The Eggplant of Salvation

Hey remember when I couldn’t fix the shower and wrote about it here and here? Summary of my frustration:

  1. The tub spout leaked
  2. I replaced the knobs and guts; the spout leak stopped
  3. But then the middle knob that sends the water to either the bathtub spout or the showerhead leaked
  4. I needed to replace the inner diverter, but no one sells the right-sized part anymore
  5. I cleaned the current part and did everything right and the knob itself stopped leaking but then…
  6. Whenever we ran water to the tub spout, water backed up in the pipes and also came out the shower head
  7. Gravity is supposed to prevent this; my enemy was physics
  8. I couldn’t understand why it was happening and gave up
  9. Lost hope, rending of garments

Regular readers will now remember the recent Eggplant Incident in which my darling wife put the troublesome vegetable into the garbage disposal, from whence it traveled and clogged in a pipe just below the earlier-described bathtub and filled said tub with hideous gray dishwasher/eggplant water. As I could not easily access the clog with traditional tools, I used Power Plumber, a can of compressed gas that you blast into the drain to jolt the clog. It worked beautifully.

Now yesterday: I had a handyman coming to do some electric work and was prepared to mention the shower-diverter conundrum. Before he arrived, I tested the shower again and lo and behold, the problem had completely remedied itself. How was this possible??

We owe it to the eggplant, it seems. My wife encouraged me to blog about this (while I was giving her a neck rub) in the hope of repairing her eggplanty reputation. I happily comply.

My theory. There must have been a partial blockage in the pipe below the tub/shower. This blockage prevented the drain water from flowing as intended, which resulted in a very slight backup, which resulted in the water rising up the pipe and leaking out the showerhead. Along came the eggplant to jam at the partial blockage. When I cleared the pipe entirely with Power Plumber, the drain water flowed at full capacity, the pipe stopped backing up, and the shower leak abated. So it seems I fixed the diverter correctly all those weeks ago and didn’t know it.

If not for the eggplant, we might have lost hundreds of dollars as the handyman attempted to solve the mystery and found himself similarly baffled. So hat’s off to the exquisite Mrs. Mahoney putting forbidden “fibrous material” down the garbage disposal. We have our second shower back.