The validation of simple achievement

posted by Jeff | Sunday, March 14, 2021, 12:51 AM | comments: 0

Today I finished fixing a series of problems related to our washing machine, and it felt good. At some point recently, one of the intake valves started leaking. The laundry room has a drain pan connected to a pipe, and that pan had a big crack in it and it wasn't firmly connected to the pipe, which is to say the water was leaking all over the floor. Fortunately that wasn't serious, because the tiles on the floor don't allow the water to go anywhere.

Popping the top off of the washer, it wasn't hard to find the leaking intake valve, and two minutes of research on the Internets revealed this was a common problem. (Also surprising, this same part appears to be used in most washers under several brands for much of the last decade and a half, and I have to wonder why some of them cost a grand and others don't.) I found the part online for $20, and it took 15 minutes to replace. The new drain pan took some messing with, because the pipe sits kind of high, and I had to Dremel off the lip of the pan so the pipe would be flush. As it is, it has to angle a little since the orientation of the pipe isn't straight. But I think I got a good seal with some large washers.

None of this was particularly complicated, but in terms of achievements, it felt good and validating to fix these, instead of having to pay someone else to do it. I have to solve complex problems every day at work, involving many people and over weeks and months, but that kind of thing never has the same satisfaction as the quick home improvement thing. Parenting problems are even harder, and frankly no one is ever there to thank you or high five you when you work through those problems.

Similarly, a couple of weeks ago, I rotated the tires on one of our cars, and replaced the cabin air filters and cleaned the AC coil. While not particularly complex, it did require pulling off some panels, and it's great that even after sitting in the sun, the car doesn't stink when the air conditioning starts spinning up. And who doesn't love saying that they have activated charcoal HEPA filters in their car?

I don't do stuff like that very often, and when I do, it usually involves buying tools that I don't really need. Rotating the tires properly means having a torque wrench, which cost $50, even though Tesla will literally come to my house and swap wheels around for $35. But doing it yourself is satisfying, like installing ceiling fans in every room when you move into a new house.

Go me.


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