When we bought our house in 2001, like all good buyers, we had an inspection done. No big problems were uncovered, but I do remember the inspector, his head under the kitchen sink, saying "You'll eventually have to do something about this." Apparently, by "something" he did not mean "put all your cleaning supplies and trash bags in front of the pipe and don't think about it for 8 years. How do I know that? Something about the water pouring down the basement wall anytime I ran water in the sink was a little clue that he might have meant "fix it."
Upon closer inspection, the water was not only running down the pipe coming through the flooring and into the basement, but dripping from the underside of the sub-flooring as well. So I dragged everything out of the cabinet (why do I have 3 different types of vinyl floor cleaner?) and thanks to low-rise skinny jeans, I'm sure I looked every bit the plumber as I tried to figure out where the leak was. Aside from a massive wad of tape wrapped around the kind-of-straight horizontal pipe--as you can see, I'm going to have to work on my lingo, but a quick Google tells me it's called a "tailpiece"--anyhow, there was also a small block of wood wedged under the trap. (See, I do know something about plumbing.) When I removed the block, a little water dribbled out and a quick inspection revealed an inch-long slit in the underside of the pipe. I'd call it a "gash" except that "gash" implies something punctured it, and the truth is that I think it just plain rotted through.
Great. Just great.
Off I went to Lowe's in hope of finding some magic, temporary fix until I could get a plumber in to fix it. Magic is just what I found.
The kind man at Lowe's shrugged as he handed it to me, saying, "It really isn't hard to replace the trap," but I assured him I just wanted to survive until the plumber showed up. Back home I went (after completing a half-dozen other errands) and started carefully wrapping the trap in this strange, stretchy rubber tape. It was going swimmingly until I put my thumb right through the pipe. I don't know what this pipe is made of, but my guess is aluminum foil wrapped around graham cracker crumbs.
Ever the optimist, I kept wrapping, covering the thumb-sized hole, careful not to make any new holes or gashes. I put on an extra layer for good measure and confidently turned on the tap.
Still leaking. Damn. But then something happened. Dejected, slumped on the kitchen floor and staring at my tin-foil pipes, I found it. My mojo. My "screw paying someone to do something I can do myself." Never mind the fact that I've never done it before and the extent of my plumbing knowledge involved Drano and apparently showing the crack of my ass. But, the guy at Lowe's said it wasn't hard and in my family I am known as "Aunt Handy" (that story will have to wait for another day).
Watch this space for news of my plumbing prowess.