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.