(Flickr: jandjconstructionmt.com)

(Flickr: jandjconstructionmt.com)

Column

SIMPSON: Before losing your cool, make sure the screw that’s loose isn’t yours

Being quick to blame others can be humbling when the problem really lies with you

Dangling carelessly 12 inches above our dining room floor, the still-connected electrical outlet seemed to revel in my frustration.

As a single bead of sweat dripped from my brow onto the newly installed vinyl floor, the outlet’s two three-pronged “faces” seemed to mock me, as if they were a couple of anguished emojis.

“Oh my God, we can’t believe you are struggling so much with this,” they seemed to be saying.

And they would be right.

All I was trying to do was replace the plastic outlet cover.

How hard can it be?

I had just replaced four others, including a dimmer switch, but as seems to be the rule in any project, it’s always the last one that gives you the most grief.

My inner frustration with the problem outlet took a turn for the worse when my screwdriver missed its mark, leaving a small indentation on the freshly painted wall.

It was at this point that I did what any self-respecting dad who is all thumbs around the house would do.

I blamed someone else.

“You see, kids, this is what happens when you don’t do something right the first time,” I told my two bemused teens. “If the builder had just installed this properly, this wouldn’t be an issue.”

My wife arrived home and my rant continued, this time with a few colourful adjectives thrown in for good measure.

“Why can’t anything be built properly these days?” I vented. “You spend all this money on a townhouse and they can’t even install a (blank) wall outlet properly.”

With a simple, “I’m sure you’ll figure it out” verbal pat on the head, my wife went upstairs.

It was then that I realized what the problem was. I was using the wrong holes for the screws.

Thirty seconds later, the outlet cover was replaced and I offered a silent apology to the builders who had installed the outlet properly way back in 2005.

As I meekly put away my tools, I was reminded of an angry reader, who recently made a similar faux pas.

We had just published a special section congratulating Surrey’s grads and she was furious that we omitted her granddaughter.

“What a horrendous mistake to make. I cried when I saw that,” she wrote in a scathing email. “In the midst of a pandemic and all the ugly that is happening right now to not print her name is very cruel.

“It is a terrible oversight on your part.”

Concerned about the omission, we looked into it and contacted the school district, who submitted the list for publication.

It turns out the grad’s name was published with her class after all – her grandmother just missed it.

“My apologies to you for my mistake,” she wrote in another email to us. “I read through the list twice and still missed it. I’m the one who needs better glasses.”

It seems we both learned a similar lesson – before lashing out and blaming others, take a deep breath and make sure the problem doesn’t lie with you.

But admitting that to your wife – well, that’s a different story.

“How did it go with the outlet?” my wife asked as she came down the stairs.

“All good,” I said, proudly pointing at my hard-earned victory.

“I figured it out.”

Some life lessons are best kept to yourself, right?

Beau Simpson is editor of the Surrey Now-Leader. beau.simpson@surreynowleader.com. For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

Surrey

Just Posted

'I swear that dog is being good,' says photo submitter Karen Jackson.
Vancouver Island looking for a few good caring canine companions

ElderDog’s goal to expand program of assisting older adults in the care and well-being of their dogs

Paige Karczynski is the new executive director of Nanaimo Community Hospice Society. (Photo submitted)
Providing hospice in a time of pandemic

Vancouver Island hospices forced to adapt during a time when grief counselling greatly needed

Kimberly Proctor, 18, was murdered in 2010. Her family has spent many of the years since pushing for a law in her honour, that they say would help to prevent similar tragedies. (Courtesy of Jo-Anne Landolt)
Proposed law honouring murdered B.C. teen at a standstill, lacks government support

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions has concerns with involuntary detainment portion of act

BC Coroners Service is currently investigating a death at Canoe Cove Marina and Boatyard in North Saanich. (Black Press Media File)
Drowning death in North Saanich likely B.C.’s first in for 2021

Investigation into suspected drowning Monday night continues

Bill Reekie and his then-four-year-old granddaughter Lily. Photo contributed
Alzheimer’s: beginning the Unplanned Journey

Watch for the signs and reach out for the help that is available

Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021 is International Lego Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 24 to 30

Lego Day, Talk Like a Grizzled Prospector Day and Puzzle Day are all coming up this week

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Economic Development and Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly responds to a question in the House of Commons Monday November 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal minister touts need for new B.C. economic development agency

Last December’s federal economic update promised a stimulus package of about $100 billion this year

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

A new well in Youbou is expected to meet the community’s drinking water needs for years, announced Klaus Kuhn, director for Youbou/Meade Creek. (File photo)
New well provides fresh water in Youbou

Well expected to meet community’s needs for years

Action at the Nanaimo Curling Centre. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo sports organizations qualify for COVID-19 relief funding

Province announces support for curling, rowing, gymastics, softball, rugby, squash, football clubs

Ty Wesley, Nicole Darlington and Cameron Macaulay (from left) performed in the Beholder Entertainment production <em>Gender Sucks!</em> in the 2020 Nanaimo Fringe Festival. (Video still courtesy Sam Wharram)
Nanaimo Fringe Festival artist lottery open to local and B.C. playwrights

Organizers hope to stage plays in-person at indoor and outdoor venues this summer

Angela Waldick is the new team photographer for the Nanaimo NightOwls. (Nanaimo NightOwls photo)
Half-blind photographer will help new Island baseball team look picture-perfect

Nanaimo NightOwls say legally blind team photographer is making history

The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Victoria says sale of the planned subdivision will increase the club’s ability to provide services and support. (Courtesy of Association for the Protection of Rural Metchosin)
Victoria Boys and Girls Club says youth would benefit from Metchosin land sale

Club says sale will guarantee supports and programs at time when demand high

Most Read