“Should be” vs. “Is”, or the Kitchen Sink Saga

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Last week, I discovered a massive leak under one of our kitchen sinks (yes, we’re lucky enough to have two). After mopping up the mess and emptying the cabinet under the sink, I did what any reasonable woman would do: asked my husband to fix it.

Unfortunately, my husband declared that he’s too busy in the next few days, and that I can just use the other sink in the meantime.

Now, the second sink was OK as an emergency backup, but I have always used the first for my meat dishes and didn’t want to mix them up.

So basically, I had two choices here:

I could stomp my foot and get angry, and rave about how inconsiderate my husband was and what’s the point of having a man in the house if not for such emergencies?!

… Or I could roll up my sleeves and get the job done myself.

(There’s also the option of paying someone else to do it, of course, but it’s kind of out of our budget right now).

I swung by the hardware store, bought a piece of piping after consulting the nice man behind the counter, watched a couple of YouTube tutorials, and dug in.

Did I do the job perfectly? No.

Did I accidentally poke myself in the face with the loose piping, split my bottom lip, dribble blood all over my front and, for the next few days, look like a poster girl for a battered women’s shelter? (I wish I were joking).

Um, never mind.

But is the sink usable again now?? Yes!!

And every time I wash the dishes, I experience this warm glow of satisfaction: I did something that I thought I was incapable of. And you bet it feels a whole lot better than sitting around and grumbling about how unfair it is and how I’m not supposed to also work as a plumber while taking care of four children, running a household, and doing my best to pay the bills.

This little kitchen sink episode illustrates a truth that had taken years and years to penetrate through my thick skull: it’s so much better and healthier to take a deep breath and deal with how things are, rather than keep getting hung up on how they “should be”.

And this, my friends, is – in a nutshell – the difference between the younger me and the me of today. I spend less time thinking about the discrepancies between ideal and real, and more time rolling up my sleeves and getting things done to the best of my ability.

In case any of you Freejinger ladies are reading this (you know who you are!), that’s the process that has brought me to the point where I am today.

I have heard a lovely metaphor, that life treats us like sea glass: the waves, sand and rocks create constant abrasions that smoothe out our sharp edges, tone us down, and shape us into something new and beautiful, and much more pleasant to handle than prickly glass shards.

For me, this process has included internalizing that dreams, ideals and self-appointed rules sometimes don’t match reality, and you have two choices: roll with the waves and become a piece of sea glass, or…

Shatter on the rocks.

I’ll bet you can guess which choice I’m making every day.

11 thoughts on ““Should be” vs. “Is”, or the Kitchen Sink Saga

  1. So sorry you got hurt…but I suppose it rather told anyone seeing you, and wondering, that you were doing what is actually NOT a woman’s job!! You are brave…had it been me working on it, likely the whole house would have had to have the water shut off till it was fixed!! Being a klutz and all. Ahem!! When such occurs again, maybe your rabbi might know of someone in the synagogue who would come fix it for you, just for the chance to do a mitzvah!! And really? If you feel you could not have meat without that sink…it would not kill anyone to eat just veggies, fruit and peanut butter sandwiches!! Right? Cold food tis ok you know. Truly. Or if you have a crockpot, whatever you could fix in that should have been ok for a few days too!! Well, you know a reason women are often told to marry an older man, is that we all know how long it takes a boy to mature. Usually years later than a girl of the same age. I guess one of the miracles of those of us who stay married (we just past 47 yrs) is we do an AWFULLY lot of overlooking such actions…years worth. Frankly. But then we have to understand, after all, not being able to physically give birth, a man has not a shred of an idea of how much that takes out of a woman…and let’s face it, nursing surely depletes a woman’s energy as well. And yes, then there is home schooling on top of the thousands of other chores in a day that a mom must do. (Been there…one time being frustrated out of my head, I kept a running list and approximate times for each thing I had to do in a day…I was amazed that the list was so long…maybe he was too…he sure calmed down seeing that list!!) Of course, we do want to do those things…but it does take a great deal of energy from us!! Even a bit of help can go a long ways too!! I am sending you hugs and empathy!!

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    • Thank you so much, Elizabeth! Yes, it’s certainly possible to make do with just one kitchen sink. But I wanted to try doing it myself…. How hard could it be, I thought? 😁 seriously, though, after I was done wiping the blood and applying an ice pack to my lip, the rest of the job took around 5 minutes. I hope next time I can do better. I certainly prefer not to depend on favors to do such basic home repairs.

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  2. Desr Anna,
    I have been following you for many, many years, and I also read FJ (though i dont comment). Changing, as you say, is part of life. Our experiences shape us in many ways, and I find it great: we learn and change and adapt. You are living the life you want. Not many people can say that!
    As for the sink incident, im sorry you got hurt but you learned a new skill that will become handy at some point, im sure. You know, my father is very handy and always did everything around the house, even the furniture! He is an engineer and loves creating things. When I married I thought my husband would do the same thing. Well, it didnt happen. My husband is amazing in many respects but fixing things is not his forte. So i decided i would learn. My father first laughed when i aksed for his help, but now after 6 years, i no longer need his help and have learned to do lots of things. I can even fix a broken door!
    Keep up living the life of your dreams!

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  3. Anna, thank you for posting this. I really struggle with how things “should be”, and I tend to get stuck there. Part of me sees that it would be simpler to just accept and work with what is, but……”IT SHOULDN’T BE THIS WAY!!” Thinking this way solves nothing and just gets my blood pressure up. I have followed your blog since before you were married, and I consider you a very wise woman, so it greatly helps me to hear you say this too.

    Thank you again, and I hope your injury heals soon. Bruises will fade but that sink (I hope!) will be working for a long time.

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  4. I love your sea glass analogy. I have been thinking in just this way lately. I have just started my 38th year as a public school teacher, and I’ve been reminiscing about the way things (and I) used to be. I’ve had to roll with the punches to survive in an every-changing society. Kids don’t change much, but parenting sure has.
    I’ve had to learn to adapt to so many changes in attitude, some good, some really challenging in order to remain positive in my work with students. I’ll be retiring in a few more years, but I’m determined to finish strong. (Also, I live near the sea and love to collect sea glass 🙂 )
    I’m a FJ reader too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, 38 years as a teacher! I have enormous respect for that. So many teachers change careers mid-path because they find teaching too draining (and I can definitely understand that too).

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  5. I have never heard that sea glass analogy. It is incredibly meaningful to me. Thank you.
    I too have learned similar lessons. When my husband was working 12 or more hours a day, I was pretty much on my own with the 4 kids. Gotta love the internet! Hope that lip is much better now.

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