…the next time you see me, it’s probably because my garbage disposal is broken.
I know, the correlation seems a bit weak initially, but when you step back, you’ll realize: a broken garbage disposal means a kitchen sink that won’t work, which means that a dishwasher won’t work, which means there’s no cooking until the garbage disposal is fixed, which means there’s a week of eating out until it is repaired, which is why I’ll soon need to shop for muumuus.
For the most part, I don’t put much down the disposal. I usually just run it when I rinse out my sink. As a result, it’s one of those “appliances” I’ve given little thought – until it broke.
Now it seems like my life revolves around that disposal, because any time I dirty a dish, I have to wash it in my bathroom sink. Gross.
As someone who maintains her own version of a kosher kitchen (ie. items that touch cat food don’t touch human food; the cat is not allowed to lick anything that will ever hold human food; napkins don’t get washed with other laundry; etc.) it’s been a bit disturbing to rinse dishes while eyeing a toilet. Trust me when I say there’s been a lot of disinfecting going on.
It started last Tuesday as I prepped dinner: crab cakes with sauteed spinach. All was good, until I rinsed the sink, ran the disposal, and it simply made a “clunk” noise as the circuit breaker tripped. I reset it and tried again: with no luck.
About this time, Alan showed up. “We have a problem,” I said, greeting him at the door. I’m sure those are the exact words he likes to hear after spending a 12-hour day navigating the strong personalities at a high profile law firm. To his credit, after surveying the situation, he asked for a baster and began removing the standing water from my sink. (Pretty much a saint.)
Unfortunately, that’s about as much progress as we made that night, and I found myself wiping out the dinner dishes with paper towels so I could wash them in my bathroom sink without putting any food debris down that drain.
The next day I posted to Facebook, asking for recommendations of a plumber/electrician who could diagnose a faulty disposal and repair it. (Only in DC would one of the responses be from a friend nominating her husband, a furloughed NASA astrophysicist with a bit of time on his hands!)
Within 24 hours, I had an electrician out checking the circuit. Turns out, it wasn’t the problem – the disposal was. Since I would have to wait almost another week before a plumber could come out to replace it, Alan and I decided to attempt it ourselves.
Alan’s done this procedure before – more than once – so it seemed like a no-brainer… Until he had everything disconnected and went to unscrew the cuffs that attached the disposal to the sink. To say they were stuck is like saying Paula Dean likes butter. I’m pretty sure they had fused together, bound by a unique DC combination of lead and lyme.
Alan tried everything. Double wrenches, pliers, hammer, screwdriver. There was lots of pounding and lots of swearing. I sat by, googling to see if other people had struggled with this phase of the project. Turns out, we weren’t alone. And in many cases, the solution involved CUTTING the metal ring out. Needless to say, I don’t have the tools for that.
Finally, after futzing with it for over an hour, we decided to wait and let the plumber sort it out. The only issue was that with the pipes and hoses disconnected, it now smelled like a compost pile under my sink. So I stuffed paper towels in all the openings, sprayed some Mrs. Meyers lavender disinfectant everywhere, and left an open box of baking soda siting there.
Oh, and I put a grocery bag over the faucet to remind myself not to accidentally run water. Which is a surprisingly difficult habit to break.
So now we wait for the plumber, and I kick myself for not executing the brilliant invention idea I came up with almost a year ago: a bathtub garbage disposal.
Although, with my luck, it would’ve also broken and I’d not only be washing dishes in my bathroom sink, but also be reduced to giving myself sponge baths. Guess I’ll count my blessings.