Coffee Share 190316

coffee in white ceramic mug
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This is a Weekly Coffee Share hosted by Eclectic Alli.
Alli manages a weekly list of posts from a small group of bloggers who want to just stay in touch, chat about blogging, writing, travel, photography, children, pets, work, life hacks or just about anything else that might be of interest.
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Link to my Story Blog.   Come share a laugh with me.

Having survived another busy week at work, I hesitate some to tell you that spring has arrived to our part of northern California. The plum tree is in full bloom and now we need the bees to find it and the wind to not.  I know that many of you still have snow, but, trust me, your spring is coming.

alligator lizard 2While doing a minor pot upgrade to a small plant I’m trying to keep alive, I saw our first alligator lizard and these guys are always welcome here.  S/he looked young and darker colored than last year’s family but no matter – they are all welcome.

What is not really welcome is home plumbing maintenance. I don’t have much hair anymore, but one son and both daughter and wife have plenty and our bathroom sink drains live in constant risk of clogging due to their stray hairs exercising their 1st amendment right of free assembly. Like any other such congregation – terrible traffic jams result and thus need to be dealt with.

If you have this problem – today, I have a plumber-free solution for you. I know, this is a weird item for the coffee share, but it appeals to me and may both help you and save you a handful of money.  All you need is:

  • some drain cleaner,
  • a simple plunger,
  • a damp wash rag.

Okay – you might need a strong stomach too, because your sink is briefly going to get very messy – but it will almost self-clean up quickly and leave a drain all cleared out and your water will drain quickly and freely as designed before the hair creature made a nest there.

clogged drainYou most likely know that there is a certain shaped pipe beneath each of your sinks. It looks like this photo and I’ve added in where the hair creatures like to build their nests. They make use of both all the hair they can grab and any sticky soap or lotion-like substance you try to wash away.

If you have a drain valve to fill the sink with water, there will be a device in the pipe that will collect hair near the tops as shown, but all drains have a trap (that “J” shaped pipe used to save enough water to be a barrier to both smelly gas and small critters that can come up from the plumbing further down the system) so this is why plumbers use that “J” shaped pipe and why it’s called a trap.  If you did not know this — I apologize for  the disturbing mental image.

So – how to get rid of these creepy slimy hairballs?  You could use a tool called a “snake” but you either have to own, borrow or buy one and they are something of a fuss to use.  You could call a plumber but there goes your paycheck for the week, or you could take the trap apart, but trust me, you will have a gross wet mess to deal with not to mention a touchy re-assembly task.

liquid plumberYou could just dump some drain cleaner down and this will break up some of the clog and buy you another few weeks or months of acceptable drainage – or you can use my system that costs much less than a plumber, is less messy and gets much more of the clog.  The best part is that — almost anyone can do it.

Here is what you do: Read all the steps below through before trying.  It’s easy, but for some, they may not be intuitive so the full explanation below will help you do it right.

(1) Pour in your favorite drain cleaner and let it sit as directed.  That stuff slowly dissolves the clog.  At least in America, the acidic ph of this brew is pretty tame because the stuff that works faster is not safe for American pipes or even Americans apparently, so multiple applications may be needed.

The drain cleaner will direct you to wash everything down after some amount of time has passed, but instead I;

(2) Check the water level in the sink.  If you still have pooled water that won’t drain, you’re ready for step 3..  If you don’t have water backed up in the sink, then you need an extra step;

(2b) Close the drain valve or push in the plug that may be hanging nearby and run the tap to build up about 1/3 to 1/2 a sink full.  The plunger needs to be underwater to do its job

Sink-Overflow-Hole(3) Grab the damp wash cloth (actually, a heavy plastic bag works too) and I cover / plug the overflow hole(s with your wash cloth covered finger(s) so almost no air can pass through it.  Make sure you don’t skip this step because the whole effort will fail if you don’t plug that overflow.


(3) Next, grab your plunger and, with the overflow hole(s) blocked, open the drain plug if you had to close it then put your plunger into the water at an angle to not capture much air and seal it around the plugged drain at the bottom of the sink bowl. Give the plunger several pushes up and down.  You should feel some resistance, and when you remove the plunger, you will see some to lots of muck breaking loose and coming up into the sink.  A strong stomach here is helpful, because you will be amazed,  maybe even mortified at what comes up.  If you sense a wave of disgust – you did well my child.  Just run the water and wash it all back down the drain which should now drain much faster.  Recall that you want to wash away all the loose crud way down at the trap, so use lots of water

What’s happening is: the drain cleaner broke up only some of the clog, but all of the loose stuff was still in the drain.  The plunger and the plugged overflow creates a closed space with loose crud at the bottom and some water both before and after the plug.  The plunger action yanks all the water and loose crud back and forth (because water hates to compress) in the drain which knocks a whole bunch more crud loose.

You will most likely be amazed and maybe grossed out.  Bring your young boys in for a show they will rave about to their friends.  Some of your young girls will enjoy the show too, but most will loose their appetite for several days and vow they will never use that sink ever again.

When you wash it all down, your drain is in much better shape and the time you’ve spent working on it was very short.  You only poured in the drain cleaner, let it sit, plugged the overflow, plunged a few times, gagged and rinsed.  Repeat this cycle once or twice more and you will have almost a new set of pipes down there.

You will certainly want to wash the sink well with some sterilizing cleaner because because you are cleaning both the sink and your mind of the memory of what came up. Your friend, the plumber, won’t be too happy because that boat he wanted to buy will just have to wait, but you’ll be back to your writing almost as fast as if you did call the plumber do the job.

On the other hand, maybe you rent your home.  In this case, call your landlord and request a visit from him with his plunger in hand ready to earn his rent for the month.

Now, honestly did any of you know this easy trick before? Thanks again for stopping by.  Did you post your coffee share yet?  I’ll straighten up here some and be by your place for a visit in just a bit.


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Gary photo n bio

7 thoughts on “Coffee Share 190316

  1. My husband, fortunately, handles the plumbing problems. I am so very grateful! My hair is shorter than my husbands (cut to 3/8″ every six weeks), but even so there is an occasional drain clog. Mostly, we take the Scampers to the groomer’s for baths. Now, THEY have long hair!

    I have learned to put every bit of fat and food particles that I can into the garbage rather than into the dishwater, which has stood us in good stead.

    Love the picture of the lizard! In my younger years I had both a tortoise and an iguana as pets, before my time was too occupied by work to provide adequate care. I do enjoy the wildlife that finds our yard and escapes the dogs’ attentive curiosity.

    Have a great week!


  2. Your writing voice always have me smiling. I haven’t had a clogging problem in the house we live in now, but growing up, we constantly had this issue (older house.) I hope many bees finds you plum tree! You need to post a picture of it next week 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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