Two days ago, the garbage disposal in my sink made a terrible noise and stopped working. It did the humming thing but nothing was moving. I figured something was stuck in it, so I did the thing they tell you not to do: I flipped off the switch, put on a rubber glove, and put my hand down in there. I did this quickly, before two things could happen: 1) Matt could come into the room and yell at me for doing it--I mean, he is really, really against putting your hand in the garbage disposal, I've seen homeboy turn it off at the circuit box; 2) Poltergeists could possess the electrical wires in our house and turn on the disposal with my hand in it like they did in that movie Amityville Horror 4: The Evil Escapes.
So neither of those things happened and I got my hand down there and fished up some glass beads, big ones, like the size of mini marshmallows. They were the remains of a little glass Santa bracelet Laura had. How they got down the drain, I don't know, except that I do know because we keep so much crap on the counter above the sink, naturally stuff gets knocked in. I try to tidy that area, but everything that comes into the house lands there. It is a very bad system.
So some of the beads were whole and some were broken, and I was not holding enough beads to reconstitute the bracelet, yet I couldn't feel any more down where the impellers are. I withdrew to think and study.
During this time of contemplation, I half-heartedly stuck a broom handle down there for some reason. And I complained to Matt a lot. He said that he would look at it later.
I decided to see what the internets knew. I found this beautifully simple and helpful walkthrough. With its help, I realized that the flywheel wasn't turning, though the motor was getting power, which must mean that it was still obstructed by a bead stuck somewhere. The guide instructed me to manually turn the flywheel to dislodge the obstruction, which can be done from above (the broom handle method) or by sticking a wrench in the little wrench hole on the bottom of the unit. What stopped me from carrying out this plan was that the guide says, "Use the wrench that came with your disposal." I was like, huh? We don't got that wrench. And I'm not wise enough in the ways of wrenches to know an alternative.
Some time later, I said to Matt, "Do you have an offset wrench? We need to, like, stick a wrench in this little hole down here." (By now I'm having flashbacks to our ball cock conversation. Why does this stuff always happen in the kitchen?) Matt's like, "Wrench?" And I'm like, uh huh, and he's like, figure out what kind of tool I need and I'll take care of it.
That had me stumped. I mean, I had just very clearly with my mouth formed the word "wrench." I don't really know where to go from there. He went downstairs to work and I continued to live with the nonfunctioning sink with the tiny puddle of muck in it. This went on for another full 24 hours.
But Reader, just like the young sapling in winter, during this period of latency, I was gathering strength and summoning my internal resources for the surge of power--the new world that was to be born.
Also during that time, I drank a cup of coffee with Kahlua in it at 11pm and slept like CRAP last night. Smart women, foolish choices. That threw off my whole morning and made me feel like butt and I didn't work out with my neighbor today, and it rained a bunch and I made two separate trips over to the pool/dojo, arriving home at 8pm to a sink with a tiny puddle of muck in it. Somehow that damn thing was not fixing itself.
Oh my God, there has never been a longer story of small appliance repair! I am proud.
While Matt was up starting the kid-bedtime process, I stood in the kitchen and made a small keening noise. I groped the disposal with the rubber glove some more and pulled out another half bead. Then my eyes alit on a plastic bag of odds and ends Matt had used to take apart a bed in Chattanooga. 'Nother story. I looked into the bag and there was a little pouch of something called "hex keys." Reader, here was something familiar! They looked like the little wrenches that come with Ikea products, ie, the only wrenches I've ever used. I wiggled my fingers into the pouch and picked out the chunkiest wrench.
Sitting on the floor in front of the sink, I tried the wrench in the little hole. It seemed to fit. The guide had said that the flywheel will be hard to turn but then, when the blockage is moved, it will turn freely. And that's what happened. First the thing wouldn't turn, and then it made a terrible noise, like two pieces of metal with bits of broken glass between them. I got it turning easily.
Then, checking to see that the little red reset button was pushed in, I stood up and turned on the switch. But I didn't just flip it on and leave it! No, you gotta pulse it like a blender. On and off, on and off, while water runs. At first the disposal was making the awful grinding noise, but it was turning. So I kept pulsing until I was brave enough to leave it running. And it cleared the junk away and sounded normal.
I whooped. Then I hollered, "Who just fixed the garbage disposal? ME. WITH A WRENCH. I am TAKING BACK THE NIGHT!" And I wasn't sure Matt had heard me, so I went upstairs and found him to tell him face to face. Then I tweeted it and then I put it on facebook. I almost texted my parents. And now I have blogged it. Hear me roar.
But it's funny, seriously, I studied the little diagram of the parts of a garbage disposal, and now it is in my head and it is mine. What was an opaque black box to me is now part of the mapped territory, and it will not trouble me again. Knowledge TRULY IS POWER, they were not kidding. Imagine if you could come to grok the workings of your car that way! Or something else hard! And there is information out there to help us learn! We have only to seize it!
Teach a man to fish!