Am I Stubborn Or Just Singular Focused?

July 28, 2012 — 15 Comments

A few weeks ago I wrote, “I don’t think I’m very stubborn.”

Yeah…I take that back.

This week I noticed a slow leak in the toilet in my kids’ bathroom.  Upon first glance, it just looked like one of the gaskets had given out.  The whole system was old, so I decided I’d just replace it all this weekend.  Fun Saturday project, right?  Heck, maybe I’ll even make a time-lapse video of the repair for the blog!

I got the parts and tools and set the camera up and away I went.  Everything went smoothly for approximately three minutes.  Then, as I started trying to loosen one of the nuts from the bolt that held the tank to the bowl, I noticed the whole thing kept spinning.  This is a nightmare for a person with one hand.  Two-handers can use one hand to hold the top of the bolt steady with a screwdriver and then work on the nut with their other hand.  I can’t.  So, I just kept spinning it and spinning it, getting more and more frustrated.

At this point, if I was smart, I would have stopped.  Of course I didn’t.  I mean, the video was running and I knew my wife wanted it done and I hate being defeated.  Seriously, ask my wife how I get with these projects. Wait…I take that back.  Don’t ask her.  It got to the point where I had stripped both bolts that I needed to remove, so…ugh, this is so embarrassing…I just grabbed my vice-grips and started torquing them back and forth, hoping to snap them in half.  One of them actually did, but the other one didn’t.  It really didn’t.  In fact, it so didn’t, it busted a hole through the tank.  You can imagine my joyous response.

Well, I was not giving-up.  I went back to the hardware store (we are now two hours into the project) and got a hacksaw (to remove the bolt) and a large rubber washer which would hopefully cover the hole.  I went ahead and put all the new hardware in and hoped for the best.  I turned the water back on and as the tank filled…it also started to leak.  Everywhere.  So, there I stood, sopping wet with sweat, my back and hand killing me, garbage and water everywhere, frustrated beyond belief.  Three hours for nothing.  And I still had to clean all this crap up.  And buy a new tank and do it all over again!

At least a had a cool shirt on.


Being stubborn can be a blessing and a curse, I suppose.  In this case it seems like a curse.  I wasted a good portion of my day, when I could have stopped as soon as I realized it wasn’t going to work and tried again when I had some help.  That’s not really my gig, though.  I think of it as being “singular focused” or determined or competitive.  “THIS TOILET WILL NOT DEFEAT ME!” I said (before cursing it).

I need to be smart about it, though.  I’m sure a lot of you can relate.  I’m sure it’s naturally ingrained in me to prove that I can do things because of my limb-difference, but there are times I need to be less stubborn and more wise.  There are times I need to ask for help, even if it feels like defeat.

And as I write that, perhaps that’s where the lesson lies.  Maybe I didn’t waste three hours of my day breaking my toilet and my back.  Maybe it was to teach me that it’s ok to ask for help when I need it.  In fact, it’s more than ok; it’s necessary sometimes.  And when we put aside our stubbornness and get the help we need, things tend to work a lot better.

And even though my toilet is still broken, that lesson’s worth three hours.

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By the way…here’s the video:


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15 responses to Am I Stubborn Or Just Singular Focused?

  1. That’s funny 🙂 Bummer things didn’t work out better for you.

  2. hehehe! Would this work? Wire the wrench (whatever tool it is) to long electric fence post (minus the triangle anchor) and you can grasp it with your short arm or legs. You can bend the post to desirable angle that would work best for you…

  3. I do agree that knowing when to ask for help is an important lesson. But where is the video of your adventures? You could bleep out any unseemly words…

    • Dena – My camera ran out of room about 30 minutes into my 3 hour adventure. I’ll see what I can do. lol

  4. Hey Ryan! Toilets are evil. Even with two hands I need backup. 🙂

    Also – Thank you for a great website. I’m a new mom and my 8 month old is right handed just like you. (LBE) I’m just starting to really look around and find others to talk to/learn from.

    • Yes, I’ve heard that toilet repairs are not uniquely difficult for the limb-different among us. lol

      So glad you found LOH! Feel free to contact me with any questions and make sure you Like the Facebook page if you’re on there. Tons of awesome people there, too! 🙂

      • 🙂 Thanks Ryan! Pleasure to meet you!

        I’ve done the FB like and have started to explore some of the links you’ve got here. Can’t wait to check out the pod cast with your mom. I’m trying to think up some good questions.

        BTW – When I “repaired” my toilet I had to set the toilet 4 times before it didn’t leak into the garage below. (Of course it landed on the bag of charcoal.) I have two hands but I’m a wimpling so I had to get the hubby to do the lifting.

  5. I’m built like you. Physically & mentally. I often have to allow my wife to “check me.” Honey do you need help? “No! I can do this!” I know you CAN, but wouldn’t it be easier with help? “would you (with two hands) ask for help?” Yes, she replies. “well then ok, I guess.”
    That’s not the scenario every time. Sometimes you need to prove it to yourself. But it’s sure nice to except help from someone you gets you and loves you instead of a plumber because you didn’t.

    • Oh, man…totally, Tyson. 🙂

    • Haha I’m the same way too. Seems like I’m always out to prove something (I probly am), but since I work on cars for a living people are always trying to help me. In reality they can help by just standing out of the way and watching in amazement haha. Any of the 12 certified technicians I work with will tell you I can keep pace with them.

  6. Stubbornness is something of a double-edged sword.
    It is what has driven us to achieve many things and it is what has driven us into a jam many times. On the whole I think we benefit far more from it than we lose.
    Oh for the wisdom to be able to make better choices at times!
    I am a mature lady living solo. When I think I might be biting off more than I can chew, I unlock the door, make sure my mobile is on me and go about the ‘too difficult’ task as well as I can.
    I have not had to use the mobile yet but keep it on me each time just in case!

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