Sunday nights at our house are devoted to preparing for the week ahead.
We fold and sort socks, gather athletic gear and pack backpacks. We post the week’s activities on a hallway calendar.
I cook enough dinner for at least two nights. I prep fruits and veggies for kid lunchboxes. I make a giant salad for my own lunchbox for the week.
In the midst of all those activities this week, the garbage disposal stopped working. When I flipped the switch to pulverize some tomato scraps, I didn’t hear a grumbling motor. The only sound was a low hum.
I am no stranger to disposal trouble, but I’d never encountered this noise.
Google, no doubt, would provide some clues. I pulled out my smartphone, searched “disposal humming but not working,” and began diagnosing the problem.
All signs pointed to a stuck flywheel.
Upon further investigation, I found a YouTube video from a slightly off-color maintenance man in Idaho. So I settled on the kitchen floor, sitting cross-legged in front of the open cabinet, and watching this dude’s every move.
He told me to find a 5/16-inch hex wrench. I paused the video to search for the specific wrench. I found just about every other width except the 5/16-inch.
And none of the other sizes worked.
I gave up on Mr. Idaho and relied again on my phone, this time to text a friend who knows all the disposal answers.
She called back and offered the right-sized wrench but first suggested I try the old broom handle trick. Mr. Idaho didn’t include that technique, so I let my friend talk me through the procedure. Voila! A little bit of leverage and nudging and the flywheel became unstuck.
One of the greatest confidence boosters in the world comes from successful DIY home repair. I solved the problem — albeit with help — in quick time, and I didn’t spend a cent.
My cooking and cleaning resumed, and I went to bed feeling pretty good about myself. I am strong! And mighty!
That confidence lasted almost an entire day.
On Tuesday morning, I discovered a puddle of water on the kitchen floor.
The water was not from the sink, thank goodness, but from the freezer.
It seemed as if someone — that would be me — failed to close the freezer door all the way on Monday night. Melting water trickled out of the ice dispenser for hours.
I mopped up the mess, evaluated the freezer contents and continued with morning prep for a full day — deflated but not defeated.
My confidence was restored by the end of the workday. I had solved problems and fulfilled requests. And then I learned of another mess I’d made.
I had somehow, accidentally, managed to change the contents of a shared document. A document needed by dozens of coworkers. At my brand-new job.
I apologized and sat with a coworker as she corrected my mistake (no YouTube video necessary).
We laughed about the error. All was forgiven. I left the office feeling deflated but not defeated.
No doubt something else will break soon. It may even be my fault. And I’ll fix it myself or ask for help. I might even have to pay someone.
And then I’ll move on, buoyed by the confidence of a problem solved. I’ll remember that I’m sometimes strong and mighty — and that I’m always human.
Tyra Damm is a Briefing columnist. Email her at email@example.com.