Friday, May 01, 2015

my awesome jury-rigged nightmare

I thought this solution was rather clever:

Can you make out what's going on? Let me see if I can walk you through this.

The above is a picture of two joined pipes; it was taken from under my bathroom sink. (And you can keep your scrotal "fromunda" jokes to yourself for now.) I had to use my phone camera's "selfie" mode to get the shot I wanted. Basically, there's a sink drainpipe that points straight down, emanating from the sink itself (top half of the above picture). About halfway to the floor, there's a ridged pipe that looks a bit like a flexible drinking straw that leads up from the floor drain next to the sink. The straight pipe and the flexible pipe aren't the same diameter, so the flexible pipe keeps falling down, a bit like Grandpa's denim pants when Gramps isn't wearing a belt or suspenders. In the picture above, you can't see the flexible part of the flexible pipe that's coming up from the floor. Instead, what you see is the blocky-looking, chrome-painted plastic tailpiece (I had to look that up).

I've joined the two pipes by wrapping a bit of cling wrap around the joined area, then fixing everything in place with two rubber bands—one on the metal drainpipe coming down from the sink, the other on the flexible plastic pipe coming up from the floor.

Looks positively awful, doesn't it? Yet I'm proud of myself for coming up with this simple and elegant solution.

A bit of back story: when I moved into this studio in late February, one of the very first home disasters to strike was just this: I turned on the water in the bathroom sink, immediately heard a loud splattering noise, then watched in horror as a pool of water began to spread out from behind the sink's column-shaped porcelain shielding. Sticking with the Grandpa metaphor, then: my sink was incontinent. I immediately sent a text to my kind landlady; she sent her college-aged son down to do the repair. The son didn't have that self-assured look I've come to associate with true handymen (I don't have that look, either, as should be obvious from my un-handyman-like repair job), and his solution to the falling-pipe problem was... tape. The kid used a sticky, heavy-duty, industrial-thickness tape, and I suppose you could say that his fix worked for a time... but two months later, the tape was soaked enough to allow the lower pipe to fall down like old, incontinent Grandpa's pants at a dinner party.

So this second fall happened not even thirty-six hours ago. Annoyed, I knew it would be useless to call upstairs for more help: the kid would probably just bring his heavy-duty tape again. What I needed was a more permanent solution—something to act like a belt or suspenders to keep the bottom half of the drainpipe from falling limply off the top half. I thought and thought, turning over possible solutions in my mind, and the design concept that kept popping up was basically what you see in the above photo: wrap something around the joined area, then secure the wrapping with two elastic bands.

I went to Daiso, bought some cling wrap and a little box of thick elastic bands, went home, cleaned off the pipes as best I could, and dried the cleaned ends. I rolled the elastic bands (after doubling them up with figure-8s to make them tighter) onto the pipes, joined the pipes, wrapped the cling wrap around the joined area, rolled the bands onto the wrap... and let the pipes go. There was a centimeter or two of sag, but when I turned on the sink, all the water went where it was supposed to, and I knew I was back in business.

My solution: ugly, but simple in concept and a fuck of a lot better than tape.


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