Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Thanks a lot, YouTube.

This morning, I totally thought that this post was going to be all about the wonders of technology, and how great it is to be able to quickly and easily find the information we need to solve problems on our own. I was praising YouTube and everything.

But five hours, one visit to the hardware store, one visit from a plumber, and $110 later, things changed a bit. I know - it wasn't YouTube's fault. But there was a good lesson to be learned from it all.

This is what my husband and I were dealing with this morning. There's a good chance you've been there, or at least somewhere similar. You know - that "oh crap" moment when something suddenly breaks, and you aren't prepared to fix it.

So being the fully capable people that we are, we looked up "How to replace a water supply valve" online, found a very helpful video, and watched it on my husband's phone as we sat right there on the bathroom floor.

Believing that we were fully prepared to do this all on our own, we headed off to our local hardware store and quickly (with a little help from a nice associate named Bill) found what we needed and headed home to conquer our leaky toilet. On the way home we even had a conversation about how cool it was that we could find such a helpful video online and be able to fix things ourselves instead of calling a plumber. Yeah. Of course we did.

And it is cool. I still stand by that. We can find answers to all sorts of questions, and instructions for doing all sorts of things, just by looking online. Just think about how many times you've answered a question with "I don't know. Google it." (Don't try to deny it. I know it's not just me.)

But the problem is, being able to find answers to anything just by grabbing our phone and going online sometimes makes us forget that the modern technology that we are raving about doesn't automatically make us capable of actually fixing the stupid toilet. In an ideal world, yes. In reality... not so much. Sometimes there are extenuating circumstances. Sometimes you still need outside help.

We finally reached the "had enough" point and called a plumber. And we were really irritated about having to do it. Because we should have been able to do this ourselves, darn it! The irony is, not so long ago we lived in a world where calling a plumber was the natural first step when confronted with plumbing issues. Oh, how things have changed.

So lesson learned. Yes, technology is awesome. But no, it can't do it all. Find your answers when you can, and rejoice. But remember that it's still ok to ask for professional help sometimes.


  1. Also...a book on household repairs might be a good investment. Thanks for the insight, Melissa, as always.

  2. Yeah, in the pre-Internet days, I would have reached for a book like that instead. But actually, it wasn't the quality of information that was the problem. The video really did tell us what we needed to know.

    The problem was that we ran into an "if this happens then you need this tool to finish the repair" situation. Since we didn't have one of those tools, and it would have cost as much or more to buy one as it did to call the plumber, we just decided to save ourselves any more hassle and leave it to the professional. :)