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I'm Very, Very ButchNovember 8, 2004

The only thing that makes it okay that this:

is parked in my backyard is this:

on my coffee table. That is Manos (yum) from Maeve, heavenly color, and soap all the way from Brazil (and I know she carried it back herself) from Jennifer, and a home Madonna from the amazing MaryB (it’s not too Catholic, dear—I put it on the shelf with my pope-in-a-snow-globe. Tell hubby).

The post could not have come at a better time, darlings.

I was a fool this morning. I had some dead stalks in my flower vase, but the rest of the them were still beautiful. I thought, Hey! I have a garbage disposal! Won’t that be fun? I shoved ‘em down and spun ‘em through. Then I watched the green sludgy water foam back up at me for, sticking out its tongue.

Damn it. Having never owned a disposal, how was I supposed to know you’re only supposed to put boiled rice and chicken broth (strained) through it? I called the Dude, who is my psuedo-husband (all the chores and none of the perks; not sure why he sticks around, but I aDORE him). He walked me through taking the disposal apart, which I am very proud to say, I did. I flex my muscles in your general direction. But the disposal was clear. That was alarming. And might I add, while it’s not too bad taking a disposal apart, it’s hell on wheels to get that fucker back together. And me in my new jeans. Only a small blood sacrifice, and it wasn’t too painful, either. But I did it.

And the sink was still backed up, gurgling up and mocking me with evil spongy floaters. Grrr.

So I went to the hardware store, where my new best friend Joe told me all about plumbing. I love Joe. I really, really do. I bought a drill from Joe, just because I wanted to keep talking to him. Laurel Hardware on MacArthur, people. Joe rocks. He sold me a snake and told me how to use it (not like that. Dirty minds). I took it home, opened the plumbing back up and snaked it out. This is what I ended up with.


Ew. Ew ew ew ew. Still backed up. I did a number on that one, I tell you. I actually think I made it worse, because after I snaked it, NOTHING would go down, and before I had a slow drain, at least.

Opened the yellow pages, hoped that I wouldn’t get burglarized again, and called the ones who advertised they’d be here in forty-five minutes. They were, they’re just finishing up now, and apparently not only did I clog it, but they found that the pipe is broken about twenty feet out. At least that’s not my problem – that’ll be for my homeowner’s insurance to fix. Thank god. But not today.

Today, as soon as they leave, I’m getting on the road to go pick up two cats and a little mama. She’s coming up for a short day visit to see the new place, and I can’t WAIT to show it to her.

Okay. I have to go pay them. Sheesh. It’s like a test. Own a home! Break some things! Pay out the nose! (But one of them just asked me for paper towels so he could clean up under the sink. That’s totally cool.)


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If they're cleaning up after themselves AND they don't charge 4 arms and 2 legs AND they got there in record time - keep their number close to your bosom. There ain't nothing like finding a good trustworthy plumber....okay, there are somethings better but we don't discuss those in polite company! ;-)

welcome to home ownership. my disposal was the first thing to shit the bed in my place too. read your email me. i have a question for you.

May I just give you a tad of a warning?

Making a claim this soon on your homeowners insureance is VERY risky. Your rates could go up, or (heaven forbid) they might drop you !!

Less then a year into our new home, our fridge's ice maker had been leaking and destroyed my Italian tile floor.

I mearly called the insurance company and my rates went up...

I only say this because I love you, you know...

Ah, the joys of home ownership!

It's a condo, yes? Are the external pipes not the responsibility of the association?

uhhh, ja, forget the insurance, unless its a 1K and up job. they REALLy hate when you ask them for "small stuff" like that. and if your insurance is anything near normal, the first 600 bucks are out of your pocket anyway.
but congrats on getting THIS far, much guts lady :)

Wow, what an initiation into home ownership! I've always wanted a snake...

Congratulations on the condo! (Better late than never, right?) Sounds like you're getting a trial by fire. But, jeez, you took apart a garbage disposal! And you snaked a pipe! I'm so proud!

I feel your pain though, a few weeks ago we paid somebody $100 to fix our leaking toilet. It's fun, isn't it? Whee!

OK, listen to the voice of experience.

NO: artichoke parts, asparagus, lettuce, anything "woody".

YES: food scraps, SCRAPS, do ya hear....

Run plenty of water afterwards.

Ask me how I know this.

Ah, yes... the wonderful world of homeownership. In that world you keep paying and paying and paying!

Do you already know how to fix a toilet? 'Cause if you don't, you will.

You can cry on my shoulder re: plumbing any old time...

Now you KNOW you are a true home owner. AND you know how to run a disposal properly. It's a good day!

You, my dear, have lost your virginity. No more romance--the long kisses, the flowers, the impassioned phone messages--done with, over. On to the mature affection of the homeowner who knows her beloved inside and out (and can justifiabily feel some powerful sense of control because of this knowledge)!

And of course, to maintain the relationship long term you must consort with any number of partners on the side. Joe, your timely plumbers, just the start of the community that will hold your marriage together.

But it all works together to keep the love going! I really didn't care for my new house 5 months ago, but now my affection has grown and grown--something about the warm terra cotta office and the cantelope orange kitchen...

I totally did that with woody stems once - had to take out the J-bend and ended up with this MUTANT fiber that just was huge - the more I pulled out, the bigger it got. In my mother's house. The night before the open house. I thought I was a dead woman.

