Saturday, May 12, 2007

More Tales of a Female Home Owner

I hunkered down last Friday night, hell bent on restoring order to my house. First on the agenda: clean out the refrigerator.

A bowl full of rice! I'll just throw it in the garbage. No, wait, all that food in the garbage, yuck; I'll put it down the garbage disposal instead. Grind, grind, tra-la-la, grind...

Hm! Why isn't this rice going anywhere?!

Ah, crap, I've stopped up the sink. "Try plunging it" Diane tells me, when I call her for advice. I don't own a plunger, so head out to buy one. The price of a fancy-pants plunger is about $2.42. The price of the American flag, and flagpole, toenail polish, moisturizer, lightbulbs, and all of the other crap I accidentally picked up between the door and the plunger: an additional $43.00.

My stopped-up sink laughed heartily at my plunging efforts.

So, 7:00 Friday night, when the entire house was to have been cleaned, I was $45 down and had a stopped-up sink. Oh, and my dishwasher was filled with nasty rice water; what did get by the garbage disposal bypassed into the bottom of it. There was nothing to do then, but cancel all housekeeping efforts altogether, pour a glass of wine, and put my feet up.

The next day, while I was helping with friend's garage sale, I was yakking away to Judy about my garbage disposal dilemma, when a garage sale customer, a feisty older woman that didn't pull any punches, overheard and interrupted:

"You did NOT!" she said, "You did NOT put rice in your garbage disposal. I FIRED someone for that once!"

I gave her my best dumb (boxed) blonde stare, and she went on, "think about it! Put your fist into a bowl of rice, and what happens to it?" She pantomimed the procedure, as I held my blank stare. "IT TURNS INTO CONCRETE, THAT'S WHAT!!!" she snapped. She gave me a look that clearly read "you are the stupidest woman I have ever met."

I liked her. She was funny.

So, I bartered with my ex-husband (the second one; there are only two, thank you very much): Home-cooked meal in exchange for fixing the garbage disposal. He bit. He'd come Tuesday.

By the time Tuesday rolled around, several million people verified what the garage sale lady told me: Never never never put rice in your garbage disposal, unless you throw it in one grain at a time, and run 100 gallons of water with it. It's starchy. It turns to glue.

I Googled "rice in the garbage disposal" and sure enough, got 570,000 (not making that up) links telling me to never never never put rice in the garbage disposal.

44 years old, having used a garbage disposal for my entire adult life, and THIS is the first time I'm hearing this?! Good Lord, I am an accident waiting to happen! I shudder to wonder what else I do not know.

So, while I set steaks to marinade and snapped fresh green beans, The Rick came over and took a look under the sink. The problem was apparent in a matter of minutes:

Bleah! I sure got the better end of this deal, that's all I'm sayin. Rick pulled all of the plumbing apart, hosed it out, put it back together, and then cleaned out all the gutters on my house for me. Totally worth the price of a few ribeye steaks!

And I am a smarter and wiser homeowner now. The garbage disposal is working properly, and the dishwasher all clean 'n shiny.

Still, I think I should clean those pipes out, for good measure.

A little bleach and ammonia should do the trick.


  1. Notes from this post:
    No rice in the garbage disposal.
    Use beach and ammonia to clean out my pipes.
    Got it.

  2. In my (dirty) "bag'o'tricks" for dealing with scumbags, in my prior life, was the ammonia & bleach stunt.

    Attach the lid of a glass baby food jar to the inside of the lid of a glass mayonnaise jar. Fill the baby food jar with ammonia. Screw that jar onto its lid.

    Now fill the mayonnaise jar with bleach and attach it to its lid.

    Thus the ammonia is encased inside the bleach.

    Throw it into the room that you want people to depart from.

    Never failed to accomplish its mission. :)

    Home-made teargas!

  3. probably bleach and ammonia together with rice in your garbage disposal hardens into concrete.

    I'm 35 years old and I never knew about the no rice down the garbage disposal deal. I've put rice down the garbage disposal before. Haven't I?

    I'd heard of ammonia and bleach together causing an explosion; in fact, I know of someone who died when he tried to clean the toilet with bleach and ammonia. I'd hate to be killed by an exploding toilet.

    GNG: you're funny. This is a side splitting entry

  4. Thanks for dropping by....happy mother's day( mum asked..didn't you wish her back??) I forgot to wish:( And so here I am...wishing you a belated happy mother's day.

  5. Happy Mothers Day and...

    I never heard about the rice thing either (and I am 52) ... I have been putting it down my disposal. After your pics, I won't be though.

    I do know no banana peels or celery.

  6. Don't feel bad. I never heard that about rice. I know I put it down my garbage disposal, probably not large quantities, but plate leavins'.

    Ammonia and bleach? So?

  7. Never knew the no rice thing either. Good thing to know. I, too, grew up using a disposal. My mother still enjoys telling the story of the time I called from my first apartment asking what one did with egg shells when one didn't have a disposal. Who knew you could just throw them out????

    Happy Mother's Day, GNG!

