We’re going to play a little game. You’ll need a pen and paper to keep score. I’ll tell you a story peppered with possible point values and you keep track of your score along the way. Okay? Okay.
A few months ago I was doing the dishes, when I turned the garbage disposal on. It made a sad groaning sound, as if somebody had given it a hard kick in the kanooder valve. I turned the switch off immediately, stuck my hand down into it and felt around for a foreign object, but found nothing. I flipped the switch again and this time it was completely dead. (Give yourself 5 points if you have ever stuck your hand down into the garbage disposal. Give yourself another 5 points if you’re actually keeping score.)
“Great,” I said to Ryan who was walking through the kitchen.
“What?” he said.
“The garbage disposal is dead.”
“Did you check to see if something was stuck?”
“Yep. There’s nothing. It moaned, and then it died.”
I played with it a little more, turning the switch on and off, but nothing happened at all. So, I did what I normally do when appliances and furniture are not working properly—-I verbally abused it: “Stupid, piece of crap, disposal!” (Take away 5 points if you have ever verbally abused one of your appliances. Then get help; it’s not the applicance’s fault.) I’m kind of a go-with-the-flow type of gal, so I gave up on the disposal pretty quickly and just started scraping excess food into the garbage can.
A few days later, Ryan said, “So, the disposal’s dead?”
“As a doornail,” I said.
“Do you think that has anything to do with the fact that you like to shove it full of junk you’re not supposed to put down it?” he asked.
“Like potato peels. Like steak. Like spaghetti.”
“No, I don’t think that has anything to do with it.”
(Give yourself 5 points if you have ever successfully garbage-disposaled potato peels, steak, or spaghetti. (That’s 5 points per item for a total of 15 for you little over-achievers on the first row.))
Now when something inconvenient like this happens at our house, it doesn’t get a lot of priority. It is usually the sixteenth or seventeenth in line of Things That Make Our Lives More Difficult Than Necessary, far behind things like #1, Going to Graduate School For The Last Six Years, or #4, Where The Hell Is My Alarm Clock For Crying Out Loud And Why Do You Think It Is A Toy. (Give yourself 100 points if you know where my alarm clock is, for crying out loud.)
So, instead of addressing the issue of the dead disposal, I worked around it and bought one of these for $3.99 to keep the excess floaties from going down:
(Give yourself 5 points if you would have bought one of these.)
So, slowly, as the weeks went by, Not Having A Working Garbage Disposal began rising higher and higher on the list. Though I still haven’t found my alarm clock and Ryan has not graduated, suddenly the garbage disposal found itself in spot number one. I went to Sears yesterday and within ten minutes, I carried out a new Kenmore 3/4 Horsepower, 4 cylinder, barely street-legal garbage disposal.
“Are these easy to install?” I asked Mr. Sears Worker.
“So easy. Just follow the instructions,” he said.
“Okay. Do I need any special tools?” I asked.
“A screwdriver and a pipe wrench,” he said.
“So it’s easy?” I asked again.
“An idiot could do it,” he said.
That’s what I was afraid of, I said to myself.
When I got home and opened the box and took out the instructions, I found that I had been slightly misled by Mr. Sears Worker. (Give yourself 5 points if you have ever been misled by a Sears Worker.)
The instruction manual said that I need a screwdriver, a pipe wrench, plumber’s putty, a hacksaw, a drill, a blow torch, a notary public, an allen wrench, an engineering degree, and a partridge in a pear tree. (Give yourself 5 points for each of those items you happen to have. As for me, I have a screwdriver.)
So, after verbally abusing the instruction manual, I did the only other thing I know how to do when something is broken—-I called my dad. My dad is gifted when it comes to understanding how things work, why they break, and how they can be fixed. I remember watching MacGyver with him as a kid. MacGyver is an idiot compared to him. My dad could hotwire the car, jump the ravine, build the grenade while he drives with his knees and get away from the bad guys WITHOUT USING THE BUBBLE GUM OR PAPER CLIP.
My dad told me he could come Saturday morning to help install the disposal, and that he would bring his hacksaw, pipe wrench, and drill if we would pick up the plumber’s putty and a notary public at Home Depot. The date was set.
Then, he called me back about 5:00 last night and said, “I’ve been thinking about your disposal, and I forgot to ask what happened to it in the first place.” So, I told him about the moaning, then the silence.
“Uh-huh,” he kept saying.
“…and now it won’t even turn on,” I said.
“Okay, do you have a broom?” he asked.
“Go get it.”
(Give yourself 5 points if you can tell my floor needs to be swept just from talking to me on the phone.)
“Um, okay,” I said and got out the broom.
“Okay, stick the broom handle down the disposal and push down and try to turn the blades counter-clockwise.”
I knew better than to question. (Give yourself 200 points if you have any idea where he’s going with this.)
“Okay, I’m trying, but it’s only going about two inches before it stops.”
“Push harder, you need to get it loose so that it will turn completely around and free up whatever is stopping it. The blades normally turn clockwise, so we want to go counter-clockwise to free it.”
(Give yourself 500 points if you knew that garbage disposal blades normally move clockwise.)
“Okay, it’s turning now….Oh my gosh, there’s a bunch of crap coming up. Ew! Ew!”
“Okay, that’s good.”
“Holy crap! There’s a popsicle stick!”
“That would do it.”
“So, is it fixed now?”
“Almost. Look on the bottom of the disposal under the sink. You should see a little red button.”
(Give yourself 400 points if you knew there was a red button.)
“I see the red button.”
“Okay, let the water run and try turning the disposal on.”
“HOLY CRAP! IT’S WORKING!”
“Great, great. You got your disposal working a few days early.”
“You should see this popsicle stick. I’m going to have nightmares about this thing.”
“You wouldn’t be able to withstand the hug I’d give you if you were here.”
“It’s okay. You can write a blog about it.”
(Give yourself 10,000 points if your dad is as cool as mine.)
Okay, tally them up, folks. What’s your score? Although, I guess it doesn’t really matter. I’m pretty sure I still win.