There’s a snake in my drain. One of the joys of owning an 82-year-old home is a daily plumbing repair. Often these are simple fixes and not too problematic. For example, flush valves. I discovered both of my were leaking so I replaced these with relatively little surprises. The p-trap below the sink was leaking and I whipped this one out in no time. The dishwasher sprayer popped off and I was able to reattach with little drama. However, the ever-present drain clog in the shower was finally too much to ignore.
Kelly was kind enough to buy a snake for me today and I quickly put it work. Those who haven’t had the joy of manhandling a plumbing snake may not know exactly what this marvel is. It’s basically a long coil of wire with a flared end that roots through the drain in a circular motion. I have had more experience than I care to admit in snake use during my tenure as after hour maintenance worker at University housing at Texas A&M.
This particular snake included a shaft on one end for attaching to a cordless screwdriver and was 20 feet long. After I maneuvered it through the first few bends and gave it a good rooting I tried to retract the steel reptile back into its case. It snagged up and then started coiling up outside the case making a twisted steel spiral. I managed to untangle it and shoved it back in the case. I then held the case tight to the drain and gave it a good whirl with the screw gun. About that time I heard a snap and found myself peering into my shower drain at a severed snake. I soon realized the predicament I was in and tried to think of the quickest way to extract this metal beast without having to re-do the plumbing back to the street. I grabbed a set of man-pliers and tugged on the free end for about 15 minutes. Fearing I was slowing destroying the 82-year-old plumbing joints beneath the house I eased up a bit and decided to test the broken snakes effectiveness of clearing the drain. After running the water a few minutes I discovered its suicide mission was successful, no clogs. I cut the little bastard flush with the top of the drain and carried on. I figure next time it clogs I will call a professional and have them extract the snake. In the end, if the snake gets stuck, I probably have bigger problems down below than I realize.
That is one of the tenants I am learning about homeownership… Often the only choice is to just fix it good enough to buy a little more time.