I looked the part. Jeans and a tee shirt. A wrench and a bucket.
But the universe knows I’m not really a handyman, outside of the kitchen or bedroom. I’m more of a helper. Like Al on Tool Time.
It’s not that I can’t fix or install things. On a case-by-case basis, I can. I just generally require at least one more trip to the hardware store than a regular person.
I’ve installed a dishwasher that only leaked once, a garbage disposal that has miraculously never failed me, some lattice on my deck that lasted a solid five years before falling off, a flat-panel television by my basement bar with minimal wall damage, and I once fixed a washing machine. It still totally works. Seriously!
Bucket in hand, I was all ready to go. I would have charged myself $80 an hour, but I didn’t even have my ass crack showing, so I was like: I’m not paying this impostor.
“Hey Matt! What happened to your sink!?!?”
I’m so glad you asked.
You know the little plunger on the backs of faucets that move drain plugs up and down? Yeah, I somehow disconnected mine from that mechanism on the sink in one of my bathrooms and have never figured out how to fix it, so I just never did.
I needed to plug the sink to do some bathroom hygiene stuff which I really, desperately, want to tell you was because I fill up the sink to shave so I can conserve water responsibly while shaving my two-day stubble that took four days to grow.
But that’s not the reason. It’s because I needed to clean a plugged ear. (Hot, right? You eating lunch? Mmm. Don’t worry, this gets slightly grosser.)
So I press down the plug and let the sink fill up with water while I do what needs done.
It’s time to unplug the drain, only the little plunger-majingy on the faucet isn’t working, because duh, bitch, it doesn’t work!
Crap. How am I going to get this drain unplugged?
I ran downstairs and grabbed one of my old steak knives I would never be able to use again and tried jimmying it into the space between the plug and the drain surround.
It was an ineffective strategy, but I kept trying it over and over and swearing a little. The swearing didn’t help.
A moment of genius.
I grabbed the toilet plunger, because I’m totally brilliant and I figured I could create enough vacuum suction to force the drain up that way.
Three things happened really fast.
The first thing that happened was epic failure as my shitty plan didn’t even almost work. The drain didn’t budge.
The second thing that happened was that all of the totally disgusting bacteria and mildew that lives inside not-well-cleaned toilet plungers totally contaminated my predominately clean sink water, save for the remnants of my successful ear-cleaning procedure.
The third thing that happened is despite almost throwing up in my mouth, I tried the shitty plunger idea a few more times to see if it would work, and it never did, but some of the dysentery water splashed up on my vanity and got all over my toothbrush which I promptly threw in the trash and lit on fire.
The sink was winning.
I needed to think. And find a new toothbrush. And a new place to brush.
I knew I was going to have to disconnect the drain pipe and hit it from underneath (giggity), but that seemed like a lot of work and since I hadn’t contracted malaria or toilet-plunger gonorrhea yet, I wanted to give it a little more brainstorming and disease-marinating time.
Finally, it was last night, and my son would be home the following and there’s no way I could let him see this, so it was time to take action.
A ladybug had already found its way into the disgusting water and had fortunately died instead of turning into a giant flying Toxic Crusader insect that tried to hump my mouth while I slept.
Armed with my wrench and bucket, I pulled out everything stored beneath the sink, situated the bucket and went to work on disconnecting the drainpipe.
Turns out, whoever plumbed the sink installed fittings that could relatively easily be unscrewed by hand, so my wrench was totally for show. I disconnected the drain, pushed the plug out with a screwdriver from underneath, and watched my hand get some AIDS water on it but somehow not shrivel up and disappear. All that remained in the sink was a black ring of filth and horribleness.
I went to work with disinfectant and napalm, cleaned up, put everything away and admired a job well done that maybe took 15 minutes altogether. Even with the napalm.
What that means is I “brainstormed” ideas to fix my sink for 48 hours to try to avoid doing it “the hard way.” The hard way which only took 15 minutes.
It was a missed opportunity.
At $80 an hour, I would have been almost $4,000 richer.
And probably rocked some wicked-hot plumber’s crack.