Handyman Part II–Garbage Disposal

I was planning on this being a series, and this is the second part of my flat tire post, but I ended up calling it “Stranded” because I forgot I was planning on making a series about me being a handyman.

But it is a series. And this is Part II. And it’s about a garbage disposal.

I knew I was in trouble when Wife turned to me one afternoon and said “Sweetheart, the garbage disposal is broken.”

I was baffled and perplexed. “What do you mean broken. Like, as in it’s not working?”

“Yes,” she replied. “That’s what broken means. It is not working. And you are the man, so you need to fix it. Or in other words try to find someone to fix it for us, please.”

Many days passed. I couldn’t for the life of me remember for any period of time that we had a broken garbage disposal find anyone to help us. And then our garbage disposal began to stink.

Guests would visit, and the first thing Wife would say was “Sorry about the smell. It’s our garbage disposal. It’s broken.” And then she’d give me a look like that machine is not going to fix itself, dummy. And then I would panic with responsibility and short circuit and start reciting Spanish scripture or change the subject by practicing Ninja moves across the living room. And she would roll her eyes.

My tactics were effective though, because last week I got a call from a friend of mine, Peter. “Hey Josh,” he said. “I’m coming over to fix your garbage disposal.”

“No!” I protested. “You don’t have to do that!” But inside I was sucking my thumb saying “Please save us. Please.”

Peter arrived a little later and I marched him into the kitchen.

Me: So, this is our sink. I’m pretty sure the garbage disposal is in there somewhere. Like, down in the sink somewhere. Down the drain. *points helpfully*

 Yeah, I’m pretty sure t’s riiiight down there…
(Photo attribution here)

Peter: Yeah. The disposal is attached to the piping of the sink… wait, do you think it’s inside the sink? How do you think garbage disposals work, exactly? 

Me: Well, I don’t know about yours, but ours seems to be inside the sink. It’s down there somewhere. *points again* Somewhere deep in the belly of the sink. And then the food goes down this hole, and you flip the switch, and the garbage disposal grinds everything up and makes it disappear. 

Peter: Josh, sinks are all about pipes. Piping water out of your house. Here, look… *tries to open the cupboard under the sink* How do you guys open this child lock? 

Me: Um, actually I’m not sure.  I’ve never looked under there before. Wife says we gotta keep the kids safe. And make sure I never accidentally drink Drain-O.

Peter: Okay…? Well, I’ll just try to… *jiggles the lock until it comes off* *opens the cupboard* There.

Me: Oh geez! What’s all that stuff down there?

Peter: That? That’s the pipes I was talking about. And this big metal thing here? This is your garbage disposal. It’s a machine. It has a motor. It’s the thing that has been disposing your food all these years.

Me: Oh, okay! I think get it now. So there’s like a car engine in my sink…

Peter: …No. It’s actually nothing like a car engine in a sink. It’s just a motor. That grinds. It does not propel anything forward or backward like a car eng… are we seriously having this conversation right now? *removes the disposal*

Me: Would you like some juice?

Peter: Nope. I’m good. I’m just gonna look at this to see if I can fix it…

Me: Holy crap, that big metal thing you’re holding is all grimy and disgusting! Sorry about that. Would you like me to take it out to the trash so you’re not distracted by it as you fix my disposal?

Peter: This? *holds up the disposal* This is your garbage disposal, Josh. This is the machine we are looking at and trying to fix. It is the object in question. This is the actual mechanism used…

Me: *comes to with a jerk* Oh, I’m so sorry, what was that you were saying? I just fell asleep as you were trying to describe that thing in your hands…

Peter: Never mind. Give me just a minute to take a look at this thing, and I’ll tell you whether or not I can fix your garbage disposal.

Me: Awesome.

Then he looked at the thing in his hands for a while and came to some conclusions.

Peter: Well, I don’t think we can fix this. It looks to me like you’re gonna need a new one.

Me (baffled): Wait, a new what? An new sink? A new house? The market’s pretty rough these days but I guess I can make a few calls…

Peter: You need a new garbage disposal.

Me: You can buy those?  

Peter: Yes. It is a machine. That you can buy. And replace. And you need to.

Me: Oh! Kind of like a when you get heart disease and you need a heart transplant!

Peter:  …okay, yeah sure. It’s just like that.

Me: Peter, where do you get garbage disposals?

Peter: Don’t worry about it. Give me your credit card and I’ll grab one for you.

So, I gave him my card, and then he went to some store somewhere that has machines or something, and he called and said it would be about $100 and I was like “wow, that’s a lot less than a heart transplant, so go for it” and so he bought it and brought it back. Then he got under the sink and did a lot of tinkering and stuff that I don’t really understand, and there were some tools, and at one point he had to go home and get another tool thingie and I’m not sure what it’s called. And then? It was all done, and he flipped the switch, and my garbage disposal in my sink was working again!

