Add plumbing to my resume

In my last post, I talked about the trauma of the mouse chewing  through the dishwasher drain line. For now, I think I’ve taken the upper hand. The body count around here is up to 4. And, with some prayer and some skills learned from dad, I fixed the dishwasher line without even pulling the dishwasher out from under the counter.

After being completely removed from the situation for two days, I had time to decompress and gather my wits about me. Also some friends on Facebook reminded me that busted dishwasher line is not the end of the world. I’m going to blame PMS for making it feel like it was on that fateful Friday night.

The one hour drive back from my parent’s house got me wondering if I could fix the problem on my own; with everything going on with my grandma, I didn’t want my dad to have to drive out here if it wasn’t necessary. Having given myself a pep talk, I got back to the house and removed the dishwasher kickboard — real technical name unknown. At any rate, that’s the part closest to the floor that keeps me from kicking dog toys, dropped grapes, and cheerios under there.

With that piece removed, I got down on the floor and peered into the abyss. Let’s see…wires, yep. Hoses, yep. Mouse droppings, yep. Really, this investigation was not that helpful other than to make me run to the basement to get a better flashlight.

Next, I decided to approach the problem from inside the sink cabinet. Moving the drain line established where the leak was since water was coming out of a hole the mouse made. I briefly wondered if I could just plug the hole with something like fix-a- flat or the spray can rubber as seen on tv. Tempting as that was, I decided that I didn’t want to live in constant fear of a leak going unnoticed and rotting out the floor. Plus, a dishwasher drain line repaired with fix-a-flat is probably the kind of shenanigans that I’d have to put on a seller’s disclosure someday, and I’d rather keep that list small.

With the problem line identified, I peered again under the dishwasher. Shazam! I noticed that the place where the drain line comes out of the dishwasher was in reach. I got my socket set and loosened the hose clamp, thankful that I’ve watched my dad do enough house projects to know what  hose clamp is and how it works. But, as I started tugging on the line that I’d loosened, I could not get it to budge. At the same time, I also realized that it was Sunday, and Home Depot was probably going to be closing soon. I fired up my tablet and saw that Home Depot closed at 7. Official time then: 6:21.

I slammed the cabinet door shut, so I wouldn’t have to get mouse traps off the dog’s face when I returned, grabbed my keys, and wound up screeching into the Home Deport parking lot at 6:26. I marched straight into the plumbing aisle because I know exactly where that is, and was contemplating all the washing machine hoses and lamenting the apparent lack of dishwasher hoses when an employee walked over to help. I’m going to get Home Depot a shout out here. I think every time I go in there, someone is available to help; often they ask even before I put on my lost-blonde-in-a-hardware-store face, something I’ve rehearsed well.

In this particular instance, I spotted the line I needed as I was simultaneously spilling out my tale of woe to the employee. He was alarmed. I squished the end of the hose and said, “Great! This flexes. I’m trying to shove it through the hole in the cabinet without removing the dishwasher.”

He looked dubious and said, “You need to remove the dishwasher to fix it.”

I assured him that I could reach the drain, and he started to say something, but I cut him off by informing him that I had already flipped the electrical circuit. I still don’t think he was reassured. He probably read the paper cover to cover the next day to find the obituary of a crazy woman who electrocuted herself while fixing the dishwasher.

When I got home, I ran into a new problem. My dad and I had been pretty intentional about drilling the smallest hole possible in the cabinet, which meant the busted hose was not going to fit back through the hole now that the water line and electrical wires were in the way. The hole needed to get bigger, so I ran for the hole saws, brought the case full of them to the kitchen, and then figured out that I didn’t know how to use a hole saw. I wasn’t sure how to attach the saw to the drill. Thank you, Youtube. A very nice man showed me in 4 and half minutes the basics of using a hole saw. By now the kitchen floor was starting to look like this.

tools to fix dishwasherAnd, hole saw plan A didn’t work out. I couldn’t get the right angle with the drill.

I laid on the floor again to gaze under the dishwasher and see if inspiration would strike. Yes. Eureka. As I lay on the floor wondering if I would die because I was breathing air tainted with mouse droppings, I saw that there was space where I could drill a new hole near the front of the cabinet. I put my Youtube hole saw skills to work and punched a hole through the cabinet in no time. Fortunately, I stopped short of punching a hole through the dishwasher too.

It was the home stretch. Now I just had to connect the hose. The garbage disposal side was easily accessed. The dishwasher side — uh, not so much. While the rest of America watched the Super Bowl, I was flat on my stomach on my kitchen floor with both arms stretched above my head, like some grotesque statue of a swimmer coming off the diving block, doing a belly flop, and getting stuck by a dishwasher. In that position, I was trying to tilt my head at the right angle so my headlamp would illuminate the hose clamp. Some strands of hair were in my line of vision, but I didn’t want to touch them because my arms were in water and mouse poo. I also was praying, “God, I’m 99.9% sure that flipping the circuit downstairs cut all power to this dishwasher, but if not, could you please save me from my own stupidity as I fiddle around with this metal screwdriver in a waterlogged environment.”

Just about the time my arms were about to painfully cramp and possibly lock into the swimmer’s position for the rest of my life, I finally got the hose clamp appropriately tightened. Here’s me in my victory pose.

headlamp victory pose

6 thoughts on “Add plumbing to my resume

  1. Jessica you take the cake! I never read anything quite as funny as your escapades with the mice and the dishwasher–they are clearly entertaining. You keep me sane with your “tales” Keep them coming, they make my day!!! By the way, you look stunning in the headlamp gear!! Your hardware hero! Diane

  2. I’m sure your father is very proud! He will brag about his handyman daughter for years to come. I dont think I could have done all that. I have gotten good at putting things together for my mom and now kids like grills and furniture. We have a problem with our dishwasher too. When we turn it on water starts pouring out in the bottom right hand corner. Matt thinks its missing a protective cover inside the door. We put something in there to block the water from coming out but the dishes won’t clean now. So i have been doing dishes by hand for about a month now. I stinks with the amount the kids use. lol Oh well

  3. I laughed out loud at this victory pose! Love it! You are the greatest mouse-crime-fighter-English-teacher-dishwasher-repair-person-parking-meter-user I have ever met.

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