I grew up tending to be independent. As a teen, I could spend hours in my room after school drawing, playing guitar, and, of course, writing. But one thing that I also made sure to learn was how to get things done around the house.
I thank my dad for being particularly handy with tools (and I believe this comes from my grandfather). I used to watch him for hours, not only while he did the odd job around the house, but he showed me how to use routers and saws and drills. Mind you, being a kid, I did not actually USE them, so much of those skills have fled to the darkest recesses of my memory. But I also watched him format computers, and fool around with them until he solved a problem, no matter how long it took. One thing I love about him is his persistence and unwillingness to ask for help.
You’re wondering where this is going? My husband works a lot, and being a stay at home mother, I feel like I am somewhat dependent on him for income. I don’t like feeling like this. Being an author by no means comes with a giant pay cheque every month, so while I’m working on that career, I’m trying to find other ways to feel independent.
Because independence makes you feel good about yourself. You can take care of things right away, not in a week or a month when someone else has the time. If I have a problem with my computer, I fix it myself. I’ll go looking on forums to find the error, and if I can’t figure it out, THEN, I go to my dad. And if all hope is lost, HE’LL go to someone else.
Lately, my hubby’s been working a lot, and me being the impatient person I am, I want things done NOW, so I have decided to start doing them myself. Unless it’s physically impossible.
Last week, we bought a clothes line with pulleys and all that jazz. Put it up myself. Climbed the tree to screw in the hook. Only reason Greg had to help was because I’m a foot shorter than him, and he also came with a drill bit since the plum tree is such hard wood. Otherwise, I did it myself. I was proud of that.
Today has been something for the books. There have been things that you learn you need when you have a child, and lifestyles change. Well, yesterday we stocked up on some things that should hopefully make our lives easier.
First thing I had to do was go around and replace all the shitty cupboard locks we’d bought 6 months ago with good ones. Now, ALL the cupboards have locks, and Zoe can’t lock the kitten in the cabinets anymore.
Then I had to throw out the old floor mats by the main doorways because they reeked to high Heaven. We live in the country, Greg has chickens and pheasants, which means he tends to track crap in with him. Anyway, out they go. But we had used HIPPO tape to keep the mats down, so I scrubbed that for a while. Got it all off, put the new mats on, voila.
My daughter’s mini blinds in her room were broken and kept falling down, so we bought a roller shade (because she rarely sleeps when it’s light out). Put that and the brackets up, and now her room is nice and dark. Hence my being able to sit and write a blog post. 🙂
Then I had to clean the bathtub (not good for my tendonitis) because I was setting up this tall shower caddy thing to keep all our stuff on. Zoe breaks into the bathroom and throws everything on the side into the tub, so our solution was to put it up high. Well, the shower caddy was great but for one thing. Either it was too tall, or too short. So I had to try to cut one of the aluminum poles (or tin or some thin metal). I tried with scissors and was surprised when it did cut, but it wasn’t working as well as I liked. So I went to the shop, got metal/wire cutters and a file. Cut about 4 inches off the pipe, filed down the metal jagged pieces, and tried it. The fixture was then the perfect size.
Next, I had to install more cupboard locks in our bathroom. I can’t tell you how many times this kid has thrown q-tips into the bathtub, and countless other things in the drawers. But, this is an oak vanity cabinet, not just some flimsy pressboard crap like in our kitchen.
I learned very quickly, there was NO WAY I was going to use a screwdriver and screw to make holes. I stabbed my thumb so hard with the screwdriver that I have a giant bleeding wound. But onwards I trekked. Got the drill. Drilled holes. Screwed the things on. Took a bit of time but I got them all done.
You notice that up above I say how impatient I am. But when I am determined to solve a problem, I can be as patient as required.
And after doing all this stuff around the house (might seem minor to the handyman or craftsman) I feel quite proud of myself. I have an injury to prove how hard I was working 🙂 and hopefully less stress.
I don’t care who you are, learn to do something for yourself that you never have before. Knowing that you CAN do it feels so good. Just like this winter, Greg and I installed laminate flooring, but also resurfaced our staircase–took out carpet and replaced it with oak treads, trim, the whole shebang. We had no idea what we were doing, but just did it, and it came out looking beautiful.
Moral of the story is, don’t underestimate yourself, and don’t be afraid to try something new. Don’t forget, like Thomas Edison said, “I failed my way to success.” You can’t fail if you don’t try, but you can’t succeed, either.