How…

to…

fix…

a…

clogged…

shower…

drain.

I Googled.

Few things ruin your appetite quite like fixing your own shower drain first thing in the morning. I went from dreaming of pancakes slathered in sweet cream to muttering things like, “No thanks, I ate a late lunch. Yesterday.” after the stench of plunging a 40 year old drain threatened the inner sanctum that has become our master bathroom. Three words. Dis. Gust. Ting.

But I must say, my husband and I have been able to solve a number of problems with a little help from Mr. Google and Mrs. Youtube lately. We’ve been able to fix everything from a busted clothes dryer to a ’95 Mercedes Benz using those little online tools. I don’t know how plumbers, mechanics and appliance repair people are staying in business these days.

Step-by-step instructions right there at our finger tips with how-to videos to boot, using tools we already have or occasionally a modestly priced new part. And voila! Fixed! No waiting for the repair man between the hours of 9am and 4pm! No getting bamboozled because I’m an ignorant housewife who doesn’t know how much spark plugs cost. A can do attitude and a firm sense of accomplishment! What could be better?

Hmmm, I don’t know…an appetite, maybe?

For example, here was my morning:

Step One: After unscrewing the shower drain cover (easy peasy…) untwist a good old fashioned wire hanger, leaving the hook at the end intact, fish it down the drain and attempt to hook the responsible hairball lurking down there and pull it out. If it’s too gross, wear gloves. I did wear gloves. Still gross. And water still not draining.

Step Two: If step one doesn’t work (highly unlikely), plunge the drain 5 or 6 times. I did. Now there’s black water everywhere and the shower is still not draining. I’m glad I kept the gloves on, but now I wish I had thought to put on fishing waders too. And a gas mask. What is up with that stench? I use shampoo that smells like strawberries! Go figure.

Step Three: If steps one and two still don’t send the water draining (highly, highly unlikely) then pour down the drain half a cup of salt, half a cup of baking soda and a cup of vinegar and chase the mixture down with a kettle of boiling water. Check, check and check. Gloves still on. Still wish we owned waders and I’ve cracked the bathroom window open, but now the shower has turned into an ultra gross fifth grade volcano science experiment with black foam sudsing everywhere. (Behold! Mt. Vesuvius!) Gross. Why don’t we own waders again? What does my husband have against fly-fishing anyways?

Step Four: If steps one, two and three still don’t yield results, (highly, highly, highly unlikely) plunge again. I did, with the beads of sweat on my brow mixing in with the putrid stench, droplets of disgustingness squirting my way…That Youtube plumber is a quack. What does “ProHandyMan.com” know anyways. 35,000 views? Seriously? Was there an asterisk on his website that made a plumbing repair disclaimer on all pre-1975 avocado green bathroom fixtures? That’s it, I’m calling a real plumber. Then…

Swoosh!

It worked! The water drained out in a flash! Just like that! One minute I was feeling like I was starring in the sewage version of Pompei, the next, standing in a normal shower. I did it! I did it! I did it! I felt like Dora the Explorer-Lo Hicimos! The black foam, the black water, and all the horrifying things that burped up with it, all down the drain, all rushing home towards the sewage treatment plant as we speak. Whew!

I mean really, I don’t know who calls a plumber anymore.

Ugh. I need a shower. I can’t tell you how glad I am that mine works now.

Margaret Anderson is a BYU graduate, returned missionary, freelance writer, wife and the mother of five small children. Read more at www.jamsandpickles.wordpress.com