The thing about Tanner’s intense school schedule is that division of labor in our house pretty much doesn’t exist. I really believe in men taking on equal responsibility for housework, especially in a home where the woman works, but our reality is that long hours for Tanner mean long hours for me. Tanner studies and I do everything else– all the childcare, cleaning, cooking, bill paying, & yard work. I’m the one who takes the cars in for safety inspections, waits in line at the dmv, calls insurance companies, budgets our money, cleans our cars (ok, I wash our cars like twice a year, but still) and rakes up the ridiculous number of leaves that fall from our lovely front yard oak tree. I’m pretty independent, but there are things that you just need another person for! Those things that for some reason or another you just have no idea how to do or how to handle and your other half does. Sometimes it’s just to ask “am I doing this right?” or, “what do you think?” or “who do we call for this?” Well, I’m learning quickly that the new order of things is that I just need to figure it out. More and more often, I can’t call Tanner, or if I do, he can’t really do anything to help me and it just distracts and stresses him out. I’m not telling you this to make you feel sorry for me, mostly I’m here to brag about all my new skills!
Like my gutter cleaning skills. You guys, I cleaned out our gutters myself. Ok, it sounds really simple when I say it, but I felt really badass cleaning out our gutters. I had to get the heavy ladder out, figure out how to extend it, figure out how to remove the covers and get a screwdriver to remove the elbow of the downspout thing that was clogged with leaves. I was sweaty and filthy and standing on a ladder holding a tool and I felt pretty good about it.
Behold: clean gutters
And last month when I had a flat tire, I was the one to get the tires replaced. I’d sound a lot more awesome if I could say I put on the spare myself, but I got halfway through trying to figure out how to do that when I realized I could call Geico and they’d do it for me for free.
I learned to mow the lawn. Is it amazing that I went 26 years without ever mowing a lawn? My dad did a lot of things right, but c’mon dad– parenting fail on your part.
One afternoon found me climbing the red bud tree in our backyard with a handsaw, sawing off dead branches.
I unclogged the bathroom sink drain.
I learned how to use the grill.
I overcame my severe technology challenges and hooked my new label printer up to our computer. Our computer wasn’t recognizing the software <insert technologically sounding jargon jibberish here> or something. To Tanner’s credit, he spent a couple hours on that one, and to my credit I figured it out after he gave up and let this one be written down in the Staples books as Dana’s victory of a lifetime.
And then there was the ladybug fiasco. Ooooh man this one really stressed me out. I went up to my office one day to work, and when I looked up, I realized there were hundreds of lady bugs crawling all around my window! Ok, maybe just dozens, but there were a ton. They were highly concentrated on and just around the window, but were branching out from there and getting all over the place. Tanner has jerry-rigged my window to make it so I could have a window AC unit. (My office is a little attic space above our garage and not actually part of the house.) The window opens out and not up and down like you need, so he got a clear plastic pane and screwed it to the frame all around, with the AC unit under it, like so.
There was a small gap on one edge from the wind blowing it in one day, and that’s where the lady bugs were flocking in. Google quickly told me that on warm autumn days they like to find a sunny side of the house and will get in if they can and will overrun your house all winter! I couldn’t shut the actual window until I removed the plastic pane, but I couldn’t get the screws out and none of the screwdrivers I could find were working. Meanwhile ladybugs were crawling across my hands and falling in my hair and totally grossing me out while Camryn was shrieking in delight telling me on repeat to ‘look how many ladybugs!!” Tanner wouldn’t answer his phone, so I found and taught myself how to use our electric drill, figured out what a drill bit is and how to change one, found the right one, got all the screws out, and finally shut the dang window. Then had camryn help me catch dozens of them and take them out to our garden.
My dad says he’s proud of how resourceful I’m becoming and says it reminds him of his mom. He said my grandpa went to work and brought home a paycheck, but wasn’t a handyman at all, and grandma was the one fixing everything–she even added a room onto their house once by herself! Go grandma. That sounds just like us except for the part where Tanner brings home a paycheck 😉 #medschool I love you Tanner! And I’m super super grateful that you saved us $100 by halfway fixing our dishwasher! And fixed the tub!
I hope those are the last of my “do it myself” stories, but something tells me I won’t be that lucky. There are still some things on Tanner’s “honey do” list that baffle me . . . like what is the difference between a modem and a cable box? What witchery and magic are behind framing and hanging pictures on the wall? How do I screw our bookcase to the wall so it doesn’t fall on our babies one day? How did anyone know how to fix anything before YouTube?