Friday, January 23, 2009


This week's project involved a little friend I like to call "Harry".

The drain in the shower has been getting slower, and slower over the last few months, so one night after work, I decided to see what I could do about it. Taking off the strainer and looking into the drain, I could see Harry hanging out, not doing much of anything. Harry happens to be extremely tough, able to live in conditions that most other creatures would quickly expire in. First of all, he gets little light. Secondly, I'm not sure what food he lives on. Thirdly, his environment is often flooded. Fourthly, he can withstand some serious chemicals including acids (vinegar and Liquid Plumber) and bases (Baking Soda). Personally, I'm all for sending Harry out as an advance explorer to the stars. By my reckoning, he should be able to withstand the radiation and rigors of space with no trouble at all. A cheap explorer for NASA.

Let's be clear about my realtionship with Harry. I don't like anything about him, and I wish he'd find someplace else to go.

Some animals (like lizards) have an amazing ability to lose their tail so that predators end up taking the tail while the rest of the animal gets away. Harry is like that. He happens to be very wily and attached to my drain as a home. So I grabbed a hold of Harry and tried to pull him out. True to form, I succeeded in getting a small portion of him and then, he dove deeper into the drain, so deep in fact, that I couldn't see him anymore.

I thought maybe I could scare him deeper into the drain with one of his few enemies - the drain snake. Perhaps if he was scared enough, he could be tricked into larger living quarters (aka the sewer main). Unfortunately, my drain snake's head was too large to fit through the tub drain.

The next step was to try and force Harry deeper with water pressure. I filled the tub with water and tried using a plunger to move him. Harry is tenacious and at that point he was angry. He wedged himself in so tightly that now no water was draining. I was getting angry too. And so was the wife. Bath time for the kids was approaching.

I took off the access panel behind the tub to get at the pipes and it's clear that this is not the first Harry that had taken up residence in the pipes. One of the previous owners had part of the cast iron drain removed and in its place put a PVC pipe with a clean out valve.

Taking the snake drain in hand, I was able to gently guide it down the drain via the clean out valve, where it found Harry and bit onto him with its head. I pulled out the drain snake and when I went to pull Harry out of its mouth, Harry saw fit to defecate all over me with black goo. Little bugger. Harry has now been removed from our house and the shower is working again.

Still, I wonder how long until Harry Jr. grows up.

And a Happy Birthday today to Saffron. Hope it's a good one.

No comments: