Adventures with a REAL toilet plunger

Today I learned a valuable lesson.  Choosing plumbing tools based solely on what is attractive is a recipe for disaster.  Buying them at Target may not be a good idea either.

sink plunger photo
Did you know this is a SINK plunger?

So our toilet was clogged and I figured my trusty “toilet” plunger would save the day.  I got it at Target when we moved, and it was blue with a white stand to hide the plunger part for a prettier effect.  Wrong!

The plunger we had was similar to one in this photo, except the rubber was a dark blue, and it was so cheap that it would invert if you tried to use it, plus the rubber seemed incapable of forming a seal at the base of the toilet.  Little did I know it’s not even made for toilets!  It’s a SINK plunger!  Sink plungers may work on some toilet bowls some of the time, because I unwittingly have used them before with results.  Today my pretty sink plunger was not up to the task.

toilet plunger
THIS is a real toilet plunger. It is good for sinks and all toilets.

Fortunately my wonderful building owner lives in the building and had a toilet plunger, so I had the right tool thanks to her.  It works like a charm when you actually have a TOILET plunger!  Now I’ve bought our own at Home Depot, and even watched a cool instructional video I found with a quick search on youtube, so I am pretty much an expert at toilet plunging.  Did you know that there is actually some technique to it?  This youtube video from expert village does a very good job at demonstrating points 4 and 5, and mentions points 2 and 3 towards the end.

1.  Check the photos here and make sure you own a real TOILET plunger.  It is really worth the money, and if you don’t mind one with a bright yellow handle a proper toilet plunger is $4.99 at Home Depot.  I bought ours, shown in this photo in front of the toilet, with a clever white case for $14.99 at Home Depot, not bad for esthetics AND function.  Apparently real toilet plungers can also be used on sinks, so get it and you’ll be all set.  I put my crappy Target sink plunger out by the dumpster today!

2.  Have a bucket of water so that your test flushes are done by pouring water from the bucket into the toilet bowl to produce a flush.  This way you can pour the water and control how much so you make sure you don’t overflow the bowl if your clog is still present.  This is key.  I wish I had known this today because all my test flushes were done the usual way with the toilet flush and I was just praying it wouldn’t overflow.   That’s not cool.  It was pretty nerve wracking.

3.  Also use your bucket of water to make sure you have enough water in the bowl.  You need a fair amount of water in order to get a good seal between your plunger and the hole at the base of the bowl.  Sometimes if the toilet is clogged the water level goes too low, so if that’s the case you add water.

4.  Empty the air out of the toilet plunger before using, as much as possible.   This is done by tilting the plunger under water so that the air comes out.  I saw several sources that said this is more effective to have the plunger thrust water rather than an air bubble.

5.  Try to pull the clog up towards you rather than push it further into the toilet tubes.  This is because the toilet tubes are long and narrow with tight curves, and ideally you don’t want to jam the clog further into those tubes.  This means press down slowly then pull up with reasonable force and speed, to pull the clog out.  Eventually most videos say plunging up and down a bunch is OK if the pulling up doesn’t do it.  If you really want to geek out and watch another short video this one actually shows a cross section of a toilet so you can see how the tubes look.  It also shows a “closet auger” tool you’ll need if the plunger doesn’t get rid of the clog.  Optional viewing, for sure!

So there you have it folks.  I was sooooo happy and relieved when our toilet was finally unclogged.  Now for the rest of the day when I flush it makes me happy.  Sometimes it takes some drama to get you to appreciate the little things, right?  Oh and the other moral of this story is that between google searches and youtube videos you can learn anything.

Our Dyson vacuum

Dyson DC14 vacuum
our Dyson vacuum, getting used

Here’s our Dyson vacuum.  I had wanted a Dyson vacuum for years before we finally got one last September.  Did we pay full price?  Nooooooo.  It was never the plan to pay full price, and I ended up buying this one used and one year old on eBay, for $161 including shipping.  I had wanted a Dyson because of the hepa filter, which many vacuums have these days, and also the famed suction.  It does blow some things into the air when you use it, so I end up using the super suction wand first to get anywhere I know is bad, then vacuuming everything.

I like the easy-empty canister so I see all I’ve picked up, yet not touch it.  I like all the suction in the wand.  I like the bright yellow color.  Whatever mojo it has that actually gets me to use it, to vacuum my 3-cat, dog-boarding apartment on a very regular basis, I am grateful.  Because when all is said and done, what matters is not the brand of your vacuum, but whether or not you actually use it!

Creating Positive Structure – Magazine Day

photo of magazines
a new plan so we start to read our magazines.....

So there’s something about magazines in our home.  We haven’t been reading them.  We want to read them, but just do not make the time.  Then there’s not just one magazine to be read, but multiple issues, which become piles of issues, that have not been read.  I actually gave away months of National Geographic because I was tired of having so many lie around unread.

So tonight it hit us.  Let’s create a Magazine Day!  We appointed Lorenzo the Magazine Czar, and then he decreed that our weekly Magazine Day would be on Wednesday and our article number would be two.  This means each Wednesday we each have to read two articles of our choice and explain them to the other person.  Sure that’s only four articles per week that we would learn about, but four is a world better than zero!  I feel better already, like a nagging recurring item on my subconscious to-do list has suddenly fallen into place on my calendar.

Sometimes people have so many rules and expectations from others in their consciousness that they are too stressed.  They long to do nothing at all, as an expression of their free will.  Well even that can get old.  Sometimes you need to invent new rules for yourself to help guide yourself into new discoveries and wellness.  So here’s to your freedom and wellness, and here’s to our new Magazine Day!  I’ll keep you posted!

Out with the old, in with the new!


OK so I think the serenity prayer for clothing from the earlier post must have helped.  I also did meditation and “read” my own energy.  I donated one box of books and two big bags of clothing today.  I was pretty amazed at the reasons why I kept extra possessions, going all the way back to childhood.  I have a feeling the energy of excess possessions will be a popular new topic for my readings with clients.


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The Serenity Prayer- for Clothing

Serenity Prayer for cleaning closets

Serenity Prayer for cleaning closetsRemember ladies and gentlemen, you heard it here first!  Here’s a prayer I just wrote for myself, as I begin to once again give away all the extra clothes I keep for no good reason at all.  Well, since I read energy I know there are pretty complex reasons we keep clothes we don’t really need or even wear.  I also know it would be really helpful for me to give them away, to lighten my load so to speak.  Perhaps you need this prayer too?  I’ll let you know on Wednesday if it worked!  🙂