Plumbing problems perturbing

Karl Terry

Plumbing problems are never a good thing but my timing is terrible.

Plumbing is critical these days, people expect me to take a bath every day and to put on clean underwear every morning. Dishes have to be washed, teeth brushed and dinner cooked. All of those things have to be accomplished with water that flows and keeps flowing through the drains.

I’m not above doing a little homeowner maintenance when the water stops flowing or something springs a leak but I’ve learned that I need to be able to take time out of my regular schedule (usually twice as long as I expected) to accomplish this act of frugality. The problems only occur when I’m at my busiest or when company’s on the way or here.

You may have heard my story about the Thanksgiving holiday weekend when my water pipes froze while my mother-in-law was out for a visit. Flushing with a bucket and no showers tends to make your mother-in-law a little edgy. When the bus arrived to pick her up after that week the sun was finally shining, it was warming up and we were all happy to part.

I told the story last winter of coming home to a flooded back yard and a fountain after one of our bad cold snaps burst a line on my sprinkler system. I had to have help shutting the water off that night and I couldn’t get out of work long enough the next day to work on the line in the daylight.

My latest addition to my list of plumbing mishaps occurred last weekend. When my wife put the leftover cranberry salad from Thanksgiving down the garbage disposal. It has gelatin in it and my wife has never mastered the exacting chemistry involved in making gelatin set up properly. We usually drink the mistakes but somehow this one took on a rather rubbery consistency.

I’ll admit the kitchen drain was probably draining a little slow but her gelatin was all it took to bring things to a standstill in the kitchen and laundry room.

I knew calling a plumber on a Friday with a storm system coming in was a long-shot and sure enough they promised to be out Monday. Meanwhile, we were slated to host a Bible-study group on Sunday.

We managed to clean the kitchen up and given a few hours the standing water in the sink would go away. I still couldn’t get all the dishes done or hidden in the dishwasher so one dirty skillet got stuck in the oven.

I thought everything was fine until one of the guests arrived with their contribution to the grazing table requiring the oven. Had to pull that dirty pan out of the oven and then the next thing that happened was someone immediately backed up the sink. All we could do was laugh about it.

After a visit from the plumber and his industrial-strength drain machine, things are flowing once again around the Terry household. If you’re on your way for a visit, though call ahead to establish the status of the bathrooms.

Oh, and you might want to bring a six-pack of bottled water.