People might assume by the small tree sprouting out of the gutter directly above my front door that I’m a failure at home maintenance. And they would be right. My husband is an even bigger failure though, because he’s taller. But he works 12 hours a day so he has a good excuse for not removing the tree, or, for that matter, the gunk it’s growing in.
And, as luck would have it, he also has a good excuse for not being able to smell the methane gas that greeted us at the bathroom door when we returned from our two-week vacation.
“I can’t smell anything,” my husband shrugged after inhaling a whiff of the lung-searing vapor. “I have a cold.”
And, oddly enough, after I recently cleaned out the two freezers in the garage and later discovered that blood from the discarded meat packages and mushy liquefied bananas had begun oozing out of the bottom of our cracked trash can, and I commented to my husband, “We have a really gross problem with the trash,” shortly thereafter I found myself alone in the dark that night fishing out thawed roasts dated 1999 and searching for the garden hose with the flash light.
“I had to make a phone call,” my husband said, conveniently appearing in the front yard just as I finished dragging the re-bagged garbage in freshly scrubbed trash cans to the curb.
Which brings me to my question — I thought guys were supposed to do all the gross stuff in a marriage. It’s written towards the top of the Official List of Top Ten Reasons Why Women Really Get Married At All. I don’t mean to complain, but just last summer alone I single-handedly trapped an entire family of mice, squished approximately 20 spiders, shot down three wasps with chemical weapons, and scooped up approximately 150 piles of doggy doo doo.
As you can see, I have more than fulfilled my quota of gross duty for the year, and am therefore withdrawing my name as a candidate for solving the methane gas problem that has developed in downstairs bathtub drain, as I do not feel I am qualified. I am a woman, and I have no training for methane gas, except for babies with gas pains and that sort of thing. But methane gas outside of the body is not my field.
In a vain attempt to pass the gas problem onto someone else, I discovered that even men who are paid to care have more important things to do.
“Sounds like dry trap syndrome,” my plumber diagnosed over the telephone after I described the putrid odor in the bathroom and the sensation of scalded lungs after inhaling the air therein.
“Run some water and turn on the fan. I’m leaving town for a few days.”
“You could pour some bleach down the drain, ” advised the superintendent of my local water and sewer department. “Of course, then it’s going to stink like bleach,” he acknowledged, helpfully.
Finding no knights in shining armor in the immediate vicinity, I do what a lot of women are doing these days — I turned to the internet. A broad search under the words “methane gas” yielded some provocative but not very helpful articles with titles such as “Man Dies Inhaling His Own Methane Gas,” and “Generating Methane Gas from Manure.” By narrowing my search under the words “dry trap,” more alarming articles appeared with such as “Help for Methane Gas Poisoning” and “Troubled Times: Methane Gas.” But my hopes soared, though, when I finally spied an article titled, “What Causes Dry Trap Syndrome.” Below the headline was the following simple explanation:
“Dry trap syndrome stems from the unwise use of a plumbing P-trap to form a seal on the condensate drain line of draw-through HVAC systems, and application for which it is patently unsuitable.”
And I thought I’d heard every line in the book.
Would someone please pass the bleach?