This is the inevitable leaky roof crap that comes with homeownership: My roof leaked - not just a little, I mean it RAINED IN MY KITCHEN a week after I moved in. I thought I'd made the biggest mistake of my life.

But I learned about roof patching and a lot of other stuff, and it is still worth it. Hang in there and think about your beautiful tub.

being new to the garbage disposal myself, I clogged mine a few weeks bag. the cuplrit was catelope rind. yeah - one slice (1/10th of the cantelope) at once is fine, but shoving 4 or 5 of those babies at once is baaadd news!

enjoy the new place!

OK, you have to tell me who this plumber is. When I had my little mishap last month, I too called the one whose yellow pages ad said 45 minutes, and they didn't show up for almost 2 hours. And I didn't find out until a couple of days later while cleaning up that they'd used one of my nice towels to help soak stuff up, and by then it was moldy.

So, if your disposal clogs again for no apparent good reason, do yourself a favor and buy a new one. They really do make superior models, and you can install one yourself with all your new skills. Consider yourself lucky that you found the break in the pipe now with only your kitchen sink backed up. Imagine it is the day before your wedding with 100+ guests coming for the reception to your 1 bathroom home and every plumbing type receptible in the house is backed up to the max...

When the disposal is all fixed and everything, orange peels are a good thing to shred up to keep it smelling nice.

My husband is the garbage disposal ruler in our house. We have lots of rules. First, after one puts whatever down the darn thing, fill the sink with water before starting the disposal. Run it with tons of water only. Lemons down the disposal once a month (haven't tried oranges) but cut the things up into small pieces first. And for goodness sake, don't use siverware to shove stuff down there. He really likes the garbage disposal.

We removed our disposal almost as soon as we moved in here. It was leaking. We compost our compostables, good all round. Also there are worm bins that you keep sweet little red wrigglers in with newspaper and peatmoss I think, and feed them the scraps of food that you would otherwise chuck in your disposer thing. They will gobble the stuff up and then you have lovely rich earth to do stuff with. The ultimate disposal.
Homeowning is worth every bit of challenge it hands us. I'm sure you're loving it too.

Girlfriend...I have news for you ...all the condo residents share that pipe to the sewer.
You need to get all residents involved in repairing it.
We're in a house and we had the same problem (almost exactly except when you flushed the toilet it backed up the kitchen sin making it gurgle and causeing the laundry room floor drain to back up YUCK).
We had ours camera'd and suffice it to say over our almost 20 yrs in this house they've had to go in three times for related pipe to sewer issues.
Thankfully we had a city tree on our front lawn and the city ended up eating "most" of the costs.
Don't know how it works where you are but...it a city planted tree is there it could be their responibility.

Good LUCK !!!

I wasn't very clear in my previous comment...the tree roots caused our broken pipe and indeed there were tree roots seen durring the cameraing.
If the city hadn't paid for our first venture into the ground circa 1995 that one would have cost us $2000 CDN.

I'm glad you like the Lady of Guadalupe!

I echo the suggestion that you hold off calling the insurance guys until you know a lot more. For one thing, while the "flower stems down the disposal" incident is clearly your doing, if you can get proof that the pipe was already broken that might be something that the inspection company -- an inspection company *had* to give the house a clean bill of health for the mortgage to come through -- might have to deal with. They, not you, should have confirmed that the pipes were good. That is, at least, how it seems to me.

One *bad* thought I had was wondering whether you did do, or whether your insurance will claim you did, damage with the snake. (Not that stuff like that ever happens at *our* house....)

It does seem a bit unfair, actually, that you got hit with all this the week you moved in!


Hear that sound? It is the sound of advice all us home owners HAVE to give -- to get some sort of justice out of all the weird and senseless things we have done to our houses....

Add potato peels to the list. Oh yea..and don't put ANYTHING down that tube on Thanksgiving because plumbers sit by the phone on that day with a calculator. Ciao Bella!

*Pretending to be exicted* Wow, yipee! First home repair project! And you've got it all documented! Here's another tip about garbage disposals, put a little lime or lemon peel down them once in a while and it'll smell lovely. Treat it with loving care - upchucking disposals are not fun (as you've already found out).

umm, I have nothing to share along the lines of advice because I own no home, and (cringe) my boyfriend fixes all of our housy problems. I'm kind of a wuss when it comes to that kind of thing.

But can I clog up a sink? Oh yeah. And a toilet. (sorry that was gross.) So I feel your pain. I'm glad the plumbers were good and that you have Manos, soap and a Madonna to ease your pain. :)

Rachel you always make me laugh.

I am sooooo not butch. But, ahem, I do like women who are.... very.

Hey I feel your pain I own my own house luckly in the first year I only had to re-place the dishwasher, stove, and refrigrator (sorry for the spelling) Then little over half way into the 2nd year now I have my lovley cats put one of my eyeshadow compacts in the toliet and some amazing way it made itself all the way to the bottom and then got stuck and I only have 1 bathroom so needless to say the next day (only a week ago) I was with my dad taking the toliet apart and outside to get this out of it without having to buy a new toliet too. Homeownership what a fun adventure. It gets better I promise. But hey I can fix a toliet now you can fix the sink I also had to use a snake so one day maybe your know how or mine will come in handy to the other one.

Have a great day!

I can't believe it, my co-worker just bought a car for $24500. Isn't that crazy!

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