Category Archives: Humour

What Lurks Below the Shower Drain?

In the never ending saga of household mysteries like “What does that light switch control?”, “Why is there no outlet on that wall?” and “Why do I have better cell service in my closet?” I would like to add one more: “What lurks below the shower drain?”

There seems to be some cosmic inequity in my home.

How is it that the drain below my kitchen sink is the busiest in the house, yet it never blocks (though I bet I have just jinked it.)

True enough, I have been very conscientious about not pouring oils down the drain. I’ve strained out the solids from the stew-like remains of dishes that didn’t quite make the cut. And there is still the occasional leaf, bean, seed or gluten-free something or other that escapes on me, but yet that drain never clogs.

The shower drain doesn’t get nearly the same amount of activity. So then why do I find myself in almost-shin-deep water when I shower? My bathtub drain seems to be having issues.

The drain hasn’t really been able to keep up with the output of my low-flow shower head. After finishing a shower, I would have time to towel off, apply my moisturizer and anti-perspirant, get dressed, have a leisurely breakfast and say goodbye to the cat by the time the water had completely evacuated and begun its trajectory to the water purification plant.

When I put the question of possible causes to my panel of friends and family, one member of my inner circle was very quick to point out “It can’t be your hair!”… maybe too quick.

As the proud recipient of the male pattern baldness gene, that was indeed the first factor I eliminated from my detective’s assumption list.

Could it be Ivy the Wonder Cat’s hair? Considering how her hair follows me around even after a thorough vacuuming, it is indeed a possibility, but the reality is that a bathtub is the last place she would play given her shrieks when she gets even slightly wet.

Could Ivy have dropped a tiny toy down the drain? Possibly, but as far as I can tell, the friends are all present and accounted for.

I wondered if it was a cheaper soap I was using a while back, one that seemed to create a lot of soap residue. Perhaps.

The problem with the shower drain is that it is not like the other sinks in the house, where you just need to crawl under, grab a wrench, loosen the nuts that hold the pipe in place, pull out the pipe, clear it out, put the pipe back into place and secure into place by tightening the nuts. (By the way, I made that sound considerably easier than it is, so just be forewarned).

There is no easy access to the network under the drain, so it’s like a whole parallel Marvel universe could be happening under there and I really wouldn’t know it.

To try to remedy the slow drain situation, I have tried the hot water, vinegar and baking soda trick, which worked to a point, but with limited long term improvement.

On my last trip to the hardware store, I ventured to the drain cleaner section. Without really knowing what the clog contained, it was difficult to know which product would be the right cure. But what I did know was that some of those products would crank up my sense of environmental guilt.

A few days later, my toilet was experiencing some indigestion from a modest amount of bathroom tissue. Yes, that’s progress for you, a low-flush toilet that needs to be flushed repeatedly to avoid blocking. Is it any wonder that environmental guilt follows me like a shadow these days?

In the defense of low-flush toilets, I believe this one is an early generation model. I have two others in the house of different makes and models that work really well.

On the bright side, since the installation of this particular throne, I have had a lot of practice with the plunger and seem to be getting quite talented with it.

Maybe a plunger workout is what the drain needed. Even though I didn’t have a regulation drain plunger, I figured it was worth a try anyway with the one I used for the commode.

(Etymological note: I searched and searched for the correct verb to mean “using a plunger” but to no avail so I shall use “plunge” in quotations marks… you’ll know what I mean)

I “plunged”… No change.

I “plunged” again … No change yet.

But once I concentrated, recalling some bureaucratic nightmares I had recently encountered, I tapped into my inner rage, in Incredible Hulk style, and was able to “plunge” my way to drain freedom.

As I ran the water, I noticed that it wasn’t accumulating at the rate that it was previously. Plus, as soon as I turned off the water I could see that little clockwise water swirl that I hadn’t seen in ages (which incidentally, for your next trivia challenge game, it actually has a name: the Coriolis effect).

By some stroke of divine intervention, by the time I had finished toweling off, the tub water was completely gone.

As the proud recipient of the worry gene, I ran downstairs for a quick home inspection to ensure I didn’t suddenly have weepy walls or a water logged catnip toy falling through the ceiling. All was good. And to be 100% sure, I checked the next day…. And the day after that.

