Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Problem Solving - Past and Present

One of the real joys of home ownership is all the maintainance and problem solving to be done when things go wrong - OK so maybe it isn't a joy.

This year's obstacle to be overcome is the broken bolier but last year it was a water leak.

My garden once looked like this...
...but now looks like this!
The situation caused a lot of trauma and heartache at the time but hopefully I learnt a few lessons along the way and have at least been a bit calmer this year with the bolier.

I may not have felt calm and responsible, or even acted it, but on reflection I have felt just a bit more capable of sorting it out on my own. Even if I haven't followed all the advice given.  

Good decision? Bad decision? Always MY decision! That's something I am learning daily and probably something I started to get to grips with last year with the water leaking incident.

Anyway here's what I wrote then about the man who fixed the leak when just about eveyone else had failed...

A Man with a Van and a Spade
(posted 14th April 2011)

I have been having a long running saga with a cracked/broken/leaking water pipe.  

Several people have been involved in searching for the offending pipe.

A bit of digging, a fence pulled down.  A wall removed stone by stone.  More digging.

The location of the pipe was a complete mystery.  Somewhere under some tree roots perhaps?  Twisted, tangled and damaged!

The man from the water company came and traced the pipes with a fancy gadget like a metal detector.  So now we knew where to dig…

But then there was the problem of the tree it already grew at an angle leaning towards the house and garage and the roots were being severely undermined.

We called the tree man who said “STOP!  No more digging until the tree comes down.”

The tree came down and the digging resumed.

My dad dug deeper and deeper with no success.

Everything STOPPED for a second time as I called the insurance company to see if we were covered and they could send out some professionals.

“They’ll send a team of men with a digger and all the right equipment.” said my dad knowingly relieved he could at last go and dig another part of the garden and terrify the weeds!

We waited.

On Tuesday a man in a van with a spade turned up!

He had to ring me from just around the corner to find out where my house was.  I was full of doubt, fearing my on-going saga would never end.

The man muttered to himself, leant on his spade and pondered.  He seemed to be digging in a different direction.  Certainly not the way the man from the water company had led us to believe in.

But this man had his own detector gadget and that was obviously telling him something different and who was I to interfere?

After a few hours of digging, muttering, detecting he found the pipe and fixed it – all quite simple really.  There was no stress and no drama.  It was my dad who had been digging in the wrong direction all along due to a false reading!

In the end it took just one man in a van with a spade to do what six men between them couldn’t achieve!

His big advantage was that he had everything he needed to hand.  A spade to dig, the technical gadgetry to trace the pipes and the knowledge how to fix them.  Everything came together perfectly.

Oh if only everything in life was so simple. 
I wrote the other day about feeling like a child.  What I really want right now is someone to tell me all the answers.  I’m worried I might be digging in a misguided direction and things will go terribly wrong.

My only task is to make the good choices for me and the boys.  Ultimately there are no rights and wrongs in the decisions I make just other people’s opinions.  Life is full of twists and turns and like everyone else I just have to do the best I can with the resources and information I have to hand.

I’ve made some decisions already, some hastily out of necessity and others I’ve pondered long and hard, still not knowing the answers.

I know already that some decisions I've already taken may have been made differently in hindsight.

But I have reached the stage where I am trying to take some control and I need to rely on this strength I supposedly have.  It’s hard work and the scariest thing I’ve ever had to do. 

If it just affected me it might be easier but truthfully without the boys to keep me going I may not have got this far!

I need to give myself permission to fail.  It is OK if I don’t get it all right.  I can dig holes all over the garden looking for answers if I want to!

However just now I need to STOP a while and take stock.  The boys are off school on their Easter holiday so I need to take a break too.  Let things settle in much the same way I did over the Christmas holiday. 
Maybe some answers will come in the quiet stillness of resting and if not when the boys go back to school I will once more pick up my spade and start digging!

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