Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Mexican Plumbing Issues

Last Tuesday the kitchen drain was plugged so that water running out of the sink ran out of the dishwasher drain and all over the floor. We went to the store and purchased the Mexican equivalent of
DrainO and poured that down the drain. Waited the required 15 minutes and tried to flush the drain with hot water. The hot water ran all over the floor. Another bottle of DrainO was left in the drain all night. The next morning we got the same result. Back to town for a plumbing snake. Surely this would do the trick. However, our snake was unwilling to twist around all the turns in the pipe. She returned shamefully empty handed and refused to reenter the pipe.

On Wednesday, with our resources and our patience totally exhausted, we reported the problem to our landlord and he said, "No problem. Tomorrow Raul will fix it." (Please note the quotation marks.) You may wonder why we didn't report the problem when it first occurred. I hope the following will explain why we tried so desperately to remedy the situation on our own.

By Thursday afternoon the kitchen sink was completely disconnected and unusable. I had a hole in the outside wall of the kitchen about 18 inches high by 12 inches wide, a 1x2 foot hole in the patio floor which is about 12 inches deep, and a 4 sq ft hole just off the patio under the tree. The 'tapada' was located about 20 feet down the side of the house. The tube was completely, totally sealed with mineral deposits and bits of "stuff." It was 5:00 and time to quit.

On Friday morning, the construction boss showed up, looked at the pipe and announced that he would have to show it to the landlord to get authorization to replace it. I hope you can see the humor in this. The pipe was completely clogged. He was holding a two foot section that had been cut from the middle of the pipe and he still had to get authorization to replace it. Off he want with the pipe dripping nastiness with every step. He returned about two hours later saying that he had been authorized to make the necessary repairs, but he would have to go to town to purchase the materials. He did not return that day.

On Saturday morning, a whole gang of men showed up. They dug a new 4 sq ft hole and a new ditch for the sink pipe from the hole to the main sewer line. The idea is to replace the existing 2 inch tube with a 4 incher and install a clean-out pit. Hopefully, they will also put a trap on the kitchen sink which at this point has none. Please remember this was on Saturday and at 1:00 on Saturday all construction shuts down. No matter what they are in the middle of doing.

Just about the same time the workers left, four friends from Monterrey arrived for the week-end. What a circus. Thankfully I have the sink in the little winery, but it was still an interesting time. There is no stove in the winery which meant I was cooking in one apartment and conducting all water related activities in the other.

Of course, Sunday passed with no sign of construction workers or construction activity.

As of Monday, the new pipe was buried and the grease pit was installed, but we were waiting for the construction boss to come with the materials necessary to reconnect the sink to the drainage.

Today, the drain issues are a thing of the past. Isn't it interesting that a simple domestic detail can absolutely dominate my life and then, once resolved, be totally inconsequential? The cabinets are scrubbed, the floor is freshly mopped, the sinks are sparkling, and I am a happy woman again.