Replacing The Bathroom Faucet Gave Me A Powerful Life Lesson

We got a new faucet for the bathroom – it was such a deal that it was impossible to say no. Replace the bathroom faucet on a pedestal sink – easy peasy. The old fixture was leaking but still wasn’t that old and everything is open and easy to get at – should be a nothing event to take of the old faucet and replace it with a new one. Maybe 30 minutes – tops.

Well, we know how home repairs go. The simple process of removing the old faucet was neither simple nor a process. Rusted fittings, bent pipes. It was like trying to get a flat tire off the car without the right tools.

But after a struggle it came off. Without it, cleaning the pedestal sink was a breeze. And now with this outdated leaky faucet gone, how amazing will this be to have a shiny new non-leaking faucet. I could feel the frustration of the struggle to get the sink to let go of the old faucet fade to excitement of finishing this unpalatable task. I found myself humming.

That is until I saw it. The new faucet had one large pipe to mount to the pedestal – the pedestal had three smaller holes. As I evaluated the situation, no matter how I tried to fit the thicker stem on the faucet into the smaller center pedestal hole, it just didn’t work. All humming stopped.

Anger stops all repairs

First option. Force it. What if I just bang the faucet into the opening? Hmmm. What could happen? I could break the sink and now a free faucet will cost hundreds of dollars for a new sink. Not a good idea.

Second option – enlarge the hole. Good idea. Search the toolbox – I had never ground porcelain before so nothing I had in the toolbox seemed right. Humming moved to frustration. Frustration was brewing into anger. Words I hadn’t used in a while were rolling off my tongue in every part of speech – nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs – even gerunds. My English teachers would have been so proud of effective use of grammar, tenses and parts of speech. In a huff, I headed to the hardware store to buy a grinding bit. I needed to gently widen the hole in the porcelain – too fast and it would break. If I stayed in this mood, I would break it. Calm down.

The first trip (yes, first trip – you know where this is going) to the hardware store brought back a grinding disc to use with my drill. A minute into sanding and the head of the disc broke off. I bought the cheapest one and got my money’s worth. Good thing I did not have a hammer near me – that saved me from what could have been hours repairing the hole I would have put in the wall. I found myself so angry and so frustrated over something so ridiculous. I drove back to the hardware store like a banshee – aggravated, frustrated, pissed off and completely out of control. I bought several strong grinding bits, determined not to have to shop again today.

At home, I added the bit to the drill and started. Gently rolling the grinding bit around the circle started to widen the opening. The movement around the circle created a gentle rhythm that was actually calming. I focused on the task now, almost enjoying it. After an hour of grinding gently, the opening was sufficiently wide enough and the new faucet slide perfectly into the pedestal. I connected the hoses and the faucet worked like the star it was made to be.

Why is it that we loose our cool over little things?

Life lessons are everywhere

I realized in that moment, that when life sends us challenges – like a faucet that doesn’t fit the opening in the sink – we simply need to slow down, consider our options, decide on the one we want to try and patiently go forward. There was nothing about this faucet repair that warranted my internal outbursts, anger, temper or my elaborate use of curse words, in every language. Nothing. It simply needed me to see this as just one situation needing my best response – like all other things in life. And my best response comes from managing my emotions, staying calm, gathering information, thinking it through and diligently working a plan – not in acting like an out-of-control maniac. Thank you universe – I got the message. In fact I am remind of this message every time I see or use this faucet.

So how does this event remind you of your parenting? What are the events that get you to boil over when all that is needed is to tune in calmly to see things differently?

How does this event remind you of your workplace? How do employees activate your hot buttons about things that don’t really matter?

How does this even remind you of your relationships? How do those you love do and say things that drive you crazy, when all that really happened is they just said or did something – you allowed it to drive you crazy?

I let this little household task get the best of me. But in the end I made peace with the faucet and thanked it for the lesson. Patience. Resilience. Calmness. All of these help us succeed with whatever comes our way. Get upset for the things that really require it – that probably amounts to 1% of the things in our day. For everything else, just learn the lesson of the faucet – stay calm, think it through, have a plan, work the plan then celebrate your success.

What lessons is life providing you so you can show up better on the other side?