My Takes

Just my humble opinion…

Up Sh*t’s Creek Not With A Paddle But A Snake

Brown Water Snake (Nerodia taxispilota) in Wes...

No, not this kind of snake

While cleaning out the kitchen cupboards last Sunday, I came upon a container of cassava flour, (Called farine in my country).  I had bought it almost a year ago and forgotten about it.  Without thinking, well actually I did think, I poured it down my good old reliable garburator.  Isn’t that what they are for? After all I’ve fed it banana peels, orange peels, fruits, meats, everything, and it had always accepted them graciously, consuming them like a black hole. I love my garburator.

So here I was emptying about one and a half pounds of farine into my sink.  It disappeared almost instantly and I washed down the remnants and considered it done.  Not by a long shot.

Farine is made of ground cassava root. When water is added, it thickens into a thick paste, more than doubling its size.  I was about to witness first hand, the effect this would have on my drainage system.

Approximately 20 minutes after I had introduced farine to my sink, I noticed that there was standing water in both sinks even though their stoppers were removed.  Thinking nothing of this, I turned on the Garburator  so it could work its magic and suck the water through.  To my astonishment and dismay, a thick stream of water flew out the sink and almost took my head off.  I was taken aback as I had never seen anything like this before.

I still failed to make the connection and spent the next hour or two trying to clear whatever it was that was choking my pipes.  Plunger, a bottle of drano, hot water, vinegar, baking soda, I tried them all to no avail.  Finally I went into the basement and found an escape cap (Called the sink trap).  I unscrewed it and was immediately drenched by drano smelling water. (I did have a bucket underneath but the gush was too much).  I ran to the bathroom to clean myself fearing contamination.  The sinks were now emptied but the problem was not eliminated.  It filled up again as soon as we tried using it.

Next, I opened another trap where the pipes entered the basement floor. Another gush. This time the bucket could not control it as it shot almost straight out. Soaked again. This time the smell was worst. I also noticed something, there were traces of farine in the water. I was getting close. I also saw that the blockage was below where the pipe entered the floor. Good to know. I poked bent clothes hangers, sticks, TV Cables, anything I could lay hands on that could navigate the pipes. Still nothing.  So I gave up.  Not permanently. I am not the giving up type. I was just plumb tuckered out.  Spent. Tired.

The next day I got a snake.  Yep a snake. A snake? Why on earth do you feel the need to get a snake at a time like this? Is this also an Island thing? I can hear you thinking that. Well I was told that I needed something called a snake to feed through the pipe to clear it.  After work I went straight to Home Depot and rented one, then hurried home to snake my lines.

The snake was heavy and cumbersome. I was  sweating bullets in the first 5 minutes of using it. I sent all 25 feet of it wiggling and spinning, down the lines. I pulled it through and did it repeatedly, still the water remained.  Now the silly twisty thing had gotten farine water all over my pants, my shirt and my hands.  Good thing the sales rep had advised that I wear gloves. The snake had also partly invaded the sewer so now I was wallowing in a concoction of drano, dishwashing soap, farine, old food and maybe a hint of fecal matter. I was so disgusted, I wanted to hose myself down at a drive through car wash.  Yuck! Sick! EEW!

Three hours later and way past my bedtime, the job was done.  Water flowed unhindered through my pipes. All was well with the world. As for the Garburator, I have learned a valuable and potentially expensive lesson.  Put garbage in the garbage.  Now I must go as blogging while soaking in suds is not recommended. And you, do not try any of this at home. Call a qualified plumber.

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