Last week our kitchen sink started draining slowly.
Tuesday night I walked out to the kitchen to discover Jason under the kitchen sink, removing pipes.
"It's not draining. Clog somewhere." And then he pulled off a pipe, releasing a lot of gross kitchen water onto the kitchen floor.
We will not discuss why there wasn't a bucket there to catch all the water from the pipes. That is, shall we say, water under the floorboards, er, bridge.
Despite using a plunger to move the clog into a less stubborn position, and despite removing the pipes, no clog was discovered. I feel like it should be a rule that if you go to all the work of removing the pipes there should be something you can take out of the pipes.
So, pipes reassembled. Water is run. Water sits in sink. Multiple homemade draining solutions are attempted (via Pinterest), but, indeed: Pinterest fail. Plan made to get Liquid Plumber in the morning.
Wednesday afternoon, I pick up some heavy duty/this will practically melt your pipes/guaranteed to work Liquid Plumber.
I poor the goop down the sink, which has by now slowly emptied of all the water that was sitting in the sink the previous night.
Because I believe that if a little is good, a lot should be better, I pour the whole bottle of goop down the sink and let it sit there for awhile, hoping that it will realize the error of its ways and apologize for the inconvenience it has caused by way of allowing water to once again flow freely through the pipes. I even pour boiling hot water down the pipes--per the bottle's recommendation--only to discover the water is draining even slower than it was before.
I'm not convinced that I allowed the Liquid Plumber to sit long enough, so I wander over to Mom's house to see if they have any. They do not. They also do not have a (plumbing) snake that we could push down the pipes to move the clog.
I'm not willing to get caught up in a power struggle with my kitchen sink, so I make plans to call a plumber.
Before I call a plumber, however, I wander outside to enjoy some sunshine. And because we are nothing if not crazy/resourceful, I see my mom walking towards our house with her heavy duty leaf blower.
"I'll need your help," she says. "We're going to blow the clog out."
Allow me to paint the picture for you: my mom standing in our kitchen with the leaf blower's engine slung over her shoulder (it's contained in a backpack) as she points the nozzle towards the sink. Since we have a double-drained sink, I'm hunched over one drain, my hands covering that hole so that water won't come spraying out that way.
My mom starts the engine, and things momentarily go flying throughout the kitchen. Then the air is directed down the sink, and we briefly think it might work.
We had not accounted for the air gap required for the dish washer.
You see that little white stumpy thing on the right side of the sink? That's where air needs to flow to allow the dishwasher to drain properly. It's connected somehow to the pipes, so even though high velocity air flow may go down one drain, and even though a highly capable person may be covering up the other drain, water can still go up up up that air gap.
That water can then spray all over your kitchen walls, kitchen cabinets, kitchen countertops, and unsuspecting individuals just trying to lend a helping hand.
Granted, it's not toilet water. But it's not clean water either.
After the leaf blower failed to budge the clog, my mom packed up her gear and said, "Well. We tried. Good luck cleaning up."
I call a plumber, and schedule one to come out. We'll have to pay extra because it's after hours, but I don't care. Oh, but wait. We live where? That's an extra $40. So I call a different plumber, and he'll come out the next day.
Meanwhile, Jason gets home from soccer practice, bringing more Liquid Plumber and some gadget that attaches to a garden hose and can blast the clog out with water.
He once again disassembles the pipes--prepared this time with a 5-gallon bucket. He goes outside, and I take the hose with its special attachment and put it inside the pipes. Jason turns the water on, the special gadget inflates so that water doesn't come spraying back out at me, and we blast water for 30 seconds into the pipes.
Since the water is going into the pipes we assume the clog has been cleared. I tell Jason to turn the water off.
He turns the water off, and for whatever reason, all that water we blasted into the pipe comes spraying out at me. Gallons and gallons of water.
Jason misunderstands my scream as a signal he has turned the hose on rather than off, so he turns the hose back on (thinking he's turning it off).
Water water water water. EVERYWHERE.
Fortunately, I had thought just a tiny bit ahead and figured out that in case of an emergency I could always pinch the hose and stop the flow of water. I finally do this, and then direct the hose over the 5-gallon bucket and get Jason to turn the hose off.
The sink remained clogged.
Where did all that water go? All that water pouring into the pipes but not into the pipe where the clog was? We start pulling out drawers and opening cabinet doors to follow the pipes. We see one pipe going down under the house, and one pipe going...up. Up to the roof. Another air gap.
We had hosed off our roof, and then when the hose was turned off, all that water that went up, came rushing back down right into me.
We make one last ditch attempt to at least make sure the line is cleared from the sink to the spot where the pipe goes down.
A tube, a wire hanger, an overly optimistic wife saying, "Don't worry. That wire won't get stuck in the pipes."
The plumber came the next day, and to the tune of nearly $400 vacuumed out nearly 10-gallons of crud--and one relatively new wire coat hanger--that had compacted in our drain over the past 40 years.
Who knows exactly what final piece managed to finally complete the dam that blocked the flow of water.
Some mysteries just don't need to be solved.