Inefficiency At Its Best

The reason I do not do home maintenance/improvement projects is this: Micah can do it better, cheaper, in half the time, with a fraction of the energy that it takes me. Oh, and at almost no cost to his sanity.

Case in point: Our toilet seat broke a few months ago. One of the hinges, being solidly constructed of cheap plastic, couldn’t take it any more and snapped. (I know the feeling . . . .) After being thoroughly annoyed at it for a day or so, I settled into being mildly annoyed only when I had to use the restroom and forgot about it the rest of the time. Or maybe I didn’t forget about it so much as I waited for Micah to do something about it.

Somehow, Micah didn’t read my mind, so I finally asked him if he could please hop on his bike and stop at Home Depot and get us a toilet seat next time he was in that neighborhood. He was glad to, of course, but then his weekly trip to that neighborhood kept getting pushed back to later and later in the week, and finally, on Friday afternoon, in desperate need of some way to get the boys out of the apartment, I asked them if they wanted to come with me to get us a new toilet seat.

Only if they could ride their bikes, they said.

I hemmed for a few minutes. Then I hawed. It’s a tad over a mile from our house to Home Depot. Bikes could make it faster. I wouldn’t have to propel myself and three children via stroller/buggy board/sling. But there are a lot of streets to cross between here and there. A lot of people. Bus stops and train stations all along the way. So many legs to crash into. So many toes to run over.

In the end, the pleas of the boys won out. We started down the street with me coaching them as much as I dared: “Slow down the hill, slow, slow, slow, okay, STOP!”

“Watch where you’re going, look ahead, see that person, watch it, watch it! . . . Sorry!”

“Okay, we’re not going to try to make that light. We’ll just stay here and wait until it’s our turn again. Good job, Boys, we’re doing great.”

Deep breath.

I was fairly exhausted by the time we got there, but we found the toilet section quickly and perused our options. I noticed there were multiple sizes, so I called Micah and had him do some quick measuring. And after that the boys and I tried for several minutes to figure out what the difference was between the $58 toilet seat and the $18 toilet seat. They looked identical, so we took the $18 one.

And then we started home. Only twenty streets between where we were and where we were going. But the sling was weighing heavily on my shoulder. And the diaper bag was too. I held the toilet seat with one hand, took some weight off my shoulder with the other, and resumed coaching the boys across the streets and through the people.

Halfway home Squish started flagging. “I’m not tired, Mom. I’m going so so fast,” he said as he tried to hold my plodding pace. But with nothing else to do, we kept at it. And when we finally got home we wasted no time switching out the old. Of course, it only took a minute before the baby started complaining. I settled onto the couch to feed her and told the boys to get Micah to help them finish up. Which he would have done if the toilet seat we bought hadn’t been two inches too long.

Blah.

So Micah hopped on his bike, rode over to Home Depot, returned my purchase, bought a new seat for only $13, and had it on and ready to use in the same amount of time it took me just to get there.

I marveled for a moment at how inefficiently we handled that situation, and then vowed to never take these “home improvement” things into my own hands again.

Then again, if that’s what it takes to keep this place from falling apart, maybe it’sworth it.

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6 Comments

  1. I know the feeling all too well. I came up with an elaborate scheme for measuring the picture frames and the wall and probably 3 other things when we were trying to put up 3 picture frames together. We got the first one up no problem, but somehow I got the second one about an inch lower than it should have been (I measured about 5 times!). So we left the third one for a while until I came up with an equally elaborate plan and started carrying it out, only to have Paul step in with a ridiculously simple solution and have the third picture up in perfect balance with the second in about 1 minute. Grrr.

    Oh well, at least it looks good.

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    lizzie Reply:

    HA! I put our pictures up one day while Micah was at work so that he would HAVE to fix it when he got home. Unfortunately, he thought it was fine and we’ve been stuck with it ever since.

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  2. I know this story. It’s my story too. Except the part about us actually going to Home Depot (or Lowes) never happened. I imagined what would happen if we did, and opted for Amazon instead. Thank goodness for amazon prime, 2 days and $10 later, we had a new seat……that oddly matched the blue toilet, tile, and bathtub quite nicely.

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    lizzie Reply:

    You know, I JUST realized that if we don’t have to spend all day running errands, we can do fun things instead. So consider me a belated Amazon convert . . .

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  3. Ha! We’ve all been there. Any time I go out with the kids, I tell myself I have to be willing to completely abandon the project and turn around at any moment. Online shopping has totally transformed modern motherhood!

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    lizzie Reply:

    Yes. I have been reluctant to give all of my shopping to Amazon, but this experience, as well as one in which I gave Micah a list of things to get at Target and they didn’t have anything I needed, changed my mind. And then I realized that if I don’t have to spend all day running errands, we can do fun things instead and I haven’t looked back. Bless you, Amazon.com, bless you.

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  4. p.s. the littlest one is so BEAUTIFUL! I know you can’t help your kids’ looks, but you can take some satisfaction in knowing you picked the right guy to make pretty babies with 🙂

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  5. I never try to do home improvement projects myself either. I just mess things up usually. I guess if I tried them more often though, I might actually get better at it.

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    lizzie Reply:

    I mostly do home improvement projects when I realize it will never happen if I wait for Micah to do it. But even then, I do it knowing that he will most likely have to re-do it. Sad, but true.

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  6. I’m glad it was not my story, but I enjoyed reading it, especially little details like “solidly constructed of cheap plastic,” and your comments en route: “watch it, slowly… sorry.” Thanks for posting 🙂

    [Reply]

    lizzie Reply:

    I wish it wasn’t my story either, even though it is fun to tell. 🙂 Glad you enjoyed it.

    [Reply]

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