Saturday, September 1, 2012

Gaining Confidence

I don't know how I missed out on confidence in doing simple household tasks. Oh, I'm not talking about baking bread or frosting a cake. Those things I love to do! (You do not need a bread maker, by the way, to make bread.) I am not even talking about things like scrubbing grout or wiping off walls. I suspect I'm not a very good housekeeper, but I can do it. It is just a question of forcing myself to get it done.

No, I am talking about things like hanging pictures, washing the outside of double hung windows that flip into the house, using a cordless drills, gardening, and even painting. Somehow I missed out on the training that prepares one for those tasks. My sister somehow was trained, as I learned when she visited me in Wisconsin, several years ago. She and my mom are the masters of home improvement around 175 Water Street. My dad has many admirable skills, but the desire to complete home repairs is not one of them. So anyways, Joanna and mom are the experts, a bond that was forged after I left for college, I think.

My liberal arts education did not offer a course in basic home skills, a course obviously lacking if you are seeking your MRS degree. Or perhaps, the MRS degree provides a husband, who, in theory, would be capable of doing some of these things. And living in on-campus housing wasn't exactly a place to hone these skills as an independent young adult, either. There is a reason I know how to bake bread but not use a cordless drill! I think the fine for a hole in the wall was instant death by RA, who just happened to be my roommate.

So somehow, I graduated from college and got married without learning these skills. And then marrying Dan just let me piggyback on his skills. Mr. Handy, he just knew how to do those things, even the chores that he despises. In our first apartment in Belfast, he hung the pictures on the walls and led the painting of our room a horrible color called asparagus. (The choice of the paint was the fault of both of us. It was an atrocious color!) He amazes me anew every so often with his competence with power tools. I have tons of respect for his capabilities in this area! He worked in a nursery in high school, so he has way more knowledge of gardening than I, and it probably goes without saying that he can use a cordless drill. (He can even do caulking and plumbing and basic electrical wiring! The list could go on and on.)

Since our first apartment, we've moved a couple of times, but each time I've managed to get someone else to do the moving-in items that I haven't been confident to attempt on my own. But with this move, we are home owners. I don't have to stress about a landlord yelling at me for messing something up. I'm also home all day long, which Dan is not. Surprisingly, he doesn't always feel like helping me nest after a full day of work. Weird, right?

So, I'm preparing myself for the challenge. Part of me is yelling "GIRL POWER," but that's really kind of lame. Women everywhere have had to hang up their own pictures on the walls and figure out how to flip the windows inside to wash them (way easier than dragging a ladder outside to wash them if you don't have the flip kind of windows). These are just life skills, at least for someone who cares about their living environment. Sometimes I choose to believe that some people are just handy -- Dan, his sister Kristy, who will tackle anything (dryer broken? I can fix that!), my sister. And sometimes I get overwhelmed by the scads of information available on the internet. (Just look up washing windows if you want to read a million opinions on how to get it done.)

But today, I refused to sit around sulking while Dan enjoyed a well-deserved morning of mountain biking. I grabbed the hammer and the picture hanging kit, the measuring tape and the five frames I wanted to hang in the nursery, laid them out, and jumped in. You know what? Five frames are hanging neatly above the glider. Only one picture had to be readjusted. And I am one step closer to being more competent around the house.

Here's to trying something you aren't confident in! It just might turn out better than you think.


Joanna said...

you are so funny, hil! i don't know if i would call myself handy, though. i want to see some pictures of the baby's room soon! oh, and p.s. i had a dream that you named the baby "lance" last night, and in my dream i made fun of you. so i hope that you weren't planning on naming the baby lance, haha.

Anonymous said...

I believe you spackled all the nail holes in my basement as well as taping the joints, including corners!, and that my dear is awesomely handy! Love you!