My girlfriend and I have had problems off and on with our kitchen sink ever since moving into our house a few months ago. While we’ve come to accept that turning the faucet on with too much force will result in a barrage of water squirting out at you in every direction as if it were a deranged clam colony, the intermittent drain issues are another story. Once in a while, without warning, water in the sink will simply stop draining with any visible velocity. You’d wash one dish and then have to watch an entire episode of 30 Rock before the sink was empty again.
Fortunately, while this was a recurring annoyance, it was not a frequent one, so we probably would have continued tolerating these unscheduled drainage lapses for a while longer if it weren’t for my own father’s disastrous attempt to make a cup of coffee during his visit last weekend.
As we all know, normally one’s inability to successfully make a cup of coffee is merely the stuff of lazy intra-office humor and lazier Dilbert cartoons, but on this particular Sunday morning, my dad managed to exceed these menial platitudes by brewing an entire quart of coffee that not only missed the pot entirely, but also somehow managed to disappear from the butcher block counter where it should have puddling en masse and reappear six feet away under the stove — on the OTHER side of the sink!
The coffee’s initial spillage was easily diagnosed as a poorly latched filter door, but the explanation for its subsequent Houdini (or is that Brew-dini?) impersonation was not so easy to come by. How the hell did three cups of brown liquid flow across the counter, past the sink, and down the side of the stove without leaving a single drop of evidence between the starting and ending point?
Much to my chagrin, the answer was revealed moments later when, while attempting to wash some stray coffee grounds down the sink, my dad and I were greeted with a gurgling noise coming from the cabinet below. Throwing open the doors to the sub-sink storage area, we bore witness to a highly distressed drainage pipe disgorging the remainder of its fluid contents straight into the wooden cupboards.
Having no idea what to do next, I watched as dad quickly unscrewed the locking plastic nut with his hand and removed the U-joint at the base of the drain pipe — revealing an unexpected culprit in our moistened investigation. There, sticking out of the PVC tubing like a bundle of tri-color kindling, were not one, not 417, but 13 thick drinking straws of the kind you might get with a McDonald’s milkshake.
We were flabbergasted. I tried to conceive of how this might have happened accidentally, but given the configuration of the built-in metal hatching across the top of the drain pipe, you probably couldn’t wash a straw down there even if you spent twenty minutes aiming at it with the flexible spray gun. To find a more than a dozen tightly bundled plastic cylinders wedged a foot-and-a-half down into the pipe could be nothing less than the product of malicious and/or marijuana-fueled intent. In Kitchenland, these straws were conclusive a posteriori evidence of intelligent (relatively speaking) design, for nothing but a thinking (again, relatively speaking) being could have caused this clusterfart of mayhem below our sink.
What’s worse, this little discovery has now made me paranoid about what else we might find lodged in improbable locations throughout our home: Ladles in the chimney? Bats in the belfry? Old Mother Hubbards in the Cupboards? Only time will tell, I suppose (though rest assured that, when it does, you’ll be the third to know — right behind my girlfriend and Old Father Hubbard, of course).