Some RVers may be familiar with the process of washing dishes in a plastic tub and then dumping the soapy water into the black tank with the dual purpose of saving space in the gray water tank and maintaining a good (lots of liquid) condition in the black tank. That was the intention when I recently finished up washing the days dishes. Yeah, it was late and I was tired but I thought I had made certain that nothing was left in the tub beneath the thick layer of soap bubbles.
So I headed to the toilet, lifted the lid, pressed the flush lever and began to pour. I should point out here that I don’t normally press the flush lever continuously when dumping soapy dish water into the toilet, so I’ll chalk that up to the late and tired factor. It was going well until . . . clink, clink, clink . . . down went a spoon that I had apparently missed. Immediately, that sinking feeling set in. Oh s**t!
“What was that??” Duane ask. He didn’t even get excited, but he did have a worried look.
“A spoon!! I can’t believe I let that happen!! What are we gonna do now?! What are we gonna do now?!!” — Hudson, Aliens, 1986 (RIP, Bill Paxton). That’s how I felt when the spoon went down. It’s a good thing Duane is more level headed than I am when it comes to things like this. My initial tendency is to panic (like visions of the spoon getting hung up in some nether region of the coach and blocking up the works ending in us having to replace the entire system). He didn’t seem that concerned.
“We’ll research it in the morning but this can’t be the first time something like that has gone down a toilet, especially for people with kids. It’ll be alright,” he said. Okay – sounds good to me.
So that’s what we did. It turns out that I wasn’t the first person to do the very same thing. One person actually retrieved the spoon through the toilet, by hand sans gloves, then washed and bleached it and put it back into service. Uh, no, I don’t think so.
We sent an email to the manufacturer explaining what had happened (it started out, “Here’s some entertainment to start your day . . .”) and asking for details on the anatomy of the plumbing system, like where there may be bends or other areas where the spoon could get caught up. “I would get a scope down there and retrieve it that way” was the response. Thanks, that was really helpful.
Some folks who had experienced the same thing convinced us that the spoon would probably eventually just make it’s way out during a system flush and after a close inspection of the pipes from underneath the coach, Duane thought they were probably right. So that’s what we decided to do.
Two days later, we packed up, headed to another location and were less focused on that spoon as things seemed to be working normally. At the new location, we hooked up and went about our business until the time came to flush again right around bedtime. I took Roxie for a walk while Duane handled that chore. When we were both back inside, I asked about the spoon.
“Yep, it came out and went down the sewer drain,” Duane said.
Really? I hadn’t expected to hear that.
“I didn’t even think about that spoon, but when I pulled the valve, I heard tink, tink, tink, tink, TINK and down it went. The last trip must have knocked it loose,” he said.
We both feel better not carrying that spoon around in our black tank and I think I’ve learned an important lesson. Never, never have the toilet flush valve open while you pour “stuff” into the toilet.