Time for Saturday breakfast fun reading with Tom. Every so often, we all have sink drains slow down.
As Mr. Fixit, I thought I had a firm grasp on the reality of keeping the drains moving freely.
Several tactics have worked to varying degrees over the past years, and I am getting old enough to forget which one I did last time, so every time a slow drain presents itself to me is something of a new experience.
Tonight, the approach was the lazy-man approach, which is to throw some drain cleaner down that slow-moving aperture.
The directions said wait 15 minutes, so I got lost watching the news and flipping through the channels until my wife reminded me that it was more than 15 minutes.
Actually, it was an hour and a half, but she is patient with me.
I went up and flushed the bathroom sink with hot water, as per the instructions.
The drain was even slower after my better living through chemistry.
The next approach is to get the plumber’s helper. I have a urethane plunger that is used only for sinks. I save it in the basement for just such occasions.
The secret weapon in hand from its secret lair in the basement, I marched confidently up to the offending sink. I put some water into the sink, to give the plunger some proper suction on the drain and commenced to a-plungin’.
This activity brought forth some nasty black slime. I stopped, let it drain and removed the drain and thoroughly cleaned out the drain stopper and drain, as far as my skinny fingers would allow.
Now, I have a pretty solid stomach, in the sense that I do not get nauseated and have not thrown up since getting seriously inebriated many moons ago. Tonight, I got close.
It was only really chunky black slime mold and was something that cleans up, but it was nonetheless something akin to what freaked me out as a 5-year-old when my ever-loving mother took me to see “The Blob.”
So, back to plunging: The more I plunged, the more stopped-up the drain got.
I installed the drains new just a couple of years ago and I knew there was no issue downstream from the trap, but I was starting to have delusions of getting a garden hose up the second floor and pushing all that nasty slime right down the drain.
But, hey, that is impractical. And now the flipper mechanism was dripping because I loosened it to get the drain out and the sink was not draining.
And all that stuff under the sink was getting dripped on—not with fresh water, but the MUTANT SLIME WATER WITH BLACK SLIME! YIKES!
In a frenzy of Type A action, I flung everything out of the sink cabinet and sopped up the radioactive biological waste.
Back to plunging, and the drain gasped and let go its fetid post-Halloween mess.
I hit it a couple more times to make sure there wasn’t something lurking off to the side of the drain ready to spew forth in a surprise attack.
Then with Lysol in hand, I proceeded to decontaminate the entire area.
About a half-hour later, I am sure my wife was wondering what to expect after I told her to stay away until I was done.
I do that from time to time. She knows that it is never good when those words are uttered.
I do not like to use chemicals in drains. I think that the slime has mutated from chemical use. But I started using it only recently and the slime was here before.
The answer is to clean the drains regularly and not wait for the slime uprising that we all get to step up to and fight.
Real men don’t call plumbers for this problem. Real men have a standby plunger and a bottle of Lysol. And they throw a little bleach down the drain once a week if there is slime kicking about.
There will be more about slime in the future. It is such a fun topic for Saturday mornings.
Questions for Tom Gocze should be mailed to The Home Page, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402-1329. A library of reference material and a home-project blog are at www.bangordailynews.com/thehomepage.html.