All that and the Kitchen Sink

You wouldn’t think that going outside your comfort zone would make you feel more confident, but it is an excellent way to build confidence. Taking a step into the unknown can be scary and intimidating, but the journey is worth it if the destination is learning a new skill. Learning new skills instills in you a feeling that you can do things you have never done before–a feeling that if something came into your life where you HAD to learn something new (you know, so you can survive the zombie apocalypse) you will be able to do it. Read about the latest skill I acquired or skip to the end and check out the Lessons I Learned that apply to any new skill.


Although we remodeled our home before we moved in, I had not replaced the kitchen sink. Everything around the sink was new: the faucets, the countertops, the cabinets, the floor. This lonely old plain stainless steel sink felt inferior to its surroundings.

Five years after remodeling, my chosen faucet was in failure. The sprayer had been limping along for years–to tell you the truth, it had never had oomph. The final straw was when the main spout stopped turning at its designated pivot point and began to compensate by turning where it wasn’t supposed to turn. I had toyed with the idea of getting a new sink for a few years, but had decided it was a bit unnecessary since my sink did work. Having the faucet go kaput sparked the idea anew.

Costco sealed the deal when they had a faucet/sink duo for an amazing price.

I didn’t buy it right away, still feeling hesitant. Would I be able to install this myself? Our plumber installed the original one in the kitchen (which seems so silly to say since we did practically everything else on our house ourselves). It would be a deal changer if I had the cost of the sink and the plumbing installation. I did not buy the sink, but I did call my dad, who has replaced many sinks in his day, and asked him if installing the sink on my own was within the range of something I could do. He gave me a vote of confidence that I could tackle it.

I went home and Googled “installing a kitchen sink.”  The Home Depot video made it look easy, so the next day I procured that sink before they sold out, stopping by Lowe’s on the way home to get my plumber’s putty and clear silicone. I was determined to have this done before my hubby got home, since I was quite sure replacing the sink wasn’t high on his priority list.

The UN-stallation

Step 1: Turn off power to disposal (I unplugged it)

Step 2: Unhook dishwasher hose from disposal (pretty easy–just pull really hard)

Step 3: Unhook water pipes from disposal (did I forget to mention that the pipes stink?) (gray water is gross)

Step 4: Unhook disposal from sink

Ugggghhhh!  (this is the sound of me straining to get it off)


I tried and tried, but it wouldn’t budge. I Googled “how to unhook a disposal.”  I got two screw drivers and did it just like the video.


I could see clearly what I needed to do to unhook that disposal, but just couldn’t do it. I lacked the physical hand strength.

A few minutes later…

“Hey Dad, what are you doing? Do you think you can come over for just a minute and unhook my disposal?”

So this was the train of thought in my head:  “I hate to bother him on a Saturday. I will only use him for a minute, but if he comes over maybe he will help me install the whole thing. What if I run into other things I can’t do? Maybe I should ask him to install it for me. No, I can do this! I just need a little muscle and the rest I can handle.” (Yes, the thoughts in my head are often choppy sentences.)

While I waited for him to arrive, I took the new sink out of the box and attached the faucet. Using my plumber’s putty, I made a worm (thanks, mad play-dough skills!), then put it in a circle under the sink basket and put it into place in the sink bottom.


Dad arrived and unhooked the disposal. He then promptly said, “Okay, call me if you get stuck with anything else.” He exited quickly. I became determined to do the rest myself.

Step 4.1: Call Dad to unhook disposal

Step 5: Unhook water pipes from sink basins

Step 6: Unhook waterlines from faucets

Step 7: Remove sink clips fastened to the underside of the counter top

Step 8: Take out the sink

Hey! This isn’t too bad–I’ve got this.

I prepped the new sink with a rim of plumber’s putty worms all around the edge. I slid the new sink into place.

Now, to reverse the process.

The Installation

Step 1: Fasten sink clips to the underside of the counter top

What the heck?  How do these clippy things work?

Step 1.1: Google “How to install sink clips”

This by far was the most frustrating step. Because my new sink tub was wider than my previous one, there was a lot less room to work with around the edges of the sink. I fought to get 14 clips all around my sink. Gravity was often my nemesis as the clips kept falling on my forehead. I finally decided 14 clips was overkill, even if the YouTube videos suggested it.

Step 2: Hook up waterlines to faucet

Step 3: Hook up disposal to sink.

Oh my heavy business! I had to try to hold up the disposal in place while fastening the tricky fastener and the disposal was HEAVY! (We have a 1.1 hp motor, and I didn’t know to be impressed by this until watching previously mentioned YouTube video.) My son, Rider, tried to hold it in place while I figured out the fasteners, but to no avail. I was determined not to call my dad again, so we got a bucket and a thick book to set the disposal on. Everything was just about right and Rider lifted it the rest of the way as I turned the fastener into place.

“AHHHHHHHHHH!”  (That’s the sound of angels singing!)

Step 4: Hook up dishwasher hose to disposal

Step 5: Hook pipes up to disposal

Step 6: Hook pipes up to sinks

Um…hmmmm…ughh. Yeah, these don’t line up.

Apparently, the basins drained out of different positions than the original sink. I was just an inch off in both directions. The pipes had some wiggle room but not enough.

After pondering on it for a few minutes, I decided if I cut the pipes in 2 places I could suck back enough space in both directions to be just right for the drain.

Step 7: Cut off pipes with hack saw

Step 8: Hook pipes up to sink

Step 9: Caulk sink with clear silicon around the counter top

Voila! It was finished!


I love it.

I did it, I did it! I shout to the crowd. Putting the sink in by myself makes me feel so proud!

(Okay–you all have to buy the book “The Way I Feel” and have me sing to you the section on PROUD.)

I LOVE THIS SINK! The sink basin is deeper and bigger than my last one. The faucet only has 2 posts to clean around instead of 5. The soap dispenser is easier to fill. The sprayer has power, and I can actually reach each corner of each sink with the water! It is so shiny.

And the best part is I did it (almost) by myself. Hubby walked in an hour later and was appropriately impressed. I was feeling great. I feel like I could come to your house and replace your sink today.

So here are the lessons I learned.

  1. My husband calls directions “another man’s opinion.” CONSULT OTHERS’ OPINIONS! We don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Ask someone who has done this before, and if you can’t find someone local, you can Google everything nowadays and find a step-by-step blog or video to do almost anything.
  2. When you dive in and find yourself a little stuck, don’t worry about asking for help.
  3. Don’t insist you do it all yourself. The goal is to learn a new skill, not to “prove” something. But don’t give it away for someone else to do, either.
  4. Don’t give up during the hard parts.
  5. The way you do it will look different from the way others do it based on things that are unique to you, and that is okay.
  6. Sit back and bask in what you have done.
  7. The last step is to pass it on. Share your excitement! Share your new skill! The best way to concrete a new skill is by teaching it to someone else.

Ask yourself….

What is it you want to learn?

Where would you go to find an “expert”?

What keeps you from beginning today?

Learning something new makes it fun to be me! Is it fun to be you?