By: Martianne Stanger
What is it about my life and plumbing issues? Honestly. Ever since we moved into our home eight years ago, we have had leak after clog after… oh, just name the plumbing issue and I bet we’ve battled it. Let me tell you, if it weren’t for Google, YouTube, and places like Lowe’s, our home’s plumbing issues probably would have driven my family into homelessness. I mean, our mortgage is challenging enough. Add constant plumber fees to the mix and we’d be too in the red to keep the house. Luckily, I have NOT had to call a plumber for every issue we have faced and, thus, have been able to divert hard-earned cash to things like food and electricity instead of flushing it down the toilet – that is, once a plumber gets the toilet to flush!
Until last Thursday, I thought that I had mastered plumber-free fixes to clogged toilets. Ever since I found a simple everyday ingredient to get our toilet to flush, I have not worried much whenever the kids (and the erratic household plumbing) cause issues. This is a good thing, since the kids (and the erratic plumbing) keep causing issues. And, by golly, those issues happen at the most inopportune moments. When I am in the middle of messy, squishy, sensory bag making with the kids, I could really use a working bathroom sink for the kids to wash up in and a potty for them to run to as needed. Or, at the very least, not to have to be playing plumber beneath said bathroom sink and battling yet another monster clog in the toilet while we finish up said messy sensory art experience.
Yet, alas, it was just these two things I found myself doing the other day… Fighting clogs in the bathroom sink and the toilet at the same time. And, woe to me, neither wanted to give. That’s right. None of my old DIY plumber tricks worked. Google and YouTube offered hope until I realized the guy who lived here before us jerry-rigged our pipes and there was no way to take the trap off the bathroom sink pipe in order to clean it out, unless I wanted to break out a saw, a tape measure and some new piping. And, to my chagrin, Facebook pleas to friends brought sympathy, but no surefire way to secure victory over our household’s bathroom seat nor sink.
I gave in and called a plumber. As fate that day would have it, the plumber stated that he only took cash and that he could not come by until the following day. We had no cash on hand. And, there was no way I was going to be collecting my kiddos’ poop and pee in a baby potty all night. So, unless I wanted to invade Grammy and Grampy’s house for the night with my entire family, I knew I had to keep at my role as Mommy-Plumber.
Well, you know what they say about insanity? How insanity is doing the same things over and over and expecting a different result? That pretty much sums up the next few hours that I spent that day. Hot water. Plungers. Dish soap. Disassembled and reassembled stoppers and pipes. Repeated. No luck. I took many deep breaths and prayed as I tried each of these tactics more than once, all the while facilitating a kids’ craft and reminding the kids to only go in the baby potty and not in the real one. Still no luck.
At wit’s end, I finally did what any insane mother/don’t-wanna-be-but-have-to-be-plumber would do. When a friend called to ask if she and her kids could come sledding, I said, “Sure, why not? Just go potty and wash your hands before you get here, because there is nowhere to do it here.” My friend is a great friend, so she was happy to comply. With entertaining her and her boys as a diversion, I was able to ignore our problem for several blissful hours while getting the fresh air that I (and my children, of course) desperately needed.
Then, when we came back inside – miracle of miracles! The toilet had miraculously drained. Dashed hope of dashed hopes. When I flushed it, it did not do so again. But, I would not be beaten! I stuck to it. And, to tell the truth, I am not sure exactly how I got the toilet working again. But, I did. Maybe it was hot water AND plumbing AND dish soap AND prayer AND… I don’t really care. It’s been flushing regularly now for a few days and I am just happy about that.
And the sink? The final fix for that, I know. It was an enormous home science experiment. I dumped a HUGE amount of baking soda down the sink, packing it in. Then, vinegar. Oh, what a fizzy volcano it became before – whoosh – clear pipes! So, baking soda and vinegar are now added to my plumbing arsenal.
Have you stocked up on bathroom baking soda and vinegar to battle your next plumbing issue? What other tricks work for you?