Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Born In the USA [At the Right Time]

So, I'm a little lippy.  Sometimes.  Usually not at the inappropriate times, but still.  I have been pretty reflective lately about how thankful I am for being where and WHEN I'm at.  This great country of ours affords me the opportunity to be a little mouthy, yet have my message heard and not muffled through my burka.  Not that anyone's listening.  But still.

I feel fortunate to have been born into a generation that gives me what I sure couldn't do without: epidurals, air conditioning, automatic appliances, and disposable diapers.

One of those things is being a real stinker lately and it's not the diapers.  For now.

Last week, when Hubs was doing his laundry (oh, there's another reason I'm happy to live now and not the 50's), he noted, "The washer is leaking."

Interestingly, this did not deter him from completing subsequent loads of his laundry.

I'm used to him making random, generalized statements like this.  The most common is simple: "The toilet's broken."

Nothing more specific than that.  I envision, when someone indicates "toilet's broken" that there are, in fact, two perfect halves of a porcelain throne lying sideways on a bathroom floor.  This is almost never, and certainly in our house has never been the case.  Most often the chain between the flush handle and the flap has become disconnected.  On occasion it will be something other than this, and to be honest I know far too much about it from my far too many encounters repairing toilets.  More than a normal woman my age should, if a psychotherapist were to weigh in on the issue.  On one of my more recent trips to Home Depot for more parts, I was approached in the "toilet repair" aisle by one of their helpful clerks in their smart-looking orange aprons.

"Can I help you find something, ma'am?"

Clayton immediately interjected before I could get a response out.

"Nope.  My mom's fixin' Grandpa's towit.  She's a expert."

Awkward silence, clerk waiting for my response.

"Yeah, he's right.  I kinda already know what you guys have.  This is my 3rd toilet this week.  I'm good.  Thanks anyway."

And off I went to crouch in front of and beside of and around that chilly bowl again, all the while thinking how normal people only hang out around their toilets this way while their best friend is holding their hair back and consoling them about the boyfriend fight they shouldn't have had.

Accurate depiction of me doing plumbing repairs.
Kidding.  I look ridiculous with brown hair.
And I show more crack.
(credit: artisticfootprints/

So now, the washer - the clearly out-of-commission essential laundry appliance gets the screwdriver put to it.  It took me a little while to find the problem, which I initially assumed to be a hose.  It was not.  It was a leaky gasket seal between the inside and outside baskets.  A quick Google search directed me to what I needed (oh, I guess there's ANOTHER reason why the 50's woulda Google!!) and I had how-to repair videos at my fingertips.  One thing was curiously missing from all these instructional mini-movies: WOMEN.  I just find that...interesting.

Anyhoo.  I ordered the part.  It's not here yet.  Our bunghole town isn't home to an appliance parts store, so I'm at the mercy of the FedEx guy, who is scheduled to be at my house tomorrow, according to the tracking status.  Fingers crossed.

Almost out of the woods with the washer and the dishwasher suddenly won't latch tonight.  Nice.  Typical.  It's been an ass for a week, the handle sticking and not powering up when it should.  Tonight, the handle totally broke.  I know this because the dishwasher got the same screwdriver put to it that the washer did.  I removed the faulty handle, then remembered to turn the power off only after I got shocked (I tend to get into an impatient hurry).  Another quick internet search for the replacement and there it was, along with a statistical 97% of other customers reporting this same problem with this same manufacturer as me.

Now this new part is on its way, and I'm trying to stay positive about the fact I'm gonna have to go hand wash that pile of dishes like it IS 1950.  I'm thankful, however, that I am able to handle these repairs myself, and that I don't have to rely on a service guy to do it for me.  I don't tend to have great experience when I DO end up at the mercy of an expert, because they usually give me the "girl" treatment, overcharging and acting like I couldn't possibly understand how my thingamajig is broken, but that they're my knight in shining armor who's gonna save me.


If any of my lady friends out there need encouragement to dive into a project fearlessly, I'm your biggest cheerleader.  I might even be able to give you a tip or two, since I unfortunately know more about fixing things than I should.  I shouldn't just keep that to myself.

*DISCLAIMER* Hubs may not be mechanically inclined, but he makes up for it with other talents.  The best and most successful couples are those that complement each other, not that are identical to one another.  He can clean a mean toilet....right after I'm done fixing it.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Home Is Where The Heart Is

There is just about nothing I hate more than moving.  When unpleasant tasks present themselves I often say, "I'd rather get a pap smear and a root canal at the same time than do this".

Some people think that's a lie, but it's true.  I'd prefer my dentist keep his hands to my mouth area (or at least do that part FIRST), but other than that I'm up for the slippery salad spoons over lots of other bothersome things in my life.

Actual convo with my OB/GYN:

"You're not due for a pap until November, but we could get it out of the way now.  Or you can wait.  It's up to you."

"Why would I wait?  Just do it.  I already took my pants off."

"Wow, most people will do ANYTHING to get out of or postpone a pap."

"I'm not most people."

Don't get me wrong, it's not like I'm chomping at the bit to get in those stirrups.  It's just that it seems I get handed the biggest piles of manure to deal with on a daily basis that laying back with my feet up seems a nice alternative.

Like moving.  Did I mention I hate moving?  It's not the change part that I have a problem with.  It's just the actual handling/sorting/finding a home for all the SHIT that you pack around and around and around with you.  It's wrestling with decisions about holding onto something out of sentiment or guilt and deciding the ratio of possible future use to storage cost (which is both financial AND emotional).  Extra stuff means extra room, and the direction we're moving there's NO space to spare.

We're cramming our family back into our too-tiny house, and it's going to get smaller by the end of the year as our family gets bigger.  It's a home that we have loved, put actual blood, sweat, and tears into, that we brought our babies home to, that we first fell in love and got to know one another in.  The house that grew us.

My kids LOVE this house.  They love that their room is so close to mine.  They love that I bought them bean bags to watch TV in their room.  They love the shop.  They have been enthusiastic about this move since we announced it to them.  They haven't yet had the pleasure of weeding out their CRAP (luckily we do that behind their backs) in order to address the absence of a playroom.  They inject just the right amount of sunshine attitude into the situation that all it takes is observing them in all their joy to make me push through sifting through another bag of clothes that our closets won't hold and deciding which of the small appliances deserve a spot inside the kitchen and which will make their homes on a shelf in the garage.

We're not staying here forever, though.  Soon we will begin our quest to seek out our (hopefully) forever home.  The one the kids will all grow up at and leave (sniff) one day.  The one our grandkids will visit.  The one that has room for all of us AND all of our stuff.  But even as the prospect of that day shimmers in the distance, so too does the prospect loom for the ACTUAL MOVE...which I do NOT look forward to.  With any luck, we will have sufficiently pared down and weeded out during this go-round that we won't have difficulty with the next transition, and we won't lose any friends or family members over having to help us.  I appreciate all the ones who did help, and those who offered their help too.  It makes a move one step further away from "I'd rather get a pap smear" when you're surrounded by supportive people, and that's huge for me.