A plumb story of John and the matchbox car set

“It’s not hard to tell we was poor – when you saw the toilet paper dryin’ on the clothesline”
George Lindsey

Any half descent plumber will tell you that the most common cause of a blocked toilet is a toddler. Small children have a fascination with posting things into the toilet bowl.

I’ve fished out keys, socks and a jandal in the last month.

Last night our toilet was totally blocked. Hope as I did that it would be a standard blockage (a big ole ball of paper) I knew in my heart that this was a little optimistic. A one foot tall optimistic to be accurate.

The easiest solution to unblock a john is to tip in a half cup of ordinary dishwashing liquid followed by some warm water (Please don’t use boiling water. It can crack the pan!). The trick is to pour the water in very fast.

This will clear almost all ordinary blockages. You should never call a plumber without trying this trick first.

However, if you have a toy firetruck down the toilet the next step is to try to suck it back up the pipe with a plunger.

When that fails you are into serious territory. There is probably the whole set of matchbox cars all down through the pipes. The best way to confirm this is to not be able to find any matchbox cars when you look around the house.

Here is the quandary. I am a terrible plumber. When I say terrible I really mean not very good and not very interested in learning. While I like figuring out how to repair the carburetor on a weed strimmer or how to fix a hole in drywall I really don’t dig plumbing in the same way. Let’s just say I’ve had a few unfortunate accidents….

So the only solution is to suck it up or to hire someone. Actually, I’m going for option three – the secret option – the phone a friend solution. At worst they may proffer unhelpful advice. At best they might come over climb under the house in a boiler suit and help to take the pipes apart. In doing so I will probably be forced to learn a thing or two. It may even get me over the self induced plumbing stupidity phase I am going through.

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