cleaning out the pipes

Our bathroom sink has been clogged up since last night, after I did something all my instincts told me not to do.  Our building has really old pipes and they weren’t exactly installed well.  The day I moved in, I discovered some disconcerting things.  Oddly, I’ve never actually clogged anything in my adult life.  I’ve dealt with faulty plumbing at my old place, but it was the actual construction that caused the issues.  So, it was particularly frustrating when–what I feared would happen–DID happen–and it was pretty much my own damn fault.

As the sink filled with greasy, weird looking, brown water–I was just like: “Really?!”  It was almost 10 pm.  It had been a really long day, and I had done this one last thing when I had nothing left.  I just wanted to get it out of the way.

And then this happened.  Goddamnit.

I scooped out as much water as I could.  I surveyed my available tools.  A plunger made for toilets that usually works on ours.  And some drain cleaner my roommate picked up ages ago for our slow-moving “outer bathroom” sink.  Oh, and the Internet.

Growing up, I remember drain cleaner was our tool of last resort.  The thing you used that probably wouldn’t work and then you’d call Felipe.  And like magic?  It’d be done.  And life would be good again.

I think I’ve called our building manager one time in the entire time I’ve lived here for a maintenance call.  It was for the garbage disposal, two weeks in–and the dude stole my best knife.  I’ve managed to fix things myself since then–or get my roommate to do it–or learn to live with it.  I don’t like people in my home,generally.  And given our moving and me living the single life by my lonesome–this apartment is a horror.

So–yea.  A not ideal plunger.  No gloves. No safety gear.  No snakes.  Not even enough paper towels.  And goddamn drain cleaner.

At first, I got a long spoon and tried to dig it out.  Nope.  Flushed hot water.  And then plunged till it smelled like a horrible nightmare in there.  Weird black floaters came up to greet me–and the water went up.  Seriously!  I called my roommate.  He’s mechanically inclined–where I am not.  He told me to dump hot water in the drain.  Or try the drain cleaner.  I decided to try the hot water thing.  It didn’t work.  And then I decided to just take the pipes apart.  It was easy enough.  No big thing.  I’d watched Felipe a few times.  I didn’t get splashed.  But there wasn’t much there.  It became clear, it wasn’t in the trap.  Nope–it was in the transition between sink and pipe.  I thought I could see it.  But the genius who installed our pipes added glue and a weird metal hinge to it–which meant that area was the one place I couldn’t actually get to.  I tried poking the spoon in that direction, but couldn’t reach.  Damnit.

I put it all back together again–and decided: drain cleaner.  It was the only way.  Surely, it could dissolve that thing that was there.  It couldn’t be THAT large.  And drain cleaner is hardcore.  So I poured and waited.  Nothing.  And poured more and waited.  Still nothing.  And poured.  You get the idea.  Till I was a raging, frustrated mess.  I decided to leave it in overnight and then see what happened in the morning.  Only I couldn’t just leave it alone.  You know how some people just can’t stop themselves from poking at their zits?  Yea–that.  I kept trying to plunge it away.  Kept Googling.  It smelled so terribly toxic.  What was I going to do with a bowl full of this shit?

In the morning, it hadn’t moved.  I hadn’t slept well or much.  I woke up at 4 am, drenched in sweat–fresh from a dream about bleach.  I swear my pores were leaking drain cleaner from all the fumes I must’ve absorbed by being in there.  Despite the open windows and good ventilation, I felt dizzy and headachy.  And aggravated.  So aggravated.  So I placed a late night Amazon order for clog-busting supplies–namely a snake I have no idea how to use.  It smelled less horrifying this morning…well, until I decided to try to scoop out drain cleaner by hand with an oatmeal cup.  I cursed its weak-ass bullshit and managed to get none on me–but the scent renewed.

All day long, as I tried to focus on work and tried to be the good little mouse I’m expected to be all day long–I was pissed–at myself and drain cleaner.  And stupid pipes.  And things that stick in drains.  I was obsessed with doing something.  And every something I did didn’t do jack shit.

Long story short–unless some miracle happens (or the snake thing works)–I will be dealing with this till the weekend.  And I am so not happy about that.


Tonight–as I was still obsessing and trying to fix this ridiculousness–a weird realization came over me.  Holy crap–this was about my life.

Some common themes:

  • Alma doesn’t want to do something because she’s dead tired and needs to rest.  Instead of honoring that feeling, she pushes through and does something that can wait–to get it over with–because it’s easy and how she feels doesn’t matter.
  • Crap happens that she knows will happen.
  • Alma runs into hyper fixer mode because she’s Wonder Woman.  She can fix anything.
  • Alma does crap that shocks even her.
  • Only it doesn’t matter because you can’t fix everything on your own–when you have no damn tools.  Or shitty ones.
  • Alma gets pissed at herself for not trusting her gut–being human–not being able to fix anything with the nothing she has.
  • She asks for help–but continues to try to be the hero and feels shame for needing the damn help.
  • She won’t admit defeat–when it’s clearly warranted.
  • She continues to try to control all of it–even the degree to which it’s broken.

Okay, Universe. I hear ya.

I’ve been on this weird hamster wheel over the last few days of trying to control everything I’m capable of controlling.  Mostly because so much is out of my control right now, and I have to just trust in other people.  I’m also putting others’ needs above my own–even when it’s not required or even necessary.  So, back to perfectionism where mistakes can’t happen.

The Universe is making me sit in my bad choice, and it’s making me realize how much that one little thing seriously bothers me.  It’s not a big deal.  We have another sink.  It’s a couple days of stupid.  So, why is it bothering me so much?

Because I’m the one who’s supposed to fix all of it.  I’m not allowed to be human.  I’m not allowed to rest.  I’m not allowed to let the shit go, already, or ask for help without feeling bad about it.

And I made the damn rules.

So, though I’m pretty aggravated right now just writing this…I’m going to just breathe and watch bad TV.  And do all the stupid crap I could do later.  And trust that it will get fixed eventually and the things that matter will find their solutions eventually.  (And it will not be on my schedule).  It’s okay.


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