Friday, June 1, 2012

Unqualified Plumber

Mood: Impatient - Indira promised to make byriani today. We all know how I feel about that subject.
Listening to: Take it off - Kesha

Our housekeeper Indira was doing the dishes yesterday when she came out with a concerned look on her face. “Uh oh,” I thought, “This usually means she wants me to do something.” I was right.

“Madam, sink is running slowly Madam. Please call plumber for tomorrow.”

Damn it.  Le Sigh. A couple of things created this response in me. The first thing was that I really, really don’t like calling strangers on the phone. I don’t know why and it’s not a phobia type thing, but I really would rather not. Second , even if I ask Daddy G to call for me, he will not do it and then the plumber will come to the house while he’s not home. I’m not really scared of that either, but I’ve heard so many horror stories about service people coming to a house and taking advantage of an unsuspecting lady if the husband isn’t home. The third reason was that this would be the 3rd time in 6 months I’ve called the plumbing service for this exact same problem.  Our apartment complex has both electricians and plumbers who will come for free (unless something extra has to be installed that is your fault) if you call. They come the same day and are generally good about fixing the problem. The plumbers are also whiney little girls (not literally, mind you) when it comes to doing the work. The first two times they came, they actually asked me why I didn’t pour acid down the drain because it was clogged. Well, probably because it’s not my apartment – I rent, I didn’t want the owner to get blamed for wrecking the pipes if something happened, and I didn’t want to be responsible for replacing the pipes in the entire building. Besides – it’s your job, you’re the plumber. Not how I wanted to spend my morning.

I have been a fixit type for as long as I remember. My mother always stressed to me that you can’t trust a man to come along and do or fix something for you. Hallelujia for that lesson Mom, it was a good one. As a result, I’ve had my own hand drill and tool set since I was 18. I know how to use them too. I’ve been breaking into apartments (all my own, after locking myself out) and retrieving rings and contacts from drains for as long as I can remember. I have yet to blow up the plumbing or spring a serious leak in anything that required an actual plumber for help. I'd rather just do something myself rather than being dependent on someone else to do it.

With this in mind, I decided to check out the sink before calling the plumber. Sinks in India (at least the newer ones anyway) operate the same as western ones. The aerator just unscrews, most of the time easily. After taking it out, it was apparent why the water was not coming out of the tap at full force. The aerator holes (all 50 microscopic ones) were clogged up with dirt and tiny rocks/sediment. I’m not quite sure where they’re getting this “clean water for washing dishes” but I call bull. I couldn’t figure out how to get the aerator open (it was clearly 2 pieces) and I didn't want to break it, so I grabbed a pin and cleared out all the holes by digging out the bigger rocks and pushing all the dirt and junk through to the other side. After screwing it back in, it works fine.  I’m glad I didn’t chew out the plumber, it’s not his fault the water is dirty.

Phone call and visit averted. Insert sigh of relief here.



  1. Hey, good for you. I wish I had some of the training that your mom gave you! When anything goes wrong here I call the plumber/electrician etc and demand immediate attention.

    Well, actually, I only call for help if it's a really bad situation. I'm just so lazy that I don't usually want to deal with it ;-)

  2. Unfortunately, she learned that lesson the hard way herself and wanted to make sure I didn't have to. I sure appreciate it!
    I would probably have just ignored the faucet myself if I was the one doing the dishes. Indira nags me a lot if I don't take care of this stuff because it makes her stay in our house even longer, when she has other houses to do, which I guess is fair.