That Rush - February 23, 2023 | Kids Out and About Research Triangle <

That Rush

February 23, 2023

Debra Ross

How can it be that we created a Covid vaccine within a year of its emergence, but have failed, as a species, to design a clog-free tub drain?

The last time the plumber was at my house to fix a different problem, I confronted him with this question. He didn't have a good answer. But then he looked around as if to make sure his boss wasn't listening, leaned in closer, and lowered his voice. "Here's whatcha do," he advised. "Get yourself a shop-vac. Not a regular vacuum, a shop-vac: a wet/dry vacuum. Seal up the overflow hole on the wall of the tub with duct tape. Then place the end of the shop-vac over the drain, and turn it on."

I didn't have a shop-vac. But—and this will sound strange unless you're someone like me, in which case it won't sound strange at all—I'd actually been thinking about getting one. Big noisy home improvement gadgets make me feel powerful, and an excuse to acquire a new one is always welcome. So I hopped out to the Big Orange Box Store and, for one-third the price of having the plumber clear my drain just once, bought myself a shop-vac. I also bought duct tape, on the principle that you can never have enough duct tape. I got home, and after just ten minutes (to assemble) and fifteen seconds (to suck), I had a perfectly flowing drain.

It was grosser than I'd anticipated, blacker and gunkier and smellier. (My oldest turned pale and bolted from the bathroom.) So be forewarned: You may need to employ that "mom stomach" you've cultivated. But who cares? You'll save money, and you'll have acquired both a powerful new tool and a powerful new skill. Me, I almost want the drain to clog again soon so I can get that power-tool endorphin rush.

Do you have a fabulous cheap solution to an ongoing problem? Send it along so I can spread the word, and we can all feel like adults together.