunch. Opening the can revealed a slurry of tuna paste and oil, not very appetizing. It went down the disposal and the sliced ham came out of the fridge.

Not to be deterred from our omega-3 fatty acids, she made a great swordfish meal with squash and white rice. A spritz of lemon, a slice of dark bread, a glass of Chardonnay, and we had a lovely dinner.

I took on cleanup duty, saving the swordfish pan with its nasty swordfish skin for last. Finally I stuffed everything into the disposal and topped it off with the leftover lemon rind to sweeten the deal. Whirr gargle gargle, whirr gargle gargle, where is that ending whirrrrrrrrr that indicates an empty disposal? Oh, oh. Shut off the disposal and the nasty stuff comes right back into the sink.

I’ve been through this before. Old house, old plumbing, never designed to have a disposal. Those lemon rinds were probably the “stopper” that did the trick. Out with the plunger add hot water and try to set up enough pressure waves to push things along. Hmmm, a lot of water went down the drain, but the blockage is still there. Where did that water go? Oh, oh, open the door and yep, sure enough, the nasty water went into the dishwasher.

This is a new trick. Usually the blockage is between the sink and the dishwasher. This time my attempts to get things going just filled up the dishwasher. I’m not going to panic. I can play the waiting game. I’ll just let this sit overnight. The water should slowly drain out through the blockage leaving the pipe dry.

Sure enough, the next morning the sink was empty. The dishwasher was still full of water, but I expected that. The smell in the kitchen was unpleasant to say the least. I ignore the suggestions about calling the Roto-Rooter man.

In my mind’s eye I can visualize the dry pipe leading from the sink to the blockage. This is my big chance! Now is the time to mount a chemical attack! If I pour in a pile of Drano and water, it’ll go straight to the blockage and work its magic. You can’t fool an old pro like me. This is not my first plugged up drain.

Tablespoon? What are they talking about, a tablespoon. We’ll just start out with about three times that and follow it with a few quarts of water to deliver it to the blockage.

Here we go, pour in a healthy pile of crystals, turn on the water. Hmm, I love that fizzy sound. A little more water, and then we wait.

What’s that water on the floor? It’s in front of the dishwasher! What’s happening! Oooops, the dishwasher’s overflowing. Throw down some paper towels. Ok, ok, we got it all. Now just relax for a while, let the Drano do it’s thing.

Ah! I’ve got another brilliant idea. I go down to the shop and grab my little water pump that I use if I get water in the basement. Just the thing. With my wife’s help I pump the water in the dishwasher into the downstairs toilet, and voila, problem solved.

Now here’s another valuable trick. Pay attention, boys and girls, you’ll be amazed. I fill the teapot to the brim and boil up a gallon of water. Pour the whole steaming pot down the drain at once, and the blockage and the grease build up in the pipe will be washed away. Here we go! Away goes trouble, down the drain. Blub, blub, blub. Sweet.

What’s that water sound? It’s pouring out of somewhere. Check under the sink, nope. Check in the dishwasher, nope. Sounds like it’s under the dishwasher. Sounds like it’s in the wall.

If water is pouring out under the dishwasher, where’s it gonna go? Oh, no! Run down cellar.

So that’s how it happened that I got a gallon of hot, Tuna-Swordfish-Drano water poured over my lathe and wood clamps.

Roto-rooter indeed.

-- "The unexpected, when it happens, generally happens when you least expect it."

15 comments so far

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3172 days

#1 posted 05-24-2011 08:50 PM

I’m having a huge problem due to this whole “trying to laugh and cry at the same time” thing …..

-- -- Neil

View ChuckV's profile


3118 posts in 3525 days

#2 posted 05-24-2011 09:02 PM

Thanks for the great story – wonderfully told. Each step seems to make complete sense, yet the sum total is disaster.

-- “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are.” ― R. Waters

View Kean's profile


74 posts in 2559 days

#3 posted 05-24-2011 09:04 PM


-- Kean - It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye.

