“Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgement.”
Over a prolonged period of time, an odor had arisen that lurked from unknown recesses in the master bathroom. It had the touch of musty drain emissions, but no amount of cleaning or trap-filling seemed to eliminate it for long. We washed the bath drain and jets, the shower drain, and the sinks, and even used a serrated metal cleaning strip that fished out all sorts of disgusting grunge from the traps. No matter our efforts, the odor lingered as if defiant of any attempts at its exorcism.
After exhausting nearly every effort we could imagine, it appeared that the odor would outlive both of us. Perhaps somewhere along the line we could be “blessed” with the COVID symptom of loss of smell, without going through all the rest of the disease.
One fine day, Fairy happened to be leafing through a Sharper Image catalog and noted an ad for an “electric plumber,” which portended to be able to flush any undesirables from sink drains. She had me look at the ad and we both wondered if there was any hope that this could save us from the eternal stench.
The order was placed and a few days later it arrived in a box about four times the size of the electric plumber. No matter, I got it out and, in defiance of my manhood, actually read the directions. It seemed simple enough: attach the appropriate drain seal to the end of the device, plug it in, turn it on until the air pressure reached the desired level (25-40 pounds), turn it off and unplug it, then place the seal tightly over the drain, push the pressure release, and with a great poof, the evil spirits would be gone! Or so I thought.
It all worked as directed and when I removed it from the drain, a tiny, misty goblin of condensate hovered momentarily over the drain before vanishing. I filled the trap with water and repeated the procedure a couple more times, and then repeated with the other sink, the bathtub and shower. Each time the misty “goblin” hovered and then quickly vanished. So, what was accomplished? I had no idea other than that the drains all flowed nicely without sign of backing up. But the odor? I had an uneasy sensation of its continued, haunting presence.
I began putting the EP (electric plumber) away, not really convinced that anything had been accomplished, and wondering how hard it would be to return the device. Just then Fairy came by to check on progress, and I decided to give one more air blast so she could see how it worked. This time instead of merely 25 pounds of air pressure, I let it build up to 35 pounds, which was still well within the limit.
I explained each of the steps as she waited in anticipation, then placed the seal over the drain and pushed the red release button. OH MY GOD!!! Greenish gray wads of mushy material exploded from the front top of the sink, coated the interior and bespeckled the faucet and mirror. Fairy and I looked at each other in horror. Yes, we did suddenly know, exactly from whence the offending aromas arose. It was splattered all over my half of the bathroom vanity.
Trails of the foul, flying specks traced back to the opening of the overflow drain. Apparently, debris from over the years had cultured microscopic critters that had fouled the drain and our noses. We had to find a way to rid ourselves of the rest of whatever else resided in those dank depths without exporting them to what was left of our vanities.
Finally, I found a stout piece of cardboard to angle over the overflow drain outlet. Sure enough, the next blast of air spattered the cardboard with a pile of splat that would have made a vulture proud, but this time none of it ended up on the mirrors. After several more blasts, the mire subsided, and we repeated the routine with all the other sinks. Then, the sinks were filled with water and bleach which was allowed to pass through the overflow drains.
Later in the day, after the cleanup had been completed, we nervously reentered the bathroom cautiously sniffing for remnant odors. Do you smell something?” Fairy asked. No, I didn’t, I replied, as I cautiously looked for the misty goblin over the drain. It didn’t reappear, nor did the smell. It appeared that the electric plumber’s exorcism had worked, and we will use it periodically in the future, so we don’t get “repossessed.”
© Eskildoodle 2021