What a Leaky Faucet Has to Do with Problem-Solving

Written by Heather Kim

Ever been kept awake by the sound of a dripping faucet? Did you tighten the knob, go back todripping faucet and problem solving sleep and forget about it for a day, weeks, months? Yet, it still gnaws at you as something that needs to be fixed? See the parallel with any problem?

It was annoying to listen to and I asked my superintendant to look at it. He mumbled something and said I had to replace the whole faucet. Living in Manhattan, this involves getting a plumber with a license and insurance to past muster with the building. If you don’t know what this means, just think ka-chink,ka-chink, up goes the cost. One quote was for $400. Another was for $200 if we figured out how to sneak someone into the building, not easy to do in a 24-hour doorman building. 

As a result, I just toughed it out for months. I’d be working at my computer and hear the dripping. Falling asleep, I’d hear the dripping. Finally, I started shutting the door to the bathroom so I wouldn’t hear the dripping. I just kept living with it. 

In the meantime, I did a big kitchen renovation. Workmen came and went but I noticed that the big items, tearing down cabinets putting in new ones or installing a new sink, seemed to happen quickly. 

Do you ever notice that what you notice sometimes serves as a bigger lesson? 

After the workmen left and I had a beautiful new kitchen, the dripping upstairs became very noticeable. But, this time, I felt empowered to fix it. My usual solution when I’m busy is to just shell out the cash and fix it. Make the problem go away. But, this time, something made me want to fix this myself. After researching new faucets, I decided to do a search on YouTube on “how to fix a leaky faucet.” There are a ton of videos showing this. A video of a teenage girl showed up. Not well lit but the point came across…If she can fix a faucet, surely I can!  

I did exactly what she said and within 10 minutes and $10 later, I had a blissfully quiet faucet. This got me to thinking. What other insurmountable or vexing problems do I have that have multiple solutions, not just one? Where can I look for advice? How good does it feel to learn something new? What about the ability to save money and feel smart and productive? Where else in my life can I do this?


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