Happy Plumbing

According to my usual frequency of blogging, this is very likely my last post before my wife’s arrival.

Since last week, I started to thoroughly clean and fix my apartment.  Not that the apartment was dirty or broken. To me, this is just a better idea to welcome my wife than throwing a bachelor party.

After finishing those baby tasks like wiping off dust in my living room and shining my bathtub, I had to face my kitchen. Honestly, I didn’t take care of it very well, partly because of lacking experience, and partly laziness. My oily Sichuan cooking was evident all over my cooking area. It took me in total 4-5 hours to rub off the residues on the induction stove, clean the cooking desk, and cover the desk with aluminum foil. So far, the tasks were accomplished by hard work rather than skill and gift.

Then comes the awesome part concerning the title of this post. My kitchen drain was half-clogged for a while. Though still functioning, I knew the nightmare of all kitchens was looming. I wanted to clean my washing area on Sunday, so Saturday night, I applied some Rohrfrei power-gel. Sunday morning, I poured some hot water in the drain, but water still flowed slowly. I kept pouring. After about 5 kettles, quite contrary to internet wisdom, it was fully clogged! On fucking nothing-is-working-except-god-and-google Sunday! Since I had no proper tool, I went jogging, and proved running away doesn’t solve anything. After some searching and mental preparing, I left work early today to buy tools. I couldn’t find a drain auger in OBI, and I forgot to check the German word for it. But a video ad with frustrating faces in front of clogged drains caught me immediately. It eventually led me to buy my first tool today–Drain Buster–an air pump.

Drain Buster

Back home with all the hopes suggested by the jubilant actors at the end of the ad, I pumped my drain again and again for about an hour. Nothing changed. It was already 4 pm. I realized if I wanted to sleep well tonight, I had to find a drain auger. I asked some friends to find out how to say drain auger in German. Yet another amazing word–Rohrreinigungsswelle, or Rohrreinigungsspirale. OBI again, this time with some smooth conversation with staff, I found it, the ultimate solution I firmly believed in.

Drain Auger

It’s a 4.5-meter manual auger. The blue box hides the long steel snake nicely. It’s easy to use, but still requires some trials to master it. Finally, I was able to push the snake through the second turn in my drain. I kept pushing and tried to feel the move inside the filthy complex. I didn’t detect the malicious clog, but I enjoyed pushing the snake forward, till I found that I have used all the 4.5 meters. Then I was seriously confused. The drain clog in my apartment can’t be 4.5 meters deep in the pipes. 4.5 meters, I must have reached downstairs, and somehow missed the clog. I poured some water, nothing changed yet. And even more terrifying at that moment was that I couldn’t pull it out! I guess the price is different for hiring a plumbing service and tearing down the whole drain system in wall. Fortunately, it turned out that if turning the snake in one direction is easy to push it in, turning it reversely will naturally pull it out. I dragged the snake out bit by bit. Maybe half way back, I heard the sound of flowing water. But even so, I didn’t feel water flowed anyhow faster from my basin. In the last part of pulling, I could smell something typically deep in sewer, and saw the gray, shining and filthy mud brought back by the auger. I have definitely gone too far, and in the end, I got only some little amount of hair at the head of the snake. The whole pushing and pulling action took me 1 hour or so. Still, nothing changed. Frustrated, and pondering if redoing it would help or it’s time to call a service, I started to use the pump again as a desperate, last-ditch effort. All of a sudden, I heard, like a sound from heaven, water rushed into the drain. I couldn’t recall exactly what was on my mind at that very moment. I was lifted. Some happy moments of my life quickly flashed, and in the end Obama kicked in to remind me this was the day Bin Laden was killed. I turned on my tap to let hot water go through the drain, flushing whatever was left in the drain and enjoying the sound of flow. Mission accomplished.

In highest spirits, I quickly cleaned the washing area and basin, restored everything.

My wife will soon be coming, this time literally.

4 thoughts to “Happy Plumbing”

  1. That’s life in countries with expensive labor. You have to be yourself a plumber, a gardener, a electrician, a painter(which I will soon to be), and so on!

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