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Day 245: Minor Crises

Yes, I said crises, not crisis. Crises, plural.

Over the weekend our car had a bit of an issue and ended up getting a new alternator, tensioner, and belt. The mechanic thought our battery was fine and just needed charging.

This morning I drove out to the supermarket to pick up my Click & Collect order. I turned off the engine and opened the trunk. Then I waited. When I got chilly, I turned the car on again so I could run the heater—but the car didn’t turn on. I had to call roadside assistance and then wait for half an hour with my groceries in the back of my van. At least I didn’t have anything terribly perishable in there.

I got a boost from the roadside assistance guy, and was told to keep the engine running for forty-five minutes to an hour. Since the store is only fifteen minutes from home, I had to leave the car running in the driveway for a while after we got home. I set an alarm for thirty minutes and went about putting away the groceries. Two hours later, in the middle of doing something completely unrelated, I suddenly looked up and yelled, “Oh no! The car!”

The car was fine. Everything was fine.

Then the kitchen sink backed up. Both sinks, actually. The dishwasher was running, so I turned it off because it’s attached to the sink drain. Of course, when you turn a dishwasher off mid-cycle, it drains itself. The sinks began to fill up.


The kids crowded around as I pulled out the drawer under the sink and explained what a P trap is and what it’s for.

“I think we should take the P trap off,” I said, “so we can get out whatever is blocking the drain. Somebody please get me some wrenches. Also some buckets. Big ones.” The kids ran off to do my bidding.

I was impressed—K got right in there with me and helped me unscrew all the connections. I tried to open it slowly, so that the water wouldn’t all come rushing out, but I loosened just a bit too much and suddenly we had a deluge.

“Quick! New Bucket!” I shouted as the greasy water approached the bucket’s rim. The kids passed me the bucket and I switched it out quickly, but not quickly enough; the water spilled into the cabinet and onto the floor.

“TOWELS!” I yelled. “And not the nice ones from your bathrooms! Get the old faded red ones!”

When we finally took off the P trap, it looked like the problem was actually further into the drain. And what was the problem, you ask? To me it looked like couscous. But who puts tons of couscous down the drain? In any event, we couldn’t clear it all out the way we wanted to—but I still used it as a learning moment:

“You guys. THIS is why we ask you to scrape off your dishes before you put them in the dishwasher. If food goes down the drain, it will eventually clog.” N and R nodded, wide eyed.

In the end, we cleaned out the P trap, reinstalled it, and then used a bottle of Liquid Plumr to unclog the drain. I guess we could have just used the Liquid Plumr to begin with, but where’s the fun in that?

After cleanup and a shower (my pants were soaked with greasy, couscous-laden water) it was pretty much the end of the school day. I didn’t dissuade the kids from doing their work, but I didn’t push it, either.

At least we ended the day on a restful note, with scones and jam for poetry teatime. All’s well that ends well… right?

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