Friday, January 11, 2008

Lesson Learned the Hard Way #894

Noodles: they expand when wet.

And when you put them in your garbage disposal and grind them up, they get angry and expand all up in your plumbing, causing pipes to overflow into your laundry room and belch out bloated noodle chunks into your yard, and just over the property line into your neighbor's yard for good measure.

Consider that a free lesson, folks. Write it down and refer to it often.

Another lesson that I learned this week: I have become oblivious to the many quirks and eccentricities of my house, but the minute a repairman walks in the front door, they become glaring eyesores.

My house was built in the early seventies. My husband and I fell in love with it at first sight; we loved the floor plan, the spacious bedrooms, the newly refurbished bathrooms, the back yard, the beautiful trees shading the entire lot.

Being that it was built in the seventies, well, it does have its quirks. (But as its owners, we were also built in the seventies and have quirks of our own, so we are very understanding.)

It has a seventies-style mirrored wet bar in the living room. Just in case walking the extra ten feet into the kitchen is too far to go for a lukewarm drink. It has electrical wiring in certain rooms that sometimes works, sometimes not. It has a ceiling fan that comes on at random in the winter, but refuses to work in the heat of summer. It has doors that don't always close just right, and if you get cold in one room of the house, you can invariably find another room that is five or six degrees warmer. It has outdoor lighting with such oddly-sized bulbs that we finally just quit trying to replace them. Every one of the toilets in my house runs funny. The handles have to be jiggled just right, or held down an extra moment or two while flushing. The faucet in my kitchen leaks. The shower button in my bathroom is permanently fused in the 'shower' position. I could go on and on.

All of these things I have learned to live with, and in fact, I have become so accustomed to them that I hardly even notice them any more.

Of course, they were pointed out to me this week by a very helpful and moderately-priced plumber who knew a cash cow when he saw it. (The house, I mean, not me. I hope.) He also gave me a terrific lecture about how I should not be putting any food down my garbage disposal. At all. Basically I guess the only reason I should use the garbage disposal is for chopping up liquids. So helpful.

If you were hoping I was going to wrap this up with a witty life lesson or at least a decent joke about plumber's crack, well, you would be wrong. (He is coming back next week to fix a few bathroom issues, so I'll try to come up with something by then.)

I am curious to know, is your house this way, too? Or do you immediately repair anything that goes awry?


  1. Ah yes, my house is like this. It's only 15 years old so it doesn't have quite as many quirks, but what it has we just deal with. We are abysmal at getting unnessasary things repaired in our home, and not that great with the nessesary stuff.

    My bedroom door has to be lifted up to pull shut, all of my bathrooms have issues, jiggly toilets, one downstairs spontaneously leaks a little every couple of months. And we go mop it up and wash the towels and ever actually do anything about it. We have a 3x3 blog in the kitchen where Ben pulled the Wallpaper off the wall. THe wallpaper that I hate and meant to remove four years ago.

    Most people I know do get these domestic things fixed, but I am awful at it. Or Shane says he is going to fix it and we know how that goes. I have been out of a master shower for 6 months and counting.

    Sorry about your plumbing problems. How's your washing machine?

  2. ok, so when he comes back can you ask him what exactly we should put dow the garbage disposal?

    As for the other stuff we have a new home so not so many quirks yet. But before I got married I lived in a house built in the late 1800's. Plenty of quirks! None of them got fixed unless they were costing me money if I did not fix them.

  3. Oh yes. We have quirks. None of my 3 baths/showers turns off with a normal amount of turning power. Guests rarely realize this, so when we have company, Mark and I have to do daily round to make sure everything is really off.

    We had two toilets that randomly liked to keep flushing. During a recent plumber call to fix a dripping toilet (things I do not want leaking on my floor DO warrant a call to the home warranty company), he "fixed" the running toilets. The one in my bathroom must now be jiggled EVERY time instead of most of the time.

    We are getting some of our quirks fixed this year, though. The earthquake (or tree root) ravaged driveway will be replaced and the chimney held together with creosote instead of mortar is getting a new liner to make it functional.

    Generally, we just live with the quirks until something leaks or doesn't work when I need it.

  4. @Joy- the washing machine wasn't broken, just the drainage pipe was backed up due to my promiscuous use of the garbage disposal.

    @Julie- I don't know if it's because of my 70's pipes or if the plumber just had a problem with garbage disposals in general, but he basically told me to only use it when absolutely necessary (like cereal or soup I guess).

  5. my house is OLD (1900 or possibly earlier) and every freakin' thing is broken. there is no way we could fix everything as it comes up. NO WAY. so you're not alone!

    and today i backed my car into the garage. now two more things that need to be fixed and won't be done for a lone, long while.


    Running on empty

  6. our house is a bit that way, but newer, so a little less so. And we are fixing some right now.

    and I learned a similar lesson about garbage disposals, only I learned it with potato peels, and not so much in the neighbor's yard. But the no food down the food grinder thing. I felt the same sense of confusion. why have it, then?

  7. HAHAHA! That is hilarious! A garbage disposal to be used for chopping up liquids! Why didn't I know that? HAHA!
    I am actually scared to use our garbage disposal because everytime I do something weird happens. I didn't know I shouldn't put potato peels in. ??
    Our house was built in 1929, so yeah, I know what you are talking about. Our hardwood bedroom floor creaks so loudly that it has actually woken up our children. BAH!
    That bathroom (and the kitchen too) remodel was a nightmare because it is such an old house. But still, it has charm and it is comfy, cozy, and I never want to leave.
    Hope your disposal is fine and dandy now.

  8. My house is OOOOOLD - closer to the 1870s then the 1970s - and so yes, everything in my house is broken. WE fix them when we can, right?

  9. Our house is only 9 years old, but definitely has some quirks and we are not very good at getting them fixed right away. For instance, in our second bathroom the shower piping moved. From the place where you pull the water on all the way up the the actual shower behind the wall - it moved. It was never going actually come loose, so we just dealt with it for a long time. We finally just got if fixed before my husband's brother came to visit at Thanksgiving. He is always picking up on the things we need fixed and we just did not want to hear him complain about this shower - AGAIN. So, we hired a plumber.
    I also have not fixed my diswasher - it is off the tracks. I know how to work it, but am reminded every time we have guests and the top rack completely falls out of the dishwasher, that it might be time to get that fixed!

    Oh and isn't that crazy how we are really not supposed to use our disposals? Uh, what are they for then?

    Oh, you have had some fun times these last couple weeks with household stuff! Stay sane!

  10. Oh, Chrissy, how I have missed you and your humor! Our house is a new old house. Meaning we spent 3 years making an old house a new one. We have 2 new toilets and yet one of them flushes and doesn't stop unless you reposition the handle, forget the jiggling thing, it just keeps swirlin'. Our new kitchen sink has a leak, but I think that's the plumbers' fault (that being hubby and FIL). Our front door sticks in the summer time, but then again, our old one did. Good thing we never had a fire and had to use that door because we couldn't even unlock it. Our biggest quirks are the owners themselves, I guess. And the fact that after 3 years we still have outlets not connected, which is I suppose the electricians' fault (again my hubby and his dad), doors that need doorknobs, if they are installed at all (the carpenters fault - yes, you know who), and touch up paint that needs to be done (I would say that is the painters fault, but the painter is me and I accept no responsibility).

    On a positive note, this past New Years was the first in about 2 years, we have not had to dig up our plumbing pipes and snake the line. Ah, progress!

  11. @Tracy- HI! I'm so glad to hear from you! And let me just say that I am think it's very appropriate that you are in charge of painting, after all the spackling and sanding we did back in the day. ha ha.


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