crazy stuff,  domesticity

A spooky ghost story (sort of)

jack o lantern row

There I was on a dark and stormy night, doing dishes by the light of the moon. Tree branches cast long shadows across my countertops and scratched their long bony fingers across my soapy hands. Dish after dish, I soaped and rinsed. I set them beside me on the little rickety wooden dish rack to dry.

From time to time the water in the sink would stop draining properly and a pool of murk would rise up from the depths below. Dried bits of cheese and broken spaghetti noodles would swirl and swish in the dirty water. This didn’t scare me. Our plumbing is bad and I am used to drainage problems.

Just a quick surge of power from the garbage disposal would be all I needed to grind up whatever was blocking the water from draining and I’d be back in business washing dishes and hurrying off to bed.

It was getting cold and my warm bed called me. I could feel a chill creeping up from the linoleum floor, across my bare feet and up my night dress to the little hairs on the back of my neck. Brrrrr. I hated doing dishes at night.

I leaned over and flipped the switch of the garbage disposal and immediately a loud grinding gurgle errupted from below the sink. A giant bubbling mountain of gray water shot from the drain towards the ceiling. The dish I was holding flew out of my hand and shattered on the floor. Cups and saucers clattered and broke in all directions. I staggered backwards, blocking my face from the spray of warm greasy water and tried to get away.

No matter how hard I tried, I could not escape. The floor was slippery. I lost my footing and fell, nearly knocking myself out on the corner of my red refrigerator. The water continued to spray out of my sink and soon I was drenched to the bone.

A voice spoke from beneath. It seemed to be coming from behind the cupboard where the garbage disposal itself was housed. The doors rattled and my windows shook.

“I am the ghost of your garbage disposal,” it cried in a high pitched whine. “I have come to vipe your vindows!”

Wait. That’s not how it went. Scratch all that. Scratch everything except the part about where gray water shot out of my drain. That really happened. I wasn’t doing dishes at night and it didn’t shoot all the way to the ceiling but this did really happen to me and it scared the crap out of me.

Apparently, our pipes are old and there is a giant clog. When you try to run your garbage disposal with a giant clog, it repels all the water in the opposite direction. This may be the direction of the person who is washing dishes. It can be quite frightening to someone who is not expecting it.

Our sink is out of commission. It’s been that way since Saturday. Toby dumped some very strong super duper plumbing chemicals down it and all that did was skunk Baby Bug and I out of the house. At this time I am at my mom’s in the sticks because the smell of sulfur was so strong, I couldn’t go five feet near my kitchen. I was afraid for poor Baby Bug’s brain cells. We are staying away until it is fixed.

Toby spent all day yesterday negotiating with our landlord and I think things will be fixed by tomorrow. (Toby is my hero.) From what I hear, they are ripping up the kitchen floor and replacing great lengths of pipe. This could be exciting for us since I am inviting my whole crazy family to my house tomorrow to go trick or treating.

I’ll let you know how it goes.


  • familymclean

    Fantstic photo’s, love the whimsy! We too had a clog, a wash cloth that made it down the drain, and my attempt to plung it out ended up just spraying my father in law the face. Not good, pipe sugery was required.
    Great story!

  • Kuky

    Eeew yucky dirty sink water. The hubby has mucked around in that before. But nothing awful like having it shoot at you unexpectedly. For awhile our garbage disposal was sounding funny. Turns out there were 2 baby spoons in there. Ooops!

    Have fun trick or treating! We don’t have anyone to go with so will not be venturing forth. Instead we will be huddled in the dark hiding from the trick or treaters. ;-D

  • witchypoo

    I am looking forward to having trick or treaters this year, after 7 years of living in a place where not one came to the door. After the first two years of no kids, I stopped buying those things so I wouldn’t eat them.

  • Spandrel Studios

    Someone I know had their dishwasher hooked up improperly – so unbeknownst to them, the garbage the disposal processed kept collecting inside her dishwasher! Until one day… the dishwasher exploded foul gallons of old garbage when they ran it. Yuck!

    Glad to hear Toby’s on the case!

  • Michelle

    I second Bethany’s comments – Bleck! You poor thing! I love it when the Daddies get the job done :o) Toby, YOU DA MAN! A less greasy version of getting sprayed in the face is as follows: Tie a rubber band around the sprayer thingy, and the next person who turns on the sink, gets a refreshing *squirt* in the face…I tried this once, and my mom got the “midnight spritzer” – I got grounded.

  • Katie

    Oh yuck! I broke our garbage disposal a few months ago when my husband was away on business. That was fun…we ended up have to replace the disposal and some pipes and eventually the whole kitchen sink. BLAH!
    Also, your pumpkins are gorgeous! Love them.

  • lynne

    Sorry to hear you got soaked, greasy sink water eww! Freaky goings on in my house too this morning, the battery compartment of my electric compartment catapulted across the room scaring the cat. I raised an eyebrow. Nothing untoward scares me much after my neighbours (who I had never met before) late one dark and stormy night last winter got worried that I may have passed out due to the smell of varnish eminating from another nearby flat. So, they decided to lean out of their balcony to bang on my window with a kitchen mop to check I was still conscious (I live 3 floors up) and promptly scared the beejabbers out of me as I sat working at my computer. After they explained themselves I thought they were nice guys and it was an excellent ice breaker :)

    Do I get creativity points as the supermarkets had all run out of pumpkins in Camden so I bought a watermelon and have carved a spooky face into it instead?

  • SmocknMama

    We had a clog in our sink last year and when the plumber found what caused it, it was a silver chopstick in the pipes, past the u-bend from renters three, yes, three years before us. Go figure.

    Eeeeewwww nasty water in the face. Made you want to shower, didn’t it?

  • Lexi

    Yuck yucks. I finally started keeping a strainer in the sink, over the disposal, to prevent things like lil spoons from going down there.

    This was like 3 years too late, but it helped.

  • Anonymous

    Have you inspected your sewer line recently? We had clogs, overflows, giant pillars of greasy water too! We thought we had bad plumbing until we got a sewer guy come in to snake the indoor and outdoor pipes to fix things once and for all…whoknew what was in there! Turned out our mainline was broken. It is now fixed and all is well. Might help to pay the $100 to get a video taken of your trunk line!

  • Melinda

    Great pumpkins and I really enjoyed the story. Gosh, I am glad that didn’t really happen to you. My worst horror story with a garbage disposal is when I flipped the switch and got a huge electric shock that radiated right up my arm. Fortunately I let go in time but I got nasty little lines on my arm because of it. They look like wrinkles…and I am only 31 so having a wrinkly arm sucks. Anyway, I hope it all gets fixed for you soon.

  • Serene and Not Herd

    Eww gross!

    Yea backed up kitchen sinks are a nightmare. I did some handyman work for my apartment company in California, and garbage disposals were our worst nightmare. Most rental places put them in because it’s better than dealing with completely un-shredded food in the pipes, but still our renters were heckbent on putting whole potatos and gallons of half-cooked pasta down the drain. That’s what the garbage can is for!

    Sounds like you guys inherited disposal problems from previous renters as well.

    Definitely keep the little one out of the house if possible, and keep the windows open while work is being done on drain and sewer pipes, as nasty methane gas can leak back into the house while those pipes are opened up.