I decided today I would tackle two home projects, after putting them off for at least a month. The first, was carpet cleaning. This was long overdue because I hadn’t decided how I wanted to get this cleaning done. Do I pay for cleaners? Do I buy a machine? Do I just rent a machine? Buying worked out to be the most cost-effective for me, and that was that.
The second, was that my master bathroom sink had slowed, then eventually stopped draining altogether (unless I was okay with waiting five minutes with each use).
Although, I had done the work to unclog the drain before, I still procrastinated. I remembered how long it had taken me the first time to figure out how to disassemble and then reassemble the apparatus that enabled the drain plug to rise and fall.
It was long enough since I did the last unclogging, that I was afraid I would need to Google the solution again. This deterred me even more. Then something occurred to me as I gazed at the sink. You’ve done this before, I told myself, you don’t need Google. You just need to trust your muscle memory.
I detached the pop-up stopper rod. There’s a retaining screw towards the top of the bottom segment (the one with the clevis at the end) that attaches it to the top segment (which extends up and through the back of the faucet). Once the screw has been removed, the stopper rod can be separated.
Next was unscrewing the end of the pivot rod from where it connects to the drain pipe. The pivot ball end of the pivot rod also helped keep the sludge from going down any further in the drain.
Finally, it was just a matter of removing the black sludge of death. Now this is where I got clever. Usually I have a wire hanger somewhere I will shape into whatever tool I need to dig into gross places. However, I took a closer look at the bottom segment of the stopper rod, and realized that it would be the perfect sludge extraction tool. It worked.
Once I cleaned the drain, sink, rod, and drain stopper, I flushed the drain and it was as good as new. The re-assembly went even better the second time around.
So what the heck does this have to do with cars? Well, part of what I think discourages the average Joe (or Jane) from doing basic automotive maintenance or repair is the initial learning curve. We sometimes forget that we’re not programmed robots, but human beings that learn from doing something repeatedly, and then optimize for future iterations.
If you’ve had to change a flat tire at least twice, you remember the first time was much more of an exercise than the last time. For me the first time, took me forever and a day, and I kept having to check the owner’s manual to make sure I was on track.
The last time I had to change a flat tire? It was hilarious. My wife had called, right after it happened. Knowing the call wouldn’t be quick, I changed the flat while we talked about how I got the flat, how my workday went, and dinner plans. I didn’t miss a beat.
So, don’t be afraid to try a little maintenance. Even something like changing your windshield wipers count. It’ll get more familiar each time you do it.