I dropped something down the drain of the bathroom sink yesterday, so I had to take the trap off the drain to get it out and when I did, the pipe broke, spewing grease and hair and greyish chunks of minerals from the hard water all over my hands and arms. I’ve never had a drain pipe vomit on me quite so disgustingly before. Not only did it puke sewage all over me, there was a great, big greasy hairball dangling from the tail pipe that I had to dig out with my fingers. There isn’t enough money in the world to make me want to be a plumber.
The only thing to do at that point was take it all apart and figure out what had to be replaced, and that’s when I found out I couldn’t get a wrench around the nut that held the trap on the tail pipe. It’s one of those bathroom sinks that sits on a pedestal. The tail pipe – the pipe that runs straight down from the drain hole in the bottom of the sink – is surrounded on three sides by the pedestal, a column of porcelain with a narrow opening up the back. I couldn’t even see the tail pipe. I could get one hand on the pipe, but I couldn’t get a wrench in there, and I tried two kinds of channel locks and three kinds of monkey wrenches. I have a lot of wrenches. There’s no way a plumber put that trap in without a couple of mirrors and a special wrench made for just this purpose that probably costs a couple hundred dollars.
The good news is, I only had to make one trip to the store to buy a new trap and whatever the pipe that connects the trap to the wall is called. These adventures in plumbing almost always require at least two trips to the store after I get home and discover I guessed wrong on the size of the pipe or bought the nut but forgot to get the bolt, something like that. I felt pretty good about getting it right on the first try.
Cleaning all the spew off the wall and the floor was not fun. On the other hand, standing under a hot shower for an indecently long time felt great.