If there’s one thing that 18 years of home ownership has taught me it is that home repairs are a little like a Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner cartoon. You are presented with a challenge, very little information, a tool box of products and a strong desire for success. And if at first you don’t succeed, try try again.

With time, patience and persistence, the successful completion of minor home repairs is well within our reach. Although I still don’t know what lurks below the shower drain, and I probably never will.

Did you enjoy this post? If you haven’t already, please check out the rest of my blog at andrebegin.blog. From there, you can click on the “Follow” button to receive future posts directly in your inbox. Also, don’t be shy, feel free to tell a friend or to share the link.
Sincere thanks for reading!
Have a great day,
André

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Cats, Humour

When the Cat Has an Upset Stomach

From the time when Ivy the Wonder Cat joined me, I have to admit that my floors and I have been pretty lucky.

With only a few rare exceptions, it seems that she has a stomach made of steel, metaphorically speaking, of course.

And as much as friends and colleagues warned me about volcanic eruptions of hairballs and everything that comes with them, Ivy has been pretty good in that department as well.

Funny enough, it’s when she is nervous about something, whether it is change, disruption, car rides or temporary relocation that I can almost guarantee that she will need to barf… three days later.

Why three? I don’t know.

But it isn’t a problem, it’s not her fault. That’s her stress reliever.

If that’s her way of doing the Taylor Swift “Shake it off” to move on with her life, all I can do is to empathize and to clean it up. Having experienced anxiety issues leading to severe knots in the stomach and eventually throwing up, I completely understand. Like father, like daughter. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Cats, Humour

The Downside of Long Weekends

Don’t we all just love long weekends?

Long weekends are often synonymous with tying up loose ends at work, a sense of pride in a job well-done, a sense of accomplishment, a sense of levity, and the joy of being rewarded with an extra day off to relax and enjoy the fruits of our labour.

In my perfect Pollyanna-bubble world, on the last work day before a long weekend, people are sporting their best smiles, wishing each other a great long weekend, high-fiving each other as they pass each other in the lobby of the office tower. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and everyone is in the best mood eagerly anticipating the best long weekend ever!

That is… until they get outside. From about noon onward, the city is in complete gridlock.

Traffic is at a standstill, the electronic signs on mall parking lots are blinking “FULL”, the grocery stores are bursting with hangry people with towering shopping carts, and liquor store patrons are lined-up as far as the eye can see.

For some reason, there isn’t a drop of patience to be found as drivers are almost mowing down pedestrians, everyone is blowing yield signs and stop signs, and the world is seemingly possessed by road rage punctuated by a stronger than usual sense of self-entitlement.

It was incredibly validating to hear that it wasn’t just my own borderline introvert lens that saw things this way when I was told that law enforcement officers are posted in the parking lot of the “warehouse-style” store to keep the peace and to direct the crawling traffic. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Humour

Why I Envy Hat People

Do you remember the opening credits for the 1970’s TV show “Charlie’s Angels” where Jaclyn Smith takes off her motorcycle helmet, shakes her head and every strand of hair falls perfectly in place?

I realize that Jaclyn’s impeccable hair in that scene was probably a confection of Hollywood magic, but sadly, hats have been a challenge for me to navigate over the years.

When I was younger, I had fine hair. I had lots of it, but they weren’t the majestic oaks of hair that could bounce back from the slightest bit of wind, humidity, sweat, rain or pressure.

I remember times when I was very young when my mom or my grandmother would say “Come here”, lick their fingers and try to tame one of my many cowlicks. How they could choose just one remains a mystery to me, as I remember my hair was sometimes all cowlicks to the point of looking like a young, male version of Medusa.

But as an adult, the maternal spit was replaced by varying combinations of hair gel, mousse and spray, not to mention engineering skills, to build a hairstyle and to lock it in place. But one minute with a hat on my head was like a pin to a balloon, completely deflating my structure, at a time when flat hair was not en vogue.

