Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Garbage Disposals Were Not Made For...

...So, let's go over the list. Shall we?

Garbage disposals were not intended for...
-making that playground stuff from bald tires
-hiding the pacifier that your 3 year old won't part with
-toothbrushes (I know, sometimes they smell like it wouldn't hurt to try this - but, really - don't. Trust me on this.)
-legos. Legos probably shouldn't go down the disposal.
-Neither should batteries. That would be bad.

Incidentally, 4 out of 5 of these items used to regularly find their way down our bathroom sink when my little guy was much younger. You would be amazed at what we would have to dig out of the drain pipe. OK. Back to our list.

-potato peels

Now that one really surprised me. I'm no idiot savant here but, I thought they were made for food. Now, I know better than to put onion skins down the disposal - but, potato peels? Really? Evidently some evil magic takes over when you put them into the garbage disposal and it turns them into rocks. Or did the plumber say cement? Tomato. Tomahto. Same difference if you ask me. Are you asking me? What? You want to know how I know this? OK. Enough twisting my arm already. Here's the story...

It's Friday evening. My husband's boss and his family are coming over for dinner. I say the word 'boss' which is accurate, but it would be just as accurate to say he's one of the owners of the company. Are we getting a clear picture now? OK.

I have spent quite a bit of time during the week making homemade noodles. Please, allow me to take a bunny trail for a moment concerning homemade noodles. I grew up eating chicken and dumplings. I love chicken and dumplings. But, there was something I found even better than your typical dumpling. It was Loretta Brown's sliders. Loretta Brown was an older lady in the church I grew up in. Every time we had a church pitch in I hunted Loretta down to find out which dumplings she had brought. No one else's would do. She had told me once that they weren't actually dumplings, but sliders. See, where dumplings can be thick and doughy (Is that even a word?), sliders are thinner and soak up more of the flavor of the broth. Oh, are they ever good! But...then I met my husband, a Hoosier. Hoosiers don't eat dumplings. And they don't eat sliders, either. They eat noodles. Noodles are almost like the Holy Grail of all things chicken and some sort of dough concoction in Indiana. When we first got married, my hubby asked me in a sheepish, boyish kind of way if I would have his mom teach me how to make noodles. They have long since surpassed Loretta Brown's sliders in my palette of adoration. I can thank homemade noodles for quite a few extra pounds. Noodles are a lot of work so I don't make them very often. Just usually for special occasions. They boss coming to dinner would qualify for a special occasion. Back to Friday...

The chicken and noodles were cooking, bread was in the oven and it was time to get the potatoes cooking. I peeled 6 pounds of potatoes. The left side of my sink was filled with dish water so I could keep cleaning up as I went. I put a few potato peels down the disposal at a time with no problems - or so I thought. Eventually, though, I wondered if I had actually put that much water in the other side of the sink. But, I kept adding more peelings a few at a time until the dishwater began to overflow to the other side of the sink and I realized that Houston had a problem. The disposal seemed to completely lock up the instant that the water overflowed. Holy Crap, Batman! What do I do now? The water wasn't draining. The disposal was jammed. The potatoes needed to be drained so I could mash them. The list of 'uh-ohs' was growing.

When my main squeeze walked in the door after work I tried to be all nonchalant and full of smiles when he said, "Hi, Honey. How was your day?". In my best we're cool and things are just peachy effort, I replied with a smile, "Great. But we have a problem."

He proceeded to pull the plumbing apart which poured water into a bucket past the point of overflow (all over the kitchen floor) trying to fix the clog. When he realized it was going to take more than a quick fix and the boss man and his family were due to be at our house in about ten minutes, we just cleaned up as quickly as possible and he headed for the shower. I had to get there first, though. You see, I still had to drain the potatoes. In the bathtub. Nice.

I ended up mashing 6 pounds of potatoes by hand because I didn't want to dirty my stand mixer and I knew I wouldn't be washing dishes that night. I also opted to not make the green beans I had planned on fixing for the same reason. I figured that the less mess I had the better. So, I served a completely white and starchy dinner; chicken and noodles, mashed potatoes and rolls. The rest of the night went incredibly well considering all the obstacles that we encountered along the way.

The next morning, Chris (My husband does have a name!) headed to the hardware store for a ginormous container of Drano. That did nothing. So, he talked to a plumber yesterday. When the plumber found out about the potato peels he said that they are one of the worst things you can put into the garbage disposal. That would have been good information to know Friday morning. He said they turn into cement or rocks or something when you run them through the garbage disposal. Huh. Who'da thunk? Then they had a conversation that went something like this.

Mr. Plumber: "When was your house built?"

My Man: "1953."

Mr. Plumber: "So, you probably have old cast iron pipes?"

Sexy Hubby: "Yep."

Mr. Plumber: "And you live in (our town)?"

Stud Muffin: "Yep."

Mr. Plumber: "That town is notorious for having really hard water."

Tiger: "Yeah. Our water is really hard."

Mr. Plumber: "Do all of your drains run slow?"

Hubba Hubba: "Yep."

Mr. Plumber: "Even if you clear the clog - your pipes aren't going to be the diameter they're supposed to be because of mineral build up and rust. By the time you get someone to unclog the sink, it's going to end up being just as expensive as it would be to re-plumb your house."

So, guess what we are having done? The plumber is supposed to be here tonight.

In the mean time, do you know how hard it is not to use the kitchen sink? Not to dirty dishes, especially since we don't even own paper plates? Thank God for frozen food. I NEVER buy frozen dinners, but, for some reason when I was at the grocery store this week, I did. We have been eating those or putting wax paper on our plates before we put anything else on them to keep from dirtying dishes. Last night, I gathered a bunch of groceries and took it to my mother-in-law's apartment and cooked supper at her house. She's cooking for us tonight. I love that woman!

So, what have we learned today? Don't put legos, or toothbrushes, or posters, or calculators, or the neighbor's cat who keeps digging up your flower beds, or rocks, or potato peels down your garbage disposal. Not unless you want new plumbing for your house. Sound reasonable enough?


  1. Oy...I SO feel for you.

    Those kinds of homeowner surprises are never any fun.

    I turned on our garbage disposal once and a toddler fork came flying out of the drain at me! Yipes! We've also lost those ornamental glass beads (which I had in a large vase with a goldfish once upon a time) down inside and had to retrieve with some BBQ tongs.

  2. Hilarious! You have such a great sense of humor...and a great way of putting it into writing. I like that you write like (I'm assuming) you talk. :) Def made me smile. Plus I can relate to the drama of everyday life.

    Two thoughts:

    1. Thank the Lord we don't have a garbage disposal because I would get into trouble!

    2. I'm a hoosier (transplanted to Iowa) and you're right we hoosiers love our noodles. People up here in Iowa don't do noodles. It's a crying shame too! They don't know what they're missing. I make them for my family and they love 'em. My hubby had never had them before I made them for him. :)

    God bless!

  3. Where ya been, Pam? Haven't heard hide nor hair of ya in over a week. Just checking in to be sure all was well. Miss ya around the bloggy 'hood.

  4. LOL! who still peels potatoes??? I don't remember the last time I peeled a potato....the skin is where all the nutrients are!
    I do however remember clogging the garbage disposal when I dumped a pan of spaghetti in the sink...accidentally, of course, and it just went right down the drain...when I turned the disposal on I experienced exactly what you did! A big ole mess...and company coming as well! Good thing there is always a plan B, huh, Pam!


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