A Real Grind

DisposalOur garbage disposal died.

To fully grasp my sadness, you must understand that the garbage disposal is one of my all-time favorite household appliances.  It has one, simple purpose—to eat—and it does that exceedingly well.  It does not seek to glorify itself—no, it stays out of sight under the sink, bothering no one and taking up no precious counter space.  It doesn’t need bright colors or fancy names or hand embroidered covers.  It just wants to make my life better by consuming everything in the kitchen that annoys or disgusts me.  By the way, I have friends like this—the selfless, helping part, not the eating garbage part—and I love them, and abuse them, much as I do my disposal.

Because, yes, I must admit that from time to time I abuse the garbage disposal.  It is never intentional; I simply push my mechanical friend beyond his design capacity.  He’s just so capable that I get carried away.  Sour milk, soggy vegetables, eggshells, old cheese, worn socks, the neighbor cat—anything for which I have no use goes into the disposal and then…away.  It’s magic.  I like to think that somewhere happy little creatures are feasting on the tidbits that I am sending down the pipeline.

But sometimes I forget that he has limits, and he gets clogged.  And that is when I remember another reason that the garbage disposal is my favorite appliance.  It arrived in my home with its own magic tool.  It’s called an Allen wrench thingie—be suitably impressed—and when the disposal jams, you perform a simple ritual involving the magical tool and the amazing reset button—more magic—and Wa-La (pronounced Voila), the problem is solved.

Except when it isn’t.

Except when your disposal dies.

Which mine did.

So, you know I’m not the handy-man type.  If you’ve been reading this blog for any time at all, you have found ample evidence that I am not, nor have I ever been, Mr. Fix-it.  I’m more Mr. Cause-it-to-explode-then-weep-in-frustration.  But there comes a time in every man’s life when he must crawl under the sink and replace the garbage disposal.  My time had come.

I’m not a particularly big man, but undersink arenas and I are not design compatible.  The only way that I really fit is with my arms pinned at my sides and my head canted at an awkward angle.  That’s fine for sightseeing, but it makes it difficult to do the job I came to do.  Fortunately, I have a fine young son who is still slightly smaller than I and whose body bends in ways that mine does not.  Under the pretext of teaching him to be manly, I can compel him to do all sorts of things I find painful, such as plumbing the depths of our plumbing depths. Between the two of us, we managed to get the dead disposal off—farewell, my old friend—and the new turbo deluxe model on without too much trouble.

When everything was hooked up, I turned on the water and flipped the switch.

It worked.  Beautifully.  It drank water, it ate what I fed it, it made lovely mechanical music.

It all seemed too easy.

I really should have known.

Speaking of what I should have known, did you know that your dishwasher actually drains through your garbage disposal?

I did not.

I would have, if I had thoroughly read the directions that said, “Thoroughly read directions before attempting installation” before attempting installation.

But I did not.

You see, there’s this hose that connects to the side of the disposal, and apparently it comes from the dishwasher.  But before you hook it up, there’s a little plug thingie you have to remove from the garbage disposal so that the water can enter from the hose.  If you do not remove the aforementioned plug thingie, the water—the foul, food-filled drainage water—leaving your dishwasher travels through the hose, attempts to enter your disposal, encounters the plug you did not remove, reverses course, and erupts all over your kitchen.

All over.

I could draw a lesson here about following directions.  Then I could make a suave segue to life, and how God has given us directions for living, and how when we ignore those directions we invite fountains of disaster upon our heads.  I could make pithy comments about how I wish I had a garbage disposal for all areas of my life, not just the kitchen.  I could do all that, but I trust you to get there without my help.  Besides, I’ve just written, and you’ve just read, 773 words on garbage disposals.

It’s probably time to go do something else now.

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