Looking back, this most unfortunate genetic deficiency brought out a streak of stubbornness I never knew existed within me. It could have been -40 degrees outside (frankly, a normal winter’s day here in Ottawa), and I refused to wear a tuque of any kind. That was when I started buying ear muffs by the case (for some reason, I kept misplacing them) which kept my ears warm for many blustery winters. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under 50+, Humour

Mother Nature’s Follicle Relocation Project

If there is any doubt about whether Mother Nature has a sense of humour or not, I offer you the following into evidence: hair.

Hair is the epitome of irony, isn’t it? People with curly hair want straight hair. People with straight hair want wavy hair. I’ve known people who have changed hair colours and/or hair styles with every passing season (with great envy).

We try turning our hairstyles into gravity-defying structures, or we flatten it out to look sleek and chic. Sometimes we make it do things it just wasn’t meant to do.

And as we get older, Mother Nature is not through with us yet. Oh no. The fun is just beginning.

In my case, in my 40s, she took it away a few strands at a time. She might have thought she was sneaky, but I fought back by getting a clipper cut. Problem solved, or so I thought.

Who could guess that her punchline would be the random places where she is putting it back in my 50s?

I fully expected that after age 50, trimming nose hairs would become a necessity to avoid looking like a catfish. I also expected that I might need to keep my eyebrows in check so that they didn’t look like wings and suddenly take flight in the middle of a serious boardroom meeting.

I am very lucky that I am fair haired (or at least, I was) so new stray sprouts haven’t been too noticeable. But those new “platinum” ones (btw, I love saying “platinum” as I think it oozes coolness) do catch one’s eye faster. Thankfully, there is no shortage of grooming tools to keep new growth under control. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under 50+, Humour

The Morning Newspaper Hurdles

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how I have been enjoying the experience of reading a print version of the newspaper again, as a more relaxing way to enjoy the news.

But each time I start reading one, I cannot help but remember some of the less-than-relaxing mishaps I have encountered over the years while trying to get a copy of the daily paper.

I was a subscriber for many years and home delivery was so punctual you could set your VCR to it. There may have been the rare production issue, vehicle issue or weather issue when the newspaper might not show up exactly on time. Things like that sometimes happened and we understood.

Just the same, I wouldn’t have wanted to be the person at the telephone switchboard. I’m sure some people would get pretty huffy about a postponed periodical or a tardy tabloid especially in the pre-Internet age.

I mean today, we lose our… ahem… we lose our marbles when the news page takes longer than 6 seconds to fully download. I think patience was in greater supply back then.

In my first apartment, there were days when I’d open my front door to find that my newspaper wasn’t there. A gentle call to the newspaper confirmed that it wasn’t due to a production issue, a weather issue nor a delivery issue in my area. It was likely a neighbour, especially when the disappearing newspaper trick would happen in cycles. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under 50+, Humour, Misc blogs

Dear Loyalty Apps, Please Stop Logging Me Out!

In 2016, I published a blog post about the number of loyalty cards I was carrying and the challenge in keeping track of all of them. There had to be an easier way.

I still maintain that with impeccable client service and reasonable prices, we could probably skip loyalty programs.

But marketing wizards seem to have tapped into our basic human need to belong, and have turned clubs and memberships into an art form that seems to fill a void. Sometimes the exclusive rewards and personal offers are so well thought out that we overlook the consumer information that we have volunteered about ourselves to get to those benefits.

Shortly after that post appeared, I figured I had nothing to lose in trying to keep track of all of them with the smart phone apps that they were offering.

Initially, the issue I encountered was that my antiquity of a phone was sometimes too slow to produce the apps as soon as I needed them. To proceed with the experiment, I had to wait until my phone was retired and replaced.

When I bought a new phone, I jumped on the bandwagon in a big way and signed up for all of the apps to replace the imposing stack of loyalty cards I had accumulated.

My next task was to learn how to juggle products like a circus performer, while waiting in line to check out. I wanted to avoid the huffing, puffing and sighing from the shoppers behind me, as we all waited for an app to launch.

I became pretty good at holding different products under my armpits, between my legs, or in my teeth while needing both hands to swipe my way to the right app at the right time. I’m sure that there is some funny security footage out there to attest to my newly found skills. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under 50+, Humour, Misc blogs