No time for clogged drains

MIDWAY, Tuesday—The sewer backed up in our basement last weekend, as I learned when I came in from moving compost in the garden, so I made a wry face and did my best to ignore the obvious:  that I didn’t really have a clue what to do about it. 

Denial is of no help when it comes to a blocked drain, particularly when it is relied upon daily to move waste water out of the house regularly. 

Still, I turned my back to the situation.  I closed the door and walked away; maybe I hoped that this in itself might be seen as dealing properly with the situation.

But I also consulted with Mr. T. who advised that I should research ways to deal with the problem, and that he, for his part would commit to ‘attacking’ the drain after work on Monday. 

Clearly, this was his strategy for keeping me from doing something ‘stupid’ on my own.  I agreed, being more comfortable with a strategy that involved a retreat into theory rather than the reality of clogged drains.  

With this in mind, I sought out that great medium of fools, YouTube, and viewed three ‘do-it-your-self’ videos on how to unclog clogged basement drains.

All three of these helpful videos were unhelpful, but for different reasons.  The first offered three simple remedies: 1) a flexible, snaggle-toothed plastic stick designed to be inserted a foot or so into a drain; 2) an inflatable bladder meant to fit around a garden hose which, when filled with water expands into the full diameter of the drain pipe, creating pressure which then forces the blockage to move further into the drain; and 3) a fairly expensive, crank-operated ‘plumber’s ‘snake’, which feeds a long length of flat spring-wire with a screw-like fitting on its end which is supposed to dislodge whatever is blocking the drain making it easier to flush away with a normal flow of water.

The first remedy proposed would have been ideal had the first few inches of our drain been clogged with hair. It wasn’t. The second remedy might have worked, but we didn’t have it on hand.  The 3rd remedy, the ‘plumber’s snake’ we did have, but we found it impossible to use properly, possibly due to our lack of skill which is only achieved through experience and practice.

As an alternative to making things worse, I decided to go outside to tackle the four flat tires on the battered 14 year old vehicle I have recently inherited, a vehicle we’re referring to as  “The RB”, or  “The Red Bomb”.

The RB will be a source of used parts for an almost identical vehicle, the OB, or “Orange Bomb”, the battered, 14 year old vehicle which I drive only in Winter.

In contrast to the blocked sewer drain, there was probably nothing I could do to that vehicle, — nothing stupid — that had probably not  already been done to it: the vehicle had been used by three individuals to flee from the R.C.M.P.  in a protracted car chase that had started in Oliver, only after the RB’s four tires had been flattened after running over an RCMP spike-belt in Rock Creek. 


Midway RCMP arrested three suspects who allegedly fled police in Oliver in this late-model Dodge Caliber. One of the suspects allegedly backed the car into a police cruiser, denting the Dodge’s rear passenger quarter-panel. Photo: Submitted  Caption: Kelowna Capital News, January 28, 2022.

Once delivered to my driveway, I carefully went through the vehicle and carefully dealt with its contents. I removed the garbage, clothing, sharp objects, glass pipes and other drug paraphernalia that had been left behind.

Next, knowing that I had four wheels with solid, un-punctured tires on them, I spent an hour jacking up the car, removing its damaged tires and wheels and replacing them.  A car that rolls is better than a car that does not roll.

All of this happened on Monday. Mr. T.’s ‘attack’ on the drain was unsuccessful, (I’m hoping he didn’t do anything stupid), so I called the plumber on Tuesday who agreed to attend on Wednesday just before lunch, at a time when I will be unavailable.

Fortunately Brenda has agreed to meet the plumber and to show him to the clogged drain. 

Hopefully, by the time I return home on Wednesday afternoon, the issue with the clogged drain will have been resolved, mainly by appropriate delegation of the problem to an experienced tradesperson, a professional tradesperson, and an individual with, unlike me, enough knowledge, skill, and experience to get things moving again — in exchange for an appropriate infusion of Canadian dollars.

Is this not how things normally go?  Problems arise and have to be dealt with; problems subside.  Some problems are self-inflicted; others seem to arise on their own. All problems need to be acknowledged, dealt-with, delegated to others, or ignored.

I know I have just enough knowledge, skill and ability, time — and available cash — to be able to deal with most of these problems, or to delegate them to people who can.

 Later today we shall reassess the situation to see how well things have resolved.


P.S. Happy Birthday, Mr. C!

By Paul David Steer

Wu wei the live-long day.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s