Regular Life

Regular Life

In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on. – Robert Frost

It’s Snot Rocket Sinus

(Those of you reading “Shootings” will need to wait a little longer for the next chapter.)

My six year-old son brings a roll of toilet paper to me and it’s damp. All the way through.

My mind immediately traces that toilet paper back to its origin — under the guest bath sink. Fortunate to be seated on the world’s most renowned thinking chair, I Sherlock Holmes the case for about five seconds and realize that there must be a leak.

All because I just had to Tim Allen it and change out the faucet and drain plug assembly all by myself.

I lay a lot of the blame at my wife’s feet, of course, because she’s the one who proudly presented three brand new faucets to me. I have installed two of them, and now our double vanity is mismatched quite badly. Her side features the stock, chrome-colored plastic fixtures, while mine boldly states its presence with sophisticated metal that purports to be not black but looks a lot like it to me and the wife.

But back to the leak.

I pull everything from under the guest bath sink and find the source. It is a slow leak that eventually fixes itself because of the way the pipe from the basin extends down into a larger pipe. Water sits like a tiny moat around the top of that second pipe and overflows if it doesn’t have time to seep down slowly. Sadly, it also sits like a shallow puddle inside the cabinet.

I dash to my sink to see if it suffers the same problem. It does, but I find no sign of wetness below the drain. I deduce that because the guest bath sink doubles as our son’s and is in the restroom nearest our living room, it gets a lot more use than mine.

I believe either it’s a design flaw or the instructions assumed I knew a lot more than I did. Or that (gasp!) a plumber would be doing the job.

Oddly, the laminate directly under both drains shows wrinkles and bubbles, as if it’s been taking on a few drips here and there ever since we became the house’s first residents back in the summer of 2005. I’m leaning toward design flaw, or flawed original installation that I was doomed to repeat after my reverse engineering.

The good news is that the point of attachment between the new faucets and the water lines have no problems, so water only leaks after it goes down the sink.

Simple solution: look at the pretty fixtures, but don’t use them. Form over function.

I do not want to take apart the whole drain assembly again, but I know that is in my future. Along with a big roll of plumber’s tape. Maybe I’ll let the back of my pants ride down past the danger line this time.


Holding the light for Dad, just like I used to do it. (Click pic to enlarge)

*NOTE: I finished this up about a year later, and posted about it.

10 Responses to It’s Snot Rocket Sinus


    And hey, in your picture there, is that pipe wrench in your pants or are you just happy to see me?

  2. My fault, huh? Huh??? You wanna take it outside, mister??!!

    I love how Benjamin has on his pj bottoms, a sweatshirt, a cowboy vest, and goggles – now that’s one cute plumber’s assistant right there!

    Oh, and there is actually one faucet left to be installed – ya gonna get to that while the boy and I are gone this weekend? I promise not to use it, just to look at it!

  3. I see Ben dressed himself for the occasion. I think the big question is…did you insist that he wear safety goggles, or did Ben think of that on his own? I think the chaps vest takes the cake in that ensemble.

    Oh…and judging by the looks of things, it appears that Ben did about as good of a job of holding the flashlight on the area of interest as well as you and I did when we were his age.

  4. Simon – That made me think of the game of Clue. It was Colonel Mustard, with a pipe wrench, in his pants.

    Shan – As we discussed last night, two things, 1) I probably won’t be doing too much domestic work as long as you and the boy are partying down in San Antonio and Sea World, and 2) did you not catch the part where I apparently didn’t do this exactly right and will have to do it over?

    Charles – Yes, Benjamin dressed himself, and, believe it or not, the goggles were his idea. Something got in his eye early on, and I dropped a tool, so without any assurance both would not happen again, he was smart to get those things when he did.

    His performance with the light was mostly spot-on.

    Thanks. I’ll be here all week.

  5. Are you getting an attitude with me, boy?

  6. I think it’s a testament to my own status as a father of a young man (or two) that led me not to question (or even notice, frankly) Ben’s sartorial choices.

  7. Leaks that fix themselves? In your dreams. The leak you describe (if I understand your description) fixes itself only in the sense that it stops when there’s no more water in the trap to drain. Brush your teeth – viola – there’s more leak. The solution? Either stop brushing your teeth or use the kitchen sink. Or get a new gasket for the tailpiece (that’s the pipe that comes down from the sink)/trap (the larger pipe) joint. Another possibility is that the tailpiece(s) are not properly sealed to the sinks and never were (because you see evidence of leaking from both basins). The way to test is to run some water, then use a dry paper towel (or finger) to find the highest wet point. There’s your leak.

  8. Pops – Thank you for the tips. I wondered when someone would realize this was a cry for help.

    Regarding the leaking “fixing” itself (word?), I didn’t quite mean that. I clumsily explained that it, “overflows if it doesn’t have time to seep down slowly,” meaning that if it didn’t overflow it would “fix” itself by eventually draining. I wish I could get a good photo of what it’s doing. I’m pretty sure the leak is from the bottom of the basin, and that it runs down the outside of the pipe and into that “moat” I mentioned.

  9. You said what I said!

  10. *L* What Simon said in his first post….. I was ready to say!

    Great pic..


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