  8. Anonymous1:22 PM

    Happy Mother's Day! Oh yeah, a roommate of mine put a HUGE bowl of rice down my disposal. He kept packing it in, flipping the switch on and off at different intervals...on off on off...pack more rice in. Well all the plumbing was packed solid all the way to who knows where. My project the next day was dismantling all the plumbing unpacking the rice and running a hose with high powered jet on it into the wall and reassembling. I think he went surfing, just a 23 year old renter ya know...whatever.

  9. I think if you added milk and gelatin you would have had rice pudding! I never knew you couldn't put rice in the garbage disposal either!

  10. never knew the no-rice-in-garbage-disposal either. DID know about bleach and ammonia (i think a friend tried it and actually lived to tell about it -- moral -- DON'T!).

    very funny post. thank goodness for your ex -- you still owe him, i think. :-)

  11. Does rice clog the colon the same way? Just a thought.

    Don't put coffee grounds down the disposal either...very bad.

  12. Well, I learned something new! I never knew people threw away rice. When I was growing up my Japanese mother always told me that if I wasted a grain of rice a million people would starve because every gain of rice you plant.... I've never left a grain of rice in my rice bowl or on my plate, and if I have steamed rice leftover I always eat it for breakfast, hence no rice for the garbage disposal. Oh yeah, I buy rice 20lbs at a time so I go through a bit of rice!

  13. I never knew about the rice / disposal thing either but I never owned or used one, nor would I.
    What, you never heard of compost?
    Besides being one more thing to go wrong and losing all that lovely compost material there's too much temptation to put other things in there that don't belong. Like your arm. Ammonia and bleach hunh?
    "One can make all sorts of explosives from ordinary household items if one were so inclined."

  14. Laurie: I should write a book!

    Wil: I'll try that at work today, for kicks.

    ShySmiley: Death by toilet = bed. Ask Elvis.

    Edina: You're a good daughter! And thank you!

    Nancy: Potato peels are bad too, I gather.

    MK99: Plate leavin's. Good one, I'll stick to that from now on.

    BP: Did you ever crush them and glue them to bottles as gifts for your mother when you were a kid? Who thought that up?!

    Anon: Gotta love that young guy mentality! No worries...

    Blondie: You should write your own cookbook!

    Si: Watch it there, he did get a good steak out of the deal.

    FMMary: Ugh, that hadn't crossed my mind. I'll never eat rice again.

    AZ: I rarely throw food away, it's true. Just been very busy, so the rice had to go.

    Wendy. True 'dat

    Andy: I think your comment goes into the "irrational fears" category.

  15. Well I sure hope you learned your lesson, young lady!!

    Eek!!! I will never see rice in the same way again...

  16. Note to self: Don't ever get a garbage disposal, you'll kill it in 3 seconds flat.

  17. This morning...

    He: Oh, crap, we left the risotto out all night.

    Me: Whatever you do, DON'T put it down the garbage disposal!!!

    He: (silence - we don't have a garbage disposal)

    But we do have a large pot of rotten risotto!!!!

  18. MaryP: I DID learn my lesson! I fixed rice for sushi last night, and kept the utensils waaaaaaay away from the disposal!

    Jazz: I don't know how anyone lives with out one!

    Bettycat: (Cute screenname). I'm glad you're being so conscientious!

  19. She fired someone for making that mistake? That's cold.

    I've never had the 'rice down the waste disposal' problem, but try getting day-old porridge off the bowl: now that's concrete!

  20. CRAZY that I didnt know about the rice. I like to dispense know-it-all tips around the house to whoever will listen.

    Here's some now: In Printmaking Class we actually were instructed to use ammonia and bleach to clean our plates before the etching process. Apparently nothing kills grease like that combination. Of course the resulting Chlorine Gas, is famous for killing people too, but what are you willing to give up for your art?

  21. A new no-no for the garbage disposal-rice.

    I remember throwing out chunks of rhubarb into the garbage can and my hubby tells me, "That's what a garbage disposal is for."

    Oh. I didn't have a garbage disposal in a long time, so I wasn't used to putting anything in there. But rhubarb is a no-no. Too stringy. Like celery. (Best part is, it wasn't my fault. :))

  22. Hmm. Older than you are, and didn't know that either, about the rice. Of course, I haven't had a garbage disposal for years, either...

  23. OMG, this post was freakin hilarious!! Ok, laughing aside, I just learned from you not to put rice in the garbage disposal. I've been doing that and my husband eats rice on a daily basis. New reader BTW.

  24. Just for fun, what can you put into the disposal? Rice is out, banana peels, celery, meat, bones, oatmeal.

  25. You don't want to put potato flakes down the garbage disposal either. My sister-in-law recently learned that one.

  26. Anonymous3:21 PM

    My husband just told me I was wrong when I told him that he was stupid for putting celery down the disposal. Guess who had to pull the pipes apart to get the clog taken care of. I am still HOT about this. Tim the Tool Man Husbands response was "This is a cheap disposal. We need one with more power." Nice!!! Husband for sale---no trades.


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