I was so relieved.

Peter had some final advice.

Peter: Well, I think that’ll do it! Looks like it’s working. Now if you ever have trouble with the blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah and then you can blah blah with a screwdriver blah blah blah and blah blah blah but don’t ever blah blah blah really injure blah blah blah blah. All right?

Josh: Got it!

Peter: Cool.

And then as Peter left, I said “really, are you sure we don’t owe you anything?” His eyes said “you owe me $300.00 and the last three hours of my life back.” But his mouth said “Just have your wife make us some cookies sometime.”

 Pro-tip: If you hire a plumber to fix some crap under your sink, he might just ask to be paid in cookies. So make sure to have some on hand.
(Photo attribution here)

And that’s the story of the day I changed the garbage disposal all by myself with the help of somebody else who did it for me.

Speaking of posts that make me look really competent, remember that post that Wife didn’t want me to even post here? Well, I found a home for it! And they’ve put it up! You can read it here.

Remember folks, it’s satire. So don’t be mad at me.

I think one thing is pretty obvious today: I’m the best husband on the planet. Except for all those other people who are husbands.


  1. Haha, I got mine taken out, it was giving me too much trouble. Too bad I can't do that with my heart if that starts giving me trouble :p

    1. Yeah, heart-removal is probably not a great idea. From what I understand, at least. Unless, of course, you get it replaced. With a pig heart, maybe. Or another human heart. Or possibly a strawberry, if it's large enough.

  2. If plumbers were paid in cookies, I just might have to learn how to do all those… thing doing. And the proper names for the… thingy. Doesn't matter because COOKIES.

    1. This is a life lesson. When there is something you want… something you really really want, you can learn DO ANYTHING to get it.

      Which is why I will now join the NFL. Because I want money.

  3. You are definitely funny. Actually, my husband is kind of the same way unless it has to do with repairing plaster walls or motorcycles. Well, and he does change tires. However, we wound up getting stranded at the church yesterday when the battery in our car died without warning–although we were told afterward that the fact that our headlights were very dim was a BIG indicator that it was going. Who knew?! LOL Sadly we were not able to replace the battery in exchange for cookies. 🙁

    1. Well that's a right shame. I'm all about cookies being an actual currency.

      And to answer your question: I did not know. That's for certain 😉

  4. That IS funny. I can so relate, yet I have a pretty handy husband. As such, he could easily be Peter. In fact, he's been helping neighbors/friends like that for years. So you're not alone. I'm amazed by how many men we've had as neighbors (middle aged/owned a house before, etc.) and have no clue about yardwork, even grass-watering. I do appreciate my hubby, but unfortunately, so do all the women neighbors whose husbands aren't quite as handy around the house. Not cutting down those husbands those, because I know they work hard. I don't know about any of that handy stuff either.

  5. Its funny that you would mention this, I hired plumbers (who didn't know us) to come and fix something, I sent them away with a bag full of homemade cookies. 🙂 But I think I got ripped off cause I had to give them a check too!

  6. LOVE this post. In jest, I'd blame your lack of know how on the fact that you are gay (since I just read that post), but my husband is not gay and when our garbage disposal broke a few months ago, I tried to fix it myself with my dad talking me through it over the phone (it didn't work) and then I called around until I could find some other husband to fix it. My husband was just as worthless in the fix it category. But, luckily he comes through in the paycheck category 😉

    I could use a Peter in my life though. Is he for sale?

  7. I don't know you and you don't know me but I followed a link from my sister on facebook about Club Unicorn and loved that post so much (SO interesting and amazing and thought provoking and awesome!) that I just couldn't stop myself from reading your other posts and subscribing to your blog and I'm laying here reading this post while my husband naps in bed next to me and my full body laughter is disturbing his beauty sleep that I have to put a pillow over my head and suffocate myself to stop laughing so hard. My eyes are streaming with tears I can barely see to type. You are SO hilarious and no other words will help me relay my feelings except for … awesome! Thanks for being that 🙂

  8. Just in case you were thinking you were the only husband with no clue…NO, you are not the only husband who knows nothing about sinks, plumbing or garbage disposals…mine doesn't either. I don't hire a plumber I generally fix it myself.

    I love him anyway.

  9. I am not sure how I missed this post in my first read-through of your archives, but it has given me great joy to find it today! It was like a little bonus post (but only because I was a dolt and oblivious to its existence the first time)! Your interactions with Peter remind me of mine with my dad whenever he's trying to talk me through fixing something. (And of course even if I have the exact same problem again I can't replicate what he told me to do the last time…) Luckily if there is one thing I can do, it's make cookies, so I've got my handyman payments all set.


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