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‘Twas lunchtime on Christmas when all through the kitchen two creatures were cooking, both on a mission. The turkey was robed in bright foil with care in hopes the 20-pounder would not be too rare. The pies they were resting all snug on their racks, their pumpkin-y glory worth two sore backs. With squash in the oven and dressing to make, we looked towards the sink to find a small lake. When in the disposer there was predictable clatter, I went into the pipes to find what was the matter.

But first we tried dumping white wine vinegar and baking soda down the pipes to see if that would help and I’m not figuring out how to put that in this rhyme scheme.

So as I implied above, things went wrong in the plumbing department while making Christmas dinner this year. It was ground to a halt around the time we were both putting the fixings for dressing together and cleaning up behind ourselves. Suddenly, it became clear the sink was not draining as intended. This brought the proceedings to a screeching halt during a period of time that we traditionally use to relax before finishing all the prep for dinner. There would be no such indulgence that afternoon.

The first lucky break came when I remembered we had a vacuum capable of sucking up water. This only came after I spent time googling how to fix a clogged sink and the internet recommended one so I can’t credit it as an original thought. It was also the internet that gave a variety of home remedies for clogged pipes. I went with what seemed a reasonable combo of vinegar and baking soda. I did this… several times.

After about the third trial of experimenting with the concoction, hitting it with warm water that failed to drain, and Mom’s increasing dismay at the notion of hiring a plumber on Christmas, the creeping little voice in the back of my head that had grown louder over the past hour finally reached a decibel I couldn’t ignore.

“You need to open the P-trap.”

“Okay,” I said to the voice as I vacuumed out the sink yet again, “but I don’t know what that is.”

“You’re about to find out.”

Armed with a towel for my knees, a bucket for whatever was about to fall out of the pipes, and about every tool I thought might be relevant to the task, I went under the sink. Mom was on the phone with my aunt behind me so she had the opportunity to narrate the excitement to a third party whose Christmas was going in a considerably more sanguine direction.

Technically, the second lucky break was how easy to was to twist the pipes loose and pull the offending piece away for cleaning. I just have difficulty describing it that way. You see, when I managed to negotiate the P-trap away from the pipe attached to the wall, I immediately beheld a nest of green slime peeking its little head out of the pipe’s opening. I remember my face creasing at the sight, pulling down and back, as though every loose inch of skin was trying to crawl away from what I’d brought onto myself.

Using the scrub brush that’d been left beneath our sink by some either prescient or diabolical individual, I began to wiggle the sludge out of the pipe. It plopped into the bucket with thick, moist slaps, and my accompanying groans.

Eventually, it had to be said. “Being a strong, independent woman sucks.”

And you know what happened, reader? My own mother laughed at me. Laughed. On Christmas. The cruelty exceeds all bounds.

Still, I persevered. I washed the pipe as clean as I could, made sure water was running through it unimpeded, and put all the pieces back together nice and snug. At last, I pulled myself out from under the sink and watched in triumph as water poured down from the faucet with no obstruction. People talk about the Grand Canyon but sometimes it’s the simple things in life that are the real wonders.

Mom declared me the savior of Christmas so I graciously forgave her laughter. You know, like Jesus would. That’s two things Jesus and I have in common – forgiveness and miracles.

We got to take a very short break during our preparations after all, which I used to peel off a layer of skin in the shower. Once I was as red as the nose of that other guy who saved Christmas, we got back on schedule and still managed to have dinner right on time! We even almost had enough energy left at that point to eat it.

Happy Belated Holidays, everyone!