View Jack_T's profile


623 posts in 3029 days

#4 posted 05-24-2011 09:05 PM

That is one funny read. I do hop the lathe and clamps clean up.

-- Jack T, John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life."

View saddletramp's profile


1180 posts in 2636 days

#5 posted 05-24-2011 09:31 PM

ROTFLMAO :^)))))
Been there and done that or at least something close enough to count.
Ain’t plumbing fun?

-- ♫♪♪♫♫ Saddletramp, saddletramp, I'm as free as the breeze and I ride where I please, saddletramp ♪♪♪♫♪ ...... Bob W....NW Michigan (Traverse City area)

View patron's profile


13603 posts in 3339 days

#6 posted 05-24-2011 09:46 PM

back to a washtub
on the back porch maybe

sad story
hope you get it fixed soon

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View rustfever's profile


752 posts in 3308 days

#7 posted 05-24-2011 10:19 PM

Never been there! Never done That! [However, I have been known to stretch the truth a bit]

-- Rustfever, Central California

View ellen35's profile


2738 posts in 3430 days

#8 posted 05-24-2011 10:29 PM

Anyone who can find the humor in that situation is a great human being!

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View Derek Lyons's profile

Derek Lyons

584 posts in 3566 days

#9 posted 05-25-2011 12:42 AM

Oh my…

-- Derek, Bremerton WA --

View Bluepine38's profile


3379 posts in 3083 days

#10 posted 05-25-2011 03:43 PM

That old plumbing is terrible stuff. I have a friend, who is a recently retired master carpenter, cabinetmaker.
He built a beautiful shop outback, big enough that the power company was happy to run a three phase
service to it, and included a bathroom,cleanup sink that hooked up to the sewer. Only to find the sewer
pipe was old and crappy, he just finished replacing the outside sewer and all the pipe under the concrete
floor in the basement and some of the inside plumbing as well. Now he can relax in his shop and enjoy
life. Might not be a bad time to bite the bullet and replace some of that plumbing before your three days
of summer arrive in Mass, so you can enjoy the summer. Not that I have ever forgot to some plumbing
repairs until I was manning the mop and bucket, while I was happy that the big box stores with their
plumbing supplies were open late.

-- As ever, Gus-the 79 yr young apprentice carpenter

View Builder_Bob's profile


161 posts in 3057 days

#11 posted 05-25-2011 04:02 PM

We’re getting three whole days? Yipee!

-- "The unexpected, when it happens, generally happens when you least expect it."

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3113 days

#12 posted 05-25-2011 10:04 PM

what a disastre … :—)) LOL
sorry can´t help my self .. thank god i din´t have some coffee in the mouth this time
thank´s for the warning in the headline :-)
it must have been a while (years) ago since you can see the fun in it now
just as fun as when I wanted to drain around the basement to ceep it dry
and the drawings said the sewer was 1 yard away from where we digged in
when the hole was finished the last few inches of clay between the the hole and sewer colapsed
and the old sewer split wide open …. pure fun to walk around in a hole warm summer
working with concreteplastre on the basementwall ….... hmmmmm sniff in fok´s vitamins in the air … LOL

take care

View Don Johnson's profile

Don Johnson

685 posts in 2778 days

#13 posted 05-26-2011 12:34 AM

How many times have you drained the U trap below a sink into a bucket, removed the U trap to clean it, then emptied the bucket into the sink ? :-(

-- Don, Somerset UK,

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4158 days

#14 posted 05-26-2011 01:57 PM

I’m with Nbeener—laughing and crying at the same time, while holding my nose.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View helluvawreck's profile


31071 posts in 2864 days

#15 posted 05-26-2011 04:48 PM

That’s pretty funny but I know it wasn’t funny at the time it was happening. I hope you have gotten everything straitened out. However, I would sure have the plumbing checked out good between your garbage disposal and your dishwasher because any back flow from the sink to your dishwasher could be a real health hazard.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

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