Monday, July 17, 2006

Conquering my fear...

of the toilet!! Well, I'm not really afraid of the toilet, it's more a
fear of the toilet needing to be repaired. Or anything else in the
house for that matter. It's one of the things I hate most about being a
divorced parent with a house. When something breaks, I am the one
responsible for it. I can't make someone else do it, I can't blame
someone else when it doesn't get done, and I can't ignore the problem.
At least before I could defer to the "man of the house," even if he
wasn't mechanically inclined enough to know which end of a screwdriver
was up. It was still his responsibility to either figure it out, or
hire someone to do it for him. The other part of the whole thing is that
I can't necessarily afford to hire people to come and fix my stuff when
it breaks. In reality, I actually have no business owning a house,
except for I have all these kids for whom I need to provide shelter. So
this phobia I have is really ridiculous because I grew up watching
people fix things. My dad owned a plumbing/maintenance company, and my
mom was pretty handy with tools herself. My sister vinyl sided her own
house and built a deck! With her own two hands! (ok, she did have
help... but she was up there hammering nails and sawing wood and
whatever else needed to be done.) I know I have some mechanical common
sense - I can get those pressed board furniture things from Walmart and
figure out the directions to assemble them myself. I'm not manly enough
to do it without the directions, which is a good thing because I'm not a
man :) And I used to help fix things all the time. So what's the
problem with now? Why am I so afraid to even try to fix the leaky
faucet, or the running toilet? Maybe because I'm afraid of making them
worse. It brings to mind the time I tried to encourage my former
husband to fix the toilet. He really was mechanically challenged, and I
believed that if he'd just try, he'd be able to figure it out. So I
bought the toilet innards that came with instructions, and presented
them to him as a gift. He tried, he really did, and I do give him
credit for that. I learned my lesson though when he called me at work a
few days later and said "you need to come home. Now. I tried to fix
the toilet, and now there is water spraying out of the bathroom walls."
That plumber we had to hire after that was so not cheap... But at any
rate, somehow I don't think that praying things don't break is the answer.

This morning while I was at work, I got a text message from my daughter.
"Houston, we have a problem...." I don't know what she was talking
about, we live in Phoenix. Anyway, something had gone horribly wrong
with the toilet and there was water everywhere. I was thinking plugged
toilet, overflow, ewwwwwwww. She assured me it wasn't anything that
simple. Oh yay. But it was time to face my fears. The hose that goes
from the water line to the tank had broken. The kids were able to get
the water turned off, but I dreaded facing this thing, because I didn't
know what was involved in fixing it. I disconnected rest of the hose
and took it to the hardware store. The lady there assured me it wasn't
hard to fix, and I was comforted that it was a female, surely if she
knew how to do this stuff, I could figure it out! And she was right, it
was as easy as changing a light bulb.

So today I faced my fears of fixing the toilet, and I did it myself. I
am now encouraged to face other home repair issues head on. Or move
into an apartment :P

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