Friday, November 18, 2005

Mr. Fix-It

You know those stories you hear about a husband who thinks he can do home repairs, but can't, and ends up fucking things up worse than before? Me, too. And then you hear about the lucky people who really DO have spouses that can fix stuff and it makes life a lot easier (and cheaper!). And then there are always those who probably can fix stuff on their own, but never seem to get around to it and the stupid thing stays broken for an eternity. Well, we fall sort of right in the middle. Mr. Chick (mostly) knows his limits about what he can and cannot do around the house. Wire the electrical for the hottub? Call the electrician. Change a lightbulb? Let MP do it (LOL!). But he's been able to build a new gate/fence, snake the toilet, install gutters, etc. Light to medium level home repair chores.

A few years back our disposal crapped out and it was Mr. Chick to the rescue. We hadn't been in the house very long at this point. So he drove to Home Depot (is there any home owner who doesn't live there at some point??), got the new disposal unit, and dug in. And he was able to successfully swap out the old disposal for the new one. Or so we thought.

The disposal worked fine. It ground up whatever we shoved down there. You flipped the switch and it went on. Nothing came back up. Success, right? Well, sorta. You see, right around that time our dishwasher started draining water into the sink from that silver aerator overflow gizmo that sits next to the faucet. This occurrance barely registered with us at the time for some reason. I guess we weren't paying attention. And then when we DID start noticing what was happening we could no longer remember if this was normal for the dishwasher or not. Had it always been doing that?? We hadn't been in the house very long, remember, so we didn't know for sure. And? The dishes were getting clean and things seemed to be generally working, so why monkey with it?

Flash forward 3 years. Now we're selling the house. We know that it's not right for the dishwasher to drain into the sink the way it does, but it's been working ok getting our dishes clean. We've assumed for awhile now that there is a clog of some sort in the drain line which is what is forcing the water into the overflow valve on the sink. We feel compelled to mention this to the buyers, saying we're not sure if this is normal for this dishwasher or not, but this is what's happening. It gets mentioned to the inspector, and he notes that there must be a clog, too. The buyers come back to us asking us to fix it as part of the necessary home repairs that preceed a sale. Ok, fine - we'll fix it. We knew it was coming.

Yesterday Mr. Chick had a day off. He gets up, has his coffee (fortification), and grabs the snake from the garage. He announces that he's going to try to clear the clog himself before we call a plumber. "Oh holy jesus," I think, "this is going to potentially cost us a buttload of money if he screws it up more." I leave the kitchen - I can't watch.

About 30 minutes later I wander back into the kitchen and Mr. Chick asks me to listen to see if I could hear anything when he blew into a tube he was holding. Umm, ok. He blew, I listened, and got a face full of dirty water from the overflow valve as a result. Nice. I think he was hoping to clear the clog by blowing into the tube, but there was no clog. Trust me when I say that tube was clear - my wet face attested to that. So he was momentarily stumped. The dishwasher seemed to be just fine. And that's when he thought to think of the disposal and the potential for human error when it was installed. His error. I had nearly forgotten that we'd ever replaced the disposal. Thank God he remembered.

He found the manual for the disposal (yes, we keep that stuff. Or should I say, HE keeps that stuff) and retraced his installation. And, as expected, found an error. He'd forgotten something called a punch-out in one of the tubes. No punch-out punched out = closed tube for draining from the dishwasher = water forced up into the overflow valve. Voila! So he punched it out, proudly showed it to me, and put everything back together. He was happy he fixed the problem without having to call a plumber. But he wouldn't know until he ran the dishwasher, and we weren't going to do that until we had a full load, which would be after dinner. And so he waited, like a kid waits for Santa. He was happy when he discovered a dirty cup or plate or whatever and loaded it into the dishwasher. He even did the dishes after dinner. Yay for me. And then he plugged the sink so he could measure any water that drained into the sink and turned the dishwasher on.

And it worked! No water AT ALL drained into the sink. It went through the tubes and pipes under the sink like it was supposed to. Kudos for him for fixing the problem.... 3 years after creating the problem in the first place!

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