Two days ago I discovered a minor plumbing problem that I knew I could DIY. As per my usual I found plenty of instructional videos made by handy females, legit plumbing professionals, and several “Gee shucks, here’s what worked for me” kinds of fellows.

They were all variations on a theme but with a common recommendation. “Use an adjustable wrench,” they said. Well, I didn’t have one so I used some well worn pliers with rubber coated handles. Mind you they were grubby and coated with a greasy black film but they were the right size for the job. Several adjustments later, new teflon tape having been applied in the appropriate places, my job was done. Or so I thought until it was time to return the water valve, just a quarter turn mind you, back to the “on” position. I tried with all my might but the shutoff handle wouldn’t budge. It hadn’t been all that hard to turn off in the first place so it was maddening that it was now immovable.

After further rummaging in the garage I spied a gleaming pair of pliers, similar in size but these were spotless and clearly marked, “Made in Germany.” Eureka! The perfect, well-crafted solution for sparing me an hourly plumber’s fee. Regardless, after repeated attempts, I fell sleep last night defeated, hands aching from the darn pliers, side cramps from multiple physical contortions (“maybe if I work it from THIS angle . . .”) and a water line still stuck in the off position.

This morning I awoke with renewed purpose. The darn shutoff valve was not going to conquer me, I was going to conquer it! The tool that the YouTubers had mentioned was readily available at my nearest big box hardware store along with the promise of “You can do it. We can help.” There, at the crack of dawn, on aisle 17 in Bay 05 the solution lay waiting. I was in and out like a ninja, my $4.28 purchase in hand, well equipped for one final attack on the shutoff valve.

I write this today as a victorious woman. One who firmly believes in ingenuity and improvisation but one who needed a reminder that there’s just no replacement for using the appropriate tool. Sometimes it has more to do with using the right tool for the job than it does with the actual problem. Sometimes you get wrenched a little while learning that.

Happy Inauguration Day to all. 🇺🇸♥️

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