Making Peace with Your Pipes
The Secret Phobia
I've always had a secret phobia of pipes. As a woman I was never taught to make friends with them or to enjoy the intricate weave of their necessity into my world. Over the years I struggled with my paranoid thoughts that they could either bring you the gift of water or take away the things you love if you were clumsy. The challenge is not to fear your pipes when they give a very clear message; we are in control.
As a young married woman I let my husband take care of all things round and metallic and kept as far away as possible. I was content to pretend that making peace with my pipes didn’t matter. However, all that changed the day I got divorced. How was I supposed to know that I was losing a husband and a plumber all the same day?
It isn’t because we are women that we can’t fix a drain or work on the plumbing girls. It’s because we are people who didn’t believe we would ever need to! So, my advice to you is if you need to fix it then pay attention and if you don’t need to, prepare to need it and pay attention anyway. I’m going to tell you where you can get help and information! The following is a short list (by no means all inclusive) and a very basic idea of how to proceed:
- For a clog, always start with a plunger. In the toilet or in a sink it may be something you can pull out. Hopefully, nothing major. Be sure the seal is good between the plunger and the drain. Short rhythmic plunges are best. For a clumsy episode you will need to take the pipes apart…that ring is not coming up with a plunger.
- If that doesn’t work try a bottle of Drano or something similar (you know, something liquid and in a bottle that looks like floor wax). Follow the directions carefully. If that doesn’t work move onto one of these other suggestions.
- Home Depot and Lowes are my best friend’s now. The employees there usually know their stuff and don’t mind spending time telling you what you need and where to find it. They will be happy to tell you what to use on the clog or how to take the pipes apart to find your ring.
- Check the internet. (It’s not just for shopping and socializing anymore!)
- Call your best guy buddy, your best friend’s husband (check with her first!), or another divorcee who has already been there done that. For heaven’s sake do NOT leave the room while they take care of it! Watch, take notes and thank them profusely for educating you.
- Then buy yourself a book on plumbing to keep in the house at all times. Better yet, do it now before you need it.
Yes, I’m aware this is very simplistic and won’t solve all your problems but you need to make peace with your pipes. You need to know there are alternatives and ways to take care of this so that, unlike me, you are not standing in front of a clogged kitchen sink with your divorce papers in one hand, a phone in the other and tears streaming down your face. Take a deep breath, suck it up and learn how to do the basic necessary plumbing in your home. And while you’re at it, get a book on car maintenance also.