Our homeschooling shelves have become a repository of science lab supplies: PH testing paper, bottles of powdered acids, magnifiers, magnets, prisms, and just about anything else we could find. We say it’s for the kids, for homeschooling, but sometimes it’s just for us grownups.
Our shower drain has been getting blocked increasingly often lately. I was inclined to blame Mr. December’s hair (it’s shoulder length now and he has way more hair than I do.) We used Drano and Liquid Plumr and I tried to pull out the hairs that were caught on the grate. But by the end of this morning’s shower, Mr. December was up to his ankles in water—and he was standing on wooden decking that’s already two inches above the floor.
We armed ourselves with all manner of tools, but it only took a minute or two to pry the drain grate up. Mr. December using my small wrecking bar to reach into the drain. After a few unproductive tries, he pulled up an enormous clog. I was right, there was hair; but there was something else too—could it be cement?
I pulled out a big chunk of the solid stuff and inspected it. I even took it to the kitchen table and looked at it through a magnifying glass.
“Hey, guys!” I called to the kids, “this is so cool! It looks like miniature coral!”
E came racing over. K sauntered over, took a look, and said, “It does look like coral. Huh.” The other two kids were uninterested.
Feeling pretty sure it was just calcium buildup from the hard water, I went and poured some vinegar down the drain to dissolve the crud we couldn’t reach.
“Does that actually work?” Mr. December wanted to know.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but in our house the usual answer to “does that work?” is, “go try it and find out.”
That’s how I ended up conducting an experiment all by my lonesome. I put chunks of the clog in glasses containing water, mountain dew, and white vinegar respectively. Then I tested the PH of each liquid and watched to see what happened.
I tried to involve the kids—I really did—but they weren’t interested. I continued anyway. For science, and to satisfy my own curiosity. I could claim that it was supposed to be educational for the kids, but now you all know the truth: absent the children, I was still gung-ho about the experiment.
And, for the record, yes, the vinegar worked. Also—I’d think twice before drinking Mountain Dew.