When you live in a household with women, you get used to drains that run slow. If you're an independent woman, you also get used to cleaning them on a regular basis. Sometimes, it's an easy job. Sometimes, you wish you'd called Mr. Rooter.
The other night, I was finally frustrated with my bathroom sink drain. It was running slow and despite the fact there was no visible hairball, I knew it was time to tackle the plug. I'd had the plumbing all checked out the year before so I knew that wasn't it. (It's running fine, I was told to clean out the hair more often. AWKWARD.) Although, I did drop hot wax down the drain earlier this month, so that might have helped.
I decided to get serious with the drain. No more putting it off and hoping it would get better. I got all the necessary tools out. Paper towel? Check. Draino? Check. Screw Driver? Check. Pliers? Check. Plunger? Check.* Ready!!
First, I unscrewed the plug to the drain. Inspected it for hair. Nothing. Then I ran hot water, however, it did what hot water has been doing for a few weeks -- it made a puddle that didn't drain. Trying to find the source of the stick, I stuck a screw driver down into the drain and poked around. It didn't help. There was nothing to grasp with the pliers, so I left them. Onto the plunger.
I cleaned off the plunger with extra hot water just in case. I mean, I clean it after any use, but who wants pooh particles in the sink? Not me. After I cleaned it to a satisfactory level, I started plunging the drain. I figured, if it wouldn't go down, I would bring it up. Side note: THIS IS A BAD IDEA. FOR EVERYTHING.
It would not work. I could not get the right seal. I finally realized there is a breather hole in the sink -- I think to prevent run off or something. So, I bunched up paper towel and blocked the hole. That worked much better. Plunge, plunge, plunge. The water drained a bit, but nothing much happened.
Plunge, plunge, plunge. Suddenly, BLACK SLUDGE and DIRTY WATER. I panicked a little, I will admit. I ran hot water and tried to force the sludge back down the drain. Nothing. Except, of course, MORE BLACK SLUDGE. It was now coming up the sides of the sink forcing the issue of boundaries and proper cleanliness for a bathroom. The breather hole was now desperately needed.
I decided to dump the rest of the bottle of Draino into the sink. I read the instructions, poured the amount in the drain and set my alarm. What? It said wait 15 minutes and I didn't want to get distracted. The drain slowly went to work. There was still BLACK SLUDGE, but there was less of it. At the alarm, I poured hot water down the pipe as instructed and waited for the result. The result was many, many BUBBLES. There I was, trapped in the bathroom, about to have an involuntary BLACK SLUDGE and BUBBLE bath.
I let things settle for a bit. I ran the water slowly to avoid more bubbles and to try and encourage the Draino experience. While the water ran, I plunged as though that plastic cup was the only thing between me and the LIKELY DEATH BY BLACK SLUDGE. Finally, through the bubbles, I thought I saw draining. It was glorious.
It took me about 45 minutes to clean up the mess I had inadvertently made by trying to be handy. And it was about another hour before all the bubbles disappeared. I held my head high though. I had conquered as an independant woman. I had defeated the BLACK SLUDGE OF DOOM.
Imagine my terror the next morning, when I noticed the bathtub wasn't draining well.
*Yes, I am fully aware these are likely overkill and not necessary to the plumbing job. But, these are my tools. Shut it.