Time Out for a Chopstick!

The Mighty Chopstick!

Who would have thought one chopstick could inflict so much damage.  I’m tempted to call it, “CHOPSTICKGATE!”  So, it started out as a fun night for me and Malachy.  Shien had evening class, so Malachy and I ordered Chinese food from Ming’s.  Everything tasted yummy.  After dinner, I had Malachy work on his homework while I did the dishes.  Towards the end of my dishwashing, I noticed that the drain was getting clogged.  The water simply wasn’t going down the drain.  In fact, some water seemed to be coming back up from the drain, and it was dark and not smelling so nice.  What I did next started the avalanche of events that was to unfold.  I took a chopstick and thought I could try to unclog the drain with it.  No harm, right?  A few seconds later, I heard a sound and noticed water coming out of the cabinet, below the sink!

Chopstick + SInk Drain Pipe = DISASTER!!!

I opened the cabinet and saw water gushing out from the pipe!  The chopsitck pierced a hole in the pipe!!!  I immediately found a vase under the sink to catch some of the water.  PANIC!  I then used my thumb to plug the hole.  I yelled out for Malachy’s help, as I tried to think of more things to use to catch the water.  More vases, metal bowls, pots, ai ya!  I told him to hurry up and get me a towel from the bathroom.  He asked which one.  I’m like, “Get MINE!”  He ran and brought over his towel.  I was like, “NO, GET MINE!”  I didn’t want to use his towel to wipe this yucky water up.  He finally got my towel.  I was left wiping one-handed since I was still plugging the hole with the thumb of my other hand.

I tried to get Malachy to get me some bowls, after opening another cabinet, but there were ceramic bowls on top of the aluminum bowls.  Last thing I needed was for Malachy to break a bunch of bowls, so I ordered him to go back and finish his homework, after I thanked him for helping. 😉

It was crazy!  I reached out for more bowls, while knocking over bowls that I had already filled with water.  At the same time, I was trying to get everything out from underneath the sink.  What a mess!  After all the water finally emptied from the sink, I had 3 or 4 bowls and a pot filled with water.  I got a bucket, poured all the water into it, and flushed that down the toilet.  Then, I grabbed 3 or 4 more towels and wiped everything down underneath the sink, while emptying all the stuff that was down there.

The broken pipe removed.
The broken pipe.

It was getting later, so I needed to shower Malachy and get him ready for bed.  Before that, I checked online to see all the Home Depot hours, and I thought I might have to rent a car after Shien got home.  I then had a better idea.  I called my dad and asked if he could help me out by coming into the city and bringing me some tools and then driving with me to Home Depot to get some supplies.  Thank God he was available! 🙂

Malachy was really cooperative the whole time.  He finished his homework on his own.  I explained to him how I would have to go to Home Depot in order to fix the damage that I had caused.  He wanted to go, too, but knew he had to rest up for his trip to the circus with Mom the next day.  I let him play a while longer, as I gathered my tools and removed the broken pipe.  It was pretty nasty inside the pipe.  I think there was an old chopstick in there, but it was almost unrecognizable since it was so decomposed.  I took the pipe to the bathroom sink to clean it out.  I used the plunger that I had in the bathroom to make sure the gunk didn’t clog the bathroom sink.  Another mistake!  Malachy called out from the living room that he could hear more leaking water!  Believe it or not, the bathroom pipes were somehow connected to the kitchen pipes!  For the past few nights, the bathroom drain was a bit clogged, so I had used a mini-plunger to unclog it.  What I didn’t realize at the time was that, by using the plunger in the bathroom sink, I was actually clogging the kitchen pipes!

Anyways, when I went to check out the kitchen, it was GROSS!  When I plunged the bathroom sink, I pushed all this water and nasty stuff out of the kitchen pipe!  Another mini-flood.  The kitchen pipe was exposed because I took out the broken pipe and never covered it!  AI YA!  More towels, more wiping, and a nasty smell, similar to that of bad eggs. (nitrogen?)  🙁

My dad arrived after I had cleaned things up as best I could, throwing the soaked dirty towels into the bath tub and trying to clean them.  I also had to wipe down the kitchen cabinet underneath the sink with paper towels and cleaning solution.  I was able to then read to Malachy and get him ready for bed, while we waited for Shien to get back home.

When Shien got home, my dad and I said goodnight to Malachy and I told him I would tell him all about Home Depot the following day.  We got to Home Depot around 10 ‘ish.  I LOVE Home Depot and any hardware store for that matter.  We got a pipe, a pipe cutter (recommended by a worker), a plunger, some toxic drain cleaner that didn’t harm pipes, and some new kitchen mats since the other ones got soaked from the flooding.

After Home Depot, my dad dropped me off, and I told him I’d be fine.  NOPE!  I was able to cut the pipe, but when I was installing it, I noticed the other pipe (the elbow) was cracked at the seam!  Well, it was past midnight, so all the Home Depots were now closed.  They used to be opened 24 hours, but no longer.  So, I did some laundry, washing all the dirty stinky towels.  I tried plugging the drain in the kitchen, while trying to unclog the bathroom drain with the heavy duty drain opener.  I had Shien look up the chemical, because it said it didn’t damage pipes yet claimed to cut grease and disintegrate hair!  Plus, it was supposed to be toxic and could cause burning of the skin!  Turn out it contains potassium hydroxide.  It’s not an acid, so it must be a base.  Anyways,  I poured it in, prayed that it wouldn’t come out of the kitchen, and waited a half hour.  I turned the water on SLOWLY.  First Shien said she heard some dripping from the kitchen.  I stopped.  Tried a little again, and then, all of a sudden, I thought I heard the drain clear in the bathroom and the kitchen!  IT WORKED!  I turned on the water a little higher.  Shien said she didn’t hear anything in the kitchen.  Full Blast.  Nada!  The bathroom sink hasn’t drained so good in years!  😉

So, today I bought some pipes and some more plumbing tape.  I came home and thought it shouldn’t be so bad.  IT WAS.  The pipe I bought was more flimsy than the Home Depot one, so as I tried to cut it, it was crushing and denting the pipe all over.  I wound up cutting it too short.  Now what?  I ran out to another hardware store nearby.  This time, I paid an extra dollar for them to cut it.  I couldn’t afford to ruin another pipe!  They used a hacksaw and a grinder, which worked so much better than my 20 dollar recommended tool.  I ran home, and after a while, IT WAS FIXED! 🙂  We ran some water through it, and no leaks!  Shien cheered.  😉  Later on, when she was out, I full blasted it again, and there were two leaks.  After some more tweaking, all the leaks were fixed.  I also unclogged the kitchen sink and the bathtub with the heavy duty drain opener!  WHAT A SAGA!  Shien did point out that perhaps it was better that my chopstick broke the pipe it just giving way down the line, which could have been even more disastrous.  True.

FIXED! I hope...

3 thoughts on “Time Out for a Chopstick!”

  1. Oh my gosh, what a nightmare! This makes me feel not so bad about my own plumbing woes. In an old house, all of the pipes are crooked, so they don’t flow smoothly. But at least they’re holding together – for now.

  2. Accidents may lead in to a disaster like this but sometimes this is a good reason to replace your pipe with a new one. For sure your new pipe will be running perfectly. Maintain and take a good care of it to have an ideal plumbing.

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