That Sinking Feeling

In “Anecdotal Tales”, stories will be told.  Some will be fun, some will not.  Some will be great, some will be less so.  Some stories are true, some are merely possible.  This is one of them.

That Sinking Feeling

As the water rose ever higher, so did my feeling of dread.  What had previously been a mild inconvenience was threatening to become a much bigger concern.  Events had pooled together to cause one massive problem.  Who knew a simple clog in a sink could be so troublesome?

The whole incident had started mildly enough.  I was trying to was some left over brownie mix down the sink several weeks ago and water started to circle and rise in a lazy fashion.  I let the water continue to plummet from its faucet and reached for the switch.  This was not any switch, this was my lifeline.  Pieces of pasta, pie residue, old soup; all had felt the wrath of the switch.  A garbage disposal calls out to be used and I am more than happy to respond.

When I signaled my demolitions expert to remove the blockade, a decidedly unhelpful response came instead.  “nnnnnnh”  Much like a ten year-old being woken from his nap on the couch and told that he had to get up and go to bed, all I was met with were protests.  The water did not magically clear up, the sound of glorious slurping was not heard because the clog was not wondrously removed.  All I received from my request for assistance was a lazy, ineffective, “nnnnnnh.”

I figured I would deal with the matter later.  To be honest, my dishes are washed with such infrequency that there really is no rush to tackle the next pile.  Any delay in cleaning up only meant that my cat had more food options to choose from.  So the matter went unattended.  I would attempt another salvo against the troublesome clog, but the results remained just as unsatisfactory.  All in all, the sink continued to live in a perpetual stalemate.  I would use the sink here or there; in return it would let a little water drain bit by bit.  That was how things remained on our battlefield with neither side acquiescing.  Until yesterday.

Sunday night gave me the gift of a sink full of dishes.  I tried to deny deliver of this present; it was not to be.  I emptied out my dishwasher and accepted the reality that the plates and bowls would have to be cleaned and I was going to have to be the one to wash them.  The task started out quietly enough.  I let the water stream out slowly and unassumingly.  Each dish got their time in the spotlight before being set aside.  I told myself that the dishes would get done and the clog could continue to wait for another day.  My adversary had different ideas.

Halfway through my mission, the sink raised a ruckus.  The water would not slowly drain down the sink, instead it would collect.  The water level rose and rose.  The dishes soon became submerged.  If I ceased my task and came back, eventually the water would drain.  However the sink and I both knew that it was now or never.  This uneasy accord of peace between us had reached its endpoint.  One of us was going to be victorious at the end of the evening.

I removed the dishes from the sink and set to work.  I tried flipping the switch one more time, thinking to myself, “What could it hurt?”  My ego took a hit as the first volley of “nnnh” was hurled back in response.  I opened the cabinet doors beneath the sink and pushed the reset button on the bottom.  Standing back up on my feet, I flipped the switch.  Content with the previous results, the sink once again answered with a round of “nnnnh” to mock me.

I was now set on fixing the problem.  I tried unplugging the compacter and plugging it back in to no avail.  That was when the search for the perfect tool set in.  On the bottom of my trash compacter is a six-sided hole.  With the right tool one can turn the core part clockwise and counter clockwise in case it has some sort of debris or grease causing the gears or blades to seize.  I searched through all the empty drawers for my hex keys.  Nothing.  I searched through the “piles of stuff” on the kitchen counter.  Nothing.  The short version is that my bathroom, under my bathroom sink, my laptop bag, my miscellaneous kitchen Tupperware, the cabinets, extra bags laying in my closet, my “box of things I will take to work”, my tool box, the box of things next to my toolbox, my computer desk drawers, and my dressers were all innocent of harboring my hex keys.

With my newfound knowledge of what tools were where, I set about finding a tool that would make do.  It turns out that the extender to my drill fits the hole perfectly.  But I was unable to the turn extender once it was in; there were no arms or pieces to get a grip on.  Next up I tried a standard screwdriver.  That only served to carve a small niche in the hole.  I tried a smaller screwdriver which just rattled around loosely.  Next was a slightly bigger screwdriver from my Leatherman.  That, like the first screwdriver, gave signs that it was going to carve out a larger hole.

In desperation, I went through the pile of bills that have no reason to be on my kitchen counter other than my constituent dislike of dealing with paperwork.  Sure enough at the very bottom was my set of hex keys.  One or two attempts found the right size key and the gears in the compacter started turning freely and happily.  Clockwise, counter clockwise, round and round with a dosey-do; they were fine doing whatever I asked.  I believed that I had worked the clog loose and went to turn the device back on.  Only somewhat surprisingly, nothing happened.

At this point, there were only so many tricks that this wretched contraption could have left up its sleeve.  Either the outlet was out to get me, or the breaker panel felt unattended to.  I grabbed an e-reader, plugged in its charger, and then plugged the charger into both outlets under the sink.  I soon realized the mistake of testing an outlet’s power with a device that has such a small indicator light.  I twisted and turned around the garbage can and shopping bags to try to see while the sinks piping refused to yield its mass for mine.  I was pretty sure that the light was not lit, but I thought a more definitive answer would be useful.  I went to my reading perch, acquired my lamp, and carried that bag to the kitchen.  Two plugging in attempts later and I found that the outlet was the mastermind behind it all.  Either independently, or with help from the compacter, the outlet had decided that I should pay for my unknown sins.

As outlets fail me, as they are wont to do, I head for the breaker.  I flipped switches.  In my eagerness to have the matter resolved, I flipped a few extra breakers just to be sure.  What’s that bedroom lights?  You wanna laugh at me?  BAM, no power for you.  Oh, little dishwasher.  You want in on this?  You’re right next to that compacter.  You could have warned me.  BAM, no power for you.  Oh fine, here’s your power back.  But only because you haven’t finished cleaning the dishes.  Was it spiteful?  Sure.  Was it effective?  Well, all I can say is that when I flipped all the breakers back on, returned to the kitchen, and tried the compacter one more time, all was as it should have been.  Order had returned to my humble (and cluttered) kitchen.

I think there’s a lesson to be learned in all this.  It’s been said that all you need is the right tool for the job.  I would offer that it also helps to know where that right tool is.  In addition, if you aren’t attempting the right task in the first place, the right tool will be of no use to you.  More than anything, I think the most valuable lesson to be learned from all this is an age-old one that men have been following for years:  Washing dishes just isn’t worth the effort.

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About anecdotaltales
He's a simple enough fellow. He likes movies, comics, radio shows from the 40's, and books. He likes to write and wishes his cat wouldn't shed on his laptop.

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