Before I got married, I was pretty handy. For a girl. I lived alone; I built my own shelves, I changed my own headlights, I wasn’t afraid of power tools. After I started living with Ben, those skills atrophied - he was just so much better at that stuff than I was. We specialized; he did the tinkering and the building, I did the cooking and the cleaning.
I’ve been on my own for a couple years now and I’ve been dusting off my manly skills and even learning new ones. I’ve fixed a clogged sink (by dismantling the plumbing underneath and removing the clog, thank you very much). I’ve refinished the hardwood floor in the kitchen (with a palm sander, omigod, took forever). I’ve done some roofing (building out Mae’s sleeping porch in the rental house). I’ve attempted to trim trees (alas, not enough upper body strength to get that saw moving). I’ve analyzed the drainage and erosion issues on my property and solved for them. I've overseen the replacement of a sewer lateral (a sewer what?). I’ve pondered the leaky roof (Roofer: What kind of roof do you have? Me: Um…flat?) I’ve tried to fix my gas oven by dismantling the thermostat. Turns out if you pull out the thermostat on a commercial Wolf range, the gas shoots straight into your inquiring face (panicked replacement of thermostat, ensuing headache). Every time there’s a big scary spider or, say, a giant scorpion, it’s me that vanquishes it. I’ve awoken with a rat in my hair - IN MY HAIR - then subsequently set a trap (with Snickers - that’s the key, Snickers), listened the next night from Mihiretu’s bed as the trap sprung in my bedroom above, then heard the dragging of said trap by said rat. Walked up the spiral staircase at six the next morning like the maid in Lizzie Borden’s house, terrified of the bloody mess I was stepping into. Empty trap, a trail of rat blood and, bingo, in the kitchen a still-breathing but unmoving (giant) rat. Instructed by Lana, I picked the rat up with the kitchen tongs and tossed him over the deck, hoping the three-story drop would make a quick end to his misery. Moral: Don’t mess with my hair.
And before tackling all that, I found a house (this wasn’t solely Ben’s arena but he definitely played his part), figured out the finances and got a loan (that was all Ben), remodeled the house (again, we did this part of our lives 50/50 but I had never done it alone) and moved twice in the course of a year (lots of lifting, so much lifting).
I’ve carried kids from car to bed, from bed to car (almost always Ben’s job), I’ve taken the kids on vacation alone (again, so much carrying).
A couple days ago I realized that my tires were bald. Like Kojak bald. I got online, I ordered new tires (what kind of car do I have, that’s where the research started). But in the last couple days as I’ve taken my daily walks, I’ve gazed enviously at the tread on everyone’s - EVERYONE’S - tires. 1985 Honda Civic? Great tread. Me, in my two-year-old mini-minivan that I use to transport three precious children? No tread whatsoever. It’s not so much the solving of the problem that was the issue, it was knowing there was a problem at all.
I’m learning, I’m growing, I’m enlarging my collection of power tools. But, wow, there’s a lot I don’t know. Man up, girl, man up.