G is for …Gunk!


This A-to-Z post has nothing to do with the dog—unless you count the many times she charged into the bathroom yesterday to lick my friend’s face while he was on the floor with his head under the sink. He tried to fix my pipes but eventually decided we needed a pro. As I write, I am waiting for the truck to arrive.

I searched hard for a G word related to plumbing. Sink, pipes, crescent wrenches, leaks, clogs? Oh, gunk! I’ll explain.
My bathroom sink has been clogged for probably a year or so, draining very slowly. Every now and then I’d pour in half a bottle of Liquid Plumber, the clogs would clear for about a week, and then it would clog up again. Clearly I needed to try something else. One of the tough things about being a widow with no kids and no nearby family is that I don’t know what to do when things go wrong with the house. While the men were learning about tools, pipes, wires and cars, I was learning how to knit, sew, and bake a cake. I’m good with a spatula, but I don’t know what to do with a wrench.
I tried. A couple weeks ago, when the sink no longer drained at all, I got out Sunset’s Basic Plumbing book and followed the directions. I removed the plunger. I got underneath and removed the trap, that loopy piece of plastic right under the sink. When I tilted said trap over a bucket, a big wad of gunk came out. It was made of hair and soap and I don’t know what else, but it had turned into gunk. It made a big plopping sound. Oh, I felt so clever.
Now came the tricky part, putting the trap and the plunger back on. I did it, and the sink drained freely–onto the floor under the sink.  I took it all apart again. When I went to put it back together, I discovered the pipe behind the trap was badly corroded. “Toast,” is what my friend called it.  He tried to take the corroded pipe off, failed, and now I can’t use the sink at all. Blame it all on gunk.
The gunk from the sink, though made of different substances, looks an awful like the gunk I cleaned out of my gutter a few weeks ago. Smells like it too. That gunk is made of weeds, pine needles, and mud. They’re both disgusting. Webster’s defines gunk as “filthy, stinky or greasy” matter. Yes, yes, and yes. I would much rather bake a cake.
G could stand for gutter or green or grass or growling (back to the dog), but today it stands for Gunk. 

I’m participating in this month’s A to Z blogging challenge, and G stands for Gunk. My alphabetical posts are distributed among my various blogs. Here is the schedule:
A Newsletter–A is for Annie
B Childless by Marriage–B is for Baby
C Unleashed in Oregon–C is for Crate
D Writer Aid–D is for Deadline
E Unleashed in Oregon–E is for Ear
F Unleashed in Oregon
G Unleashed in Oregon
H Childless by Marriage
I Unleashed in Oregon
J Writer Aid
K Unleashed in Oregon
L Unleashed in Oregon
M Unleashed in Oregon
N Childless by Marriage
O Unleashed in Oregon
P Writer Aid
Q Unleashed in Oregon
R Unleashed in Oregon
S Unleashed in Oregon
T Childless by Marriage
U Unleashed in Oregon
W Writer Aid
X Unleashed in Oregon
Y Unleashed in Oregon
Z Unleashed in Oregon

More than 2000 other bloggers have signed up for the challenge. For more information, visit a-to-zchallenge.com You might find some great new blogs to follow. I know I will. Visit Childless by Marriage tomorrow to find out what H stands for.

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Simple gifts

It’s raining sideways on the Oregon Coast today. Fierce winds sailed the cover off my hot tub across the grass last night and mangled the rack on which it rests when in use. The exposed water steams and churns like an angry ocean. Deck chairs went flying like toys, and fallen branches cover the lawn. Annie the dog and I are both feeling a little put out by the weather, but we do have some things to be thankful for.

Yesterday a friend used his only day off to clean out my gutters. They were jammed with dirt, pine needles and unidentifiable smelly junk. When he couldn’t reach it all by ladder, he climbed up on my mossy roof, working in the rain. I kept saying, “You don’t have to do that,” but he insisted. So now, the rain pours smoothly into the gutters and through the downspouts to the ground.

A few days ago, after another grueling visit to my husband in the nursing home in Albany, I received another gift. I was watching TV, all wrapped up in a blanket, with Annie on my lap, when I heard what sounded like gunshots. Now, I live out in the forest, and it’s not unusual to hear one or two shots, but this was continuous. Pop, pop, pop. I jumped up, spilling Annie onto the floor. Holding her back, I stepped cautiously into the moonlight. Oh my gosh. To the southwest, I saw fireworks through the trees. Red, green and gold firebursts sparkled against the black sky, falling gently to the ground.

It was like Fourth of July, but it was March 27, and I didn’t have to leave home or fight crowds. I advanced to a clearer view and stood there marveling. I assume someone was celebrating a wedding, anniversary or something else on the beach. I can’t see the shore through the trees. But it felt like such a gift, like those dreams where a parade comes down your street, only it was real. Thank you, God.

Now if somebody would materialize to help me get the cover on the spa . . .