Life Lessons In Plumbing Supply Showrooms

As happens in life, when something breaks, it breaks at the worst possible time. In my case, it was the toilet seat cover right before guests were coming. I thought about trying to duct tape it, but visions of someone in the middle of the night having the contraption fall apart and fall on the floor made me move on.

I could call a plumber but there wasn’t any time and besides, I am a capable adult woman who can YouTube video instructions on just about anything, toilet seats included. And by the way, the drunken women trying to swing toilet seat covers like hula-hoops around their necks in ladies’ rooms should be a cautionary tale to everyone.

I started online trying to match the picture of my toilet to ones on the internet to discover the model. This is the plumbing version of consulting Audubon Birds of America to discover a bird species. Who knew there were so many seat variations? Slow closing, soft seat, nightlight, heated, ones that take voice commands.

I set out to the local plumbing supply — not the fancy showroom, but the parts warehouse in the back. I was definitely a fish out of water, for sure the only one buying plumbing parts in Lululemon. I reached the head of the line with my diagrams of measurements and model numbers, and also brought out my phone to show the clerk pictures, including of the specific attachment screws, to make sure I could find one that matched. I told him I was concerned about getting it right.

He looked at me and, with a Brooklyn accent, said, “Don’t overthink it.” He found a simple round model for about $30, and although I was kind of into the nightlight option, I decided simple was better and said great. He sent me around back to the enormous warehouse to pick it up.

A man on an amazing huge forklift that could go forward and backwards and side to side and up and down pleasantly greeted me to fetch my item. I told him I wanted to borrow his gig and drive it to the American Hotel. How he could zip around that cavernous space to find all the items was amazing to me. “This comes with instructions, right?” I asked and he pointed to the box with a barely decipherable visual description.

When I got home, my first hurdle was to get the old seat off. I had my handy tool kit, which, readers may remember, does have floral handled screwdrivers. I got one side off, but almost gave up on the second side. I just wasn’t strong enough. Come on girl, I coached myself, all those chaturangas in yoga must have given you some muscle strength. And with a big grunt, I got it to move.

While the new seat was not configured in exactly the same way, it would still fit. When I had finished with only a ruined manicure as collateral damage, I felt an immense sense of pride. Then I wondered how is it that I don’t have faith in myself to figure out simple projects and think I need to call in an expert. The voice of my warehouse friend came back to me, “Don’t overthink it.”

All too often, we do the same thing when trying to fix a toilet seat as a relationship or a work project or a family dynamic. We get caught in the details and the diagrams and fret about the way things are supposed to be and if we are doing it wrong. We need to sit back and relax and have faith in ourselves, “Don’t overthink it.”

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