The Leaky Wheel Gets the Grease 

Or…You Don’t Miss the Water Till the Faucet’s Run Dry

As a 21-year-old, I wore some atypical hats. Saying I became the “man” of the house with my dad’s death might be a stretch, but I definitely took over maintenance of my mom’s home. Repairs became my terrain, and I ended up being a relatively handy woman. That’s why when our kitchen faucet recently began to leak, I donned my pseudo plumber’s hat and tried to fix it.

Emphasis on tried. As is the case more often than not, few things go easily.

The manufacturer of the faucet guarantees its parts for life, so after shutting off the water and removing the bad cartridge to make sure I knew what I was doing, I called and spoke with a CSR who said she’d be happy to send the parts. This meant I’d have to deal with the leak for a few more days, but the solution was close at hand.

I put the old cartridge back and reopened the valves. No pressure. A mere trickle was as good as it got. After some research, I learned that something must have clogged the faucet…Sigh.


the corroded culprit that started it all
the corroded culprit that started it all


Now I had no kitchen faucet at all. I called the CSR back and she assured me that sending me a new hose in addition to the cartridges would solve the problem. At this point, I knew what had to be done was beyond me. For guidance, I called Ray, my soon-to-be brother-in-law who makes a living at being able to solve all kinds of problems like this. He told me that once the parts came in, he would do the job.

Yea! A light at the end of the tunnel! Waiting for the parts meant I would be without a kitchen faucet for a few days, but…there are worse things, right?

Except…in a few days, the wrong parts arrived. Another CSR call, another few more days’ wait. Double sigh.




These additional days really put a kink in my routine. It’s amazing how handy a kitchen faucet is when it comes to things like cooking and cleaning. Like…a lot. Like…without it, I brought water in from the bathroom for various things while we minimized our cooking needs by having sandwiches or carryout.

This is when the cliché of missing the water only when the well’s run dry becomes literal. I must admit I took my little ol’ faucet for granted until it truly ran dry.

It is an inconvenience like this that inevitably leads me to pause and remember that even though it’s a pain not to have a working faucet, there are people without running water right here in the US, as well as people in parts of the world who have no clean water at all.

And then I feel bad because my trouble is so small compared to other people’s that I should really stop feeling irritated at all. But…it is still my trouble. A trouble. In the grand scheme of things, it’s nothing, but in my own little world, it’s still a trouble to me.




Problems of various sizes are most certainly inescapable, and I deal with some better than others. I am delighted to report that Ray did indeed fix the faucet after surmounting a few obstacles. It ended up being a week of hassle and annoyance, but now when I turn the handle and am greeted with flowing water, I have an extra appreciation for it. Of course, this feeling will dissipate in time because I am human and will forget to be mindful of all of my blessings. I’d like to say otherwise, but I know myself well enough.

But however long the window of appreciation is open, it’s still important to breathe in deeply. And since the troubles of life will never cease, I strive to remember that each one that comes along is an opportunity to be grateful for what I have and be compassionate toward those who have not—those who would be thrilled to have my problems…because a leaky faucet means that I have running water…which is sadly not a given for everyone. (And ideally that compassion stirs action…)

Can all of life’s messes and challenges open that window of appreciation? I’m not sure. Maybe in the long run. Maybe not. But when problems do remind me to be both grateful and compassionate, it is important that I stop and be just that.

Now pardon me while I go and happily do the dishes. (This, too, will wear off…quickly.)


All photos are my own.
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