The squeaky wheel gets the oil. Or does it?

We’ve all long heard the saying that the squeaky wheel gets the oil, meaning that the loudest (or most annoying) problems are the most likely to get attention and be handled. I’m sure we can all think of hundreds of examples where this is true. Just think about the last time you waiting in line at the customer service line at a retailer and (inadvertently) overheard the people ahead of you. Or remember that time you were having a lovely meal and the man at the next table demanded to see the chef? Yup. Squeaky wheel.

I am here today with another theory. Don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting the Squeaky Wheel Theory (SWT) is not proven time and time again. It is. It is reality. My theory is ancillary and co-exists just fine.

The Squeaky Wheel Becomes Part of the Background Noise (SWBPBN).

So you know how you go to visit someone who lives right by the train tracks? The train goes by and you think, “who could live here?” and come to realize your friend truly does not hear the train. Or, you’re on the phone with your sister-in-law and her children are making a racket to beat all rackets in the background and she keeps talking as if nothing is going on and she’s totally not distracted. But you can’t hear anything except, “I had it first!”

We all have our own realities and everything cannot be a priority. We have to push some of it down. Ignore it. Learn to live with it. Just deal.

And so it goes.

We don’t know we’re suffering, but we are. It’s still there, but we don’t notice really. Until we do.

And then, it’s unbearable.

Our hall closet shelving and rod collapsed a month or so ago. It had that wire rack kind of set-up. No one should have been surprised about the crash, as we had about 5 times more weight hanging than any reasonable person would suggest. There ARE five of us and Andrew does have motorcycle riding gear (heavy!) and I have all sorts of other excuses why this was not a priority. But it wasn’t. And it collapsed.

I sprang into action. Everyone had to get their own coats and put them in their own closets. Then, we’d fix the hall closet.

And then, Reed’s closet shelving/rod collapsed due to the extra weight from his coats. (Can you say, “What were you thinking, Wendy?”)

While trying to help Reed solve this newly created problem, it became apparent that his closet was just not working. It’s small and a weird shape with lots of wasted space. So we decided to make some changes and get some shelving and make it better. We got a recommendation from Angie’s List for ClosetAmerica and they came out to see it. The designer had a great concept, the price was fair (nice Angie’s List coupon!!) and service was perfect. All set now. Except…

The closet doors are so difficult to slide. They’re HEAVY and make noise. They’ve been like that since the day we moved in. We’d have to shave off a little from the bottom or get new doors. Right?

Or I could try a little WD-40.

Which I did. And which solved the problem completely. The doors glide effortlessly.

And then, I took my trusty WD-40 to the hall closet (which is now fixed) but that also has heavy, impossible sliding doors. Except all it needed was some spray. Repeat for the closet in the mud room where we keep school backpacks, wrapping paper, and cat supplies. Opens and closes like the breeze. And no more squeaking.

We put up with those squeaky doors that were impossible to open without a heave-ho for 3 years.

3 years.

It took less than 5 minutes total to solve the problem. And with a product I already had sitting in the garage.

Not to get all deep on you this Saturday morning, but I’m thinking that there are a lot of little things that could make our lives better if we’d just take a minute and pay them some mind. All that background noise – whether we can tolerate it or not – adds up and takes away from the good stuff.


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