Maybe a bit of an overstatement.
This pink mouse.
There’s some revelation there.
I’m a DIYer to my own peril. If there’s a YouTube instructional video out there on a repair, upgrade, or reprogram, I’m going to give it a whirl. I’ve changed out the pump in my dishwasher. I’ve installed a new heating element in my dryer. I’ve fixed items on my crazy 15 passenger van. I’ve changed the CSS on my blog. And I’ve often done it with duck tape and popsicle sticks, so to speak, repurposing whatever hardware flotsam and jetsam is around the house.
And then there are the things that somehow fly under my radar.
For years, we had a broken handle on the front loading washing machine. We used a butter knife kept on the window sill of the laundry room to pop open the washing machine door at the end of every cycle. We’ve got a window on the fifteen passenger van that has the classy pin-striping of black duct tape holding it semi-permanently shut because the time is would take to leave it in the shop to be repaired seems more inconvenient than reapplying duct tape to the window after a rain storm. There are door knobs around the house that require the nimble dexterity of professional safe cracker in order to use. In any given room or vehicle or appliance around the Carr Manse, there is any given level of inconvenience for usage.
We’ve all just learned to live with it. I’ve just learned to live with it. And eventually the inconvenience fades away and it just is.
I spend a tremendous amount of time at the computer, as a writer, audiobook narrator, and as a women’s pastor. Blog posts and book chapters and emails and manuscripts and graphics fly from my computer keyboard and track pad. Documents float around my hard drive, a labyrinth of illogical placement and file names that only I have the mental treasure map for. And the track pad I use to navigate all this chaos has a limp. Literally. At some point in all my laptop commuting from home office to church office to recording studio to coffee shop, one of the pads on the bottom of the track pad uninstalled itself, falling like confetti to the crunchy floor of my van. So when I’m working on my computer, scrolling and trolling, my track pad rocks to one side. My fingers adjust. The track pad rocks to another side. I pick it up and place it down hard again to the desk. Rock, readjust, limp, pick up, put down. It’s become an unconscious computer choreography for me.
Until one day.
I was having major issues with my laptop and printer communicating with each other, ignoring each other’s requests. I DIYed to the best of my YouTube tutorial ability, hours sown into creating static IP addresses and scouring message boards. The day finally came when I had to admit to myself that the proverbial wall had been hit.
It was time to call in the expert.
We have a great person who provides IT help for our church and she volunteered to come over and give some couples counseling to my laptop and printer. She arrived, set to work, pounded a few magic commands into my keyboard, and then reached for my track pad.
She tried to work with my wonky track pad. Questioned how I could compose with such a thing. Took a look at the missing knob on the bottom. Gave me a grin of grace.
She was ultimately able to resolve my computer/printer debacle.
But she was back the next morning with a gift.
Computer, that it.
In a bold pink.
With a wireless adaptor.
I thanked her profusely, more touched by the thought than the tech.
I plugged that pink mouse in.
And began to compute anew.
What was this amazingness?
I could jet around my computer screen with ease, like an ice skater on fresh ice. I would click and screens would appear, no rock, readjust, pick up, put down necessary. I could scroll with a simple flick of my index finger. I exulted, I clicked, I scrolled, I danced across the web.
And the lesson dawned.
Yes, it’s a great thing to be frugal. Yes, it’s a good thing to make repairs where I can. Yes, it’s a fine thing to not get too soft, to not tend so far to the side of precious that I become too sensitive to every bump, inconvenience, and blip.
Where are the areas in my life, in my parenting, in my home, in my marriage, that a simple change, a simple upgrade, could yield an ease and an energy boost that would give a bit more grace to what is really important? What if I valued my time and my energy enough that I would be willing to invest in a few more pink mouses or mice across the landscape of my responsibilities and priorities? And what am I trying to claim as noble and frugal that is simply silly and tiring?
So, it’s the Pink Mouse Principle.
I’m actively looking for where to apply it.
And it’s okay to start small.
Like, a handle for the washing machine.
But I’m looking broadly, too. Because in the big scheme, our time and attention is precious. Too precious for cantankerous track pads that make our lives’ navigations bumpy and energy- sapping. I want to evaluate where I can make a simple change that will give me more focus, more heart to parent well. Maybe it’s outsourcing a task that chips too deeply into time with my kids. Maybe it’s a small change in schedule that makes a big difference.
Whatever it is.
And I’m going to replace what I find with a pink mouse.