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a home + living guide for the post-college, pre-parenthood, quasi-adult generation

07.22.2002

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other recent LOUNGE articles:
o Home Alone
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Office Space: Color Shemes
o Open House: Sydney Sanctuary
o Burn Baby Burn
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Green Scene: Indoor Herb Gardening
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Album-cover CD Box
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A Room of My Own
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Fight the Chaos
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Gallery-style Picture Hanging Tracks
o After School
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Sew What?
o Curtain Time
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Lazy Decorator's Bag of Tricks
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Home sweet homes

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plumb trouble how I battled a cranky toilet 
by Yee-Fan Sun | 1 2 3 4
continued from page 2

Iím back in the bathroom standing in half an inch of water, thumbing my way through the plumbing chapter of a book called How To Fix Damn Near Everything, when I hear my sweetie walking through the door. Before heís even had a chance to finish saying "Hey there, Iím home!", Iím shouting back, "The toiletís exploded! People coming here in two hours! Hellllllllp!" The poor boy barely gets a chance to set down his luggage before Iím pulling him into the bathroom to survey the damage.

Fortunately, we remember that we received a plumbing snake as a wedding shower gift from a friend of ours, who at the time half-jokingly referred to the snake as "the one essential tool for all homeowners." A snake, for those fortunate enough never to have had to use one, is nothing more than a long length of stiff wire thatís tightly coiled until it ends into a sort of spiralling spring, with a handle at the opposite end that allows you to twist the snake and get it to go around the bends of your pipes. The snake, up to this point, is a completely foreign object to us; we have to tear off the packaging and snip off the wires that hold it together because itís sat quietly in our closet for the past year, happily unused.

How to Fix Damn Near Everything advises us to protect the delicate porcelain of the bowl while weíre snaking, by slipping a length of plastic tubing around the portion of the snake that touches the bowl, thus preventing the metal from scraping. We canít find any tubing in the house, but come up with a makeshift alternative using a plastic bottle with the top and bottom cut off to protect the drain area, and a thick towel to protect the rim of the toilet bowl. It makes for some slightly unwieldy maneuvering as I hold the protective gear in place and he twists the snake through the pipes, but we do manage to get the snake through the pipes without ruining the toilet bowl.

The 25 foot long snake goes through without hitting anything, which means the problem, as suspected, is probably in the main drain line (the muddy tub further reinforces this theory). We go outside to open up the main drain cleanouts, which, sure enough, are already dribbling water out of them. Snaking from this end doesnít yield anything either, which means we need a longer snake. A trip to our friendly neighborhood Home Depot produces one, and itís back to twisting and turning the snake through the pipes again.

mosey along this way please

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