Sunday, January 18, 2009

Epic shower rescue adventure

I should probably stop referring to everything I do as either "epic" or an "adventure" or both, but on the other hand, it's my life and I am rather excitable and easily amused. So, here's my latest epic adventure. In the shower, of all places. (Excessive Long-windedness follows)

A disadvantage to having long hair and lots of it is that it gets everywhere. I probably have no right to complain about the cat rubbing his face on my sweaters and shedding all over them, because I'm sure he's just returning the favour: he has to deal with my long hairs all over the place. Sometimes he rubs his face against my shoulder and comes up with a face full of hair that he has to bat away. But I digress. The other main disadvantage of long hair is the rate at which drains get clogged. I live with 2.5 other girls now, but I think my hair is the longest, so I'm totally willing to pitch in and clear the drain when necessary because I figure it's mostly my fault. I did so today, even though I hadn't intended to do it so soon since I've only lived here for a week and a half.

What happened was, as soon as I got in the shower today one of my beloved golden hoop earrings fell off. I say beloved because, well, I love them and I wear them almost all the time - now I have some new beloved silvery ones that I wear most of the rest of the time. Anyway, I sleep in these earrings because they are seamless hoops that don't have pokey studs or anything, and I certainly don't hesitate to shower in them. But one fell out today, and slithered down the drain, and I cursed and nearly cried, and jumped out of the shower into the frozen air and set about trying to right this problem. Given that the drain was clogged with a mess of gross old hair, I knew all was not lost.

After first setting on the drain with my hands (as gross as it was) I found I needed new weaponry. So, I grabbed a handy tool box and attacked the gross, sludgy mass of drain hair with some thick, grippy pliers. The earring was nowhere to be found in the first layer of grime, which made me nearly despair. At least it would drain faster.

Then I got a flashlight and peered down into the drain, and there it was! A glint of shiny yellow metal in a bed of grayish congealed crap about 3 or 4 cm down from the opening. Gross, but so encouraging. It's this sort of thing that renews my interest in archaeology. The pliers were unfortunately too large to fit far between the crosspieces of the drain, and I know I brought my needlenose pliers with me but I couldn't find them at the time, and anyway they would have been too short.

Out came the Allen key (sp?), with its handy crook that I thought would be ideal for fitting into the hoop and lifting it out of the muck. Lift I did! Alas, the Allen key wouldn't lift easily out of the small hole at the right angle: every time I tried, I had to maneuver the key such that the earring slipped off and back into the sludge. Sigh. I brought out some floss to try to thread through the earring so that when it dropped off the Allen key it would still be attached and within reach. Floss is floppy and doesn't hold its own when poking in a dark drain. I tried using a knitting needle, 5 mm dpn, in addition to the Allen key to convince the earring to emerge. Stubborn thing would not.

Every so often it would disappear in the murk and I thought I'd lost it forever. I'd like to think I'm not so hung up on material things, but in reality there are some material things that I really would prefer not to lose. But more poking and prodding would cause it to emerge once more.

I tried many things, running back and forth between the bathroom and my room across the hall to gather tools, half-showered and in my bathrobe, perplexing a housemate with my bizarre inquiries about long needle-nose pliers and the like, and apologizing for totally monopolizing the bathroom.

But I rescued the earring, finally! With a floss-threader, of all things. You know, those plastic large-eyed needles flung at teenagers by dentists and orthodontists to encourage them to floss despite the impediment of their braces? Yeah. I stuck it down loop-first into the drain, hooked it onto the earring, and lifted. Simple! Why didn't I think of it first?

I only have floss threaders because back in the day I was one of those kids with braces who ignored most dental suggestions that I floss, but accepted the small gift of a package of floss threaders every check-up. I started flossing religiously after getting my braces off, perhaps to make up for lost time, and I'm a committed flosser now, but not in those days. I still have one wire behind my bottom front teeth that I need to use these threaders for, so it's a good thing I have a lifetime's supply.

Needless to say, I'm pretty pleased with myself and the outcome of this harrowing rescue. Now to soak the earring in something nasty and disinfectant for a while.

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