The amazing story of two 40-something women on the path to matrimonial bliss

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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Handy Dandy Household Tasks...

...Done by Two Women who Don't Exactly Like Projects!

If you want to see Teri and I are at our best, you should see us in the kitchen getting ready or cleaning up after a big party, or casually telling stories over coffee at a cafe, or even problem-solving around some big political or community issue.  If you want to see Teri and I at our worst, you would peek in on the two of us trying to hang a shelf or fix a broken dishwasher (both tasks we tackled yesterday)--we have skills, we just don't shine during the fix-it process.

Like any self-respecting lesbians, we have tools--power drills and levels and hammers and measuring tape.  We are not A-List Tool Toters in that we don't have air compressors or power washers or a buzz saw.  We have what we need to get by, as well as a decent little comprehensive household fix-it book, but what is missing is a love for the process of repair and improvement projects.  That is something we both just don't have!

We are cerebral problem-solvers--we want instructions, books, diagrams and (hallelujah for modern technology) how-to videos on YouTube.  If truth be told, what we'd really like is some sassy tool-savvy woman to come by and do the fix-it and shelf-hanging work for us, but we are too stoic and too working class to ever press for that.  Instead, we bumble and squabble our way through with a desire to do  the task both quickly and perfectly (and those two don't exactly go hand-in-hand when it comes to such things.)

We are getting better at not taking things personally, but it wouldn't be a fix-it project without one of us stating that she was going to go do something else and let the other complete the task since her input, ideas, suggestions and talents were not being utilized or appreciated.  Teri can walk away mid-project if things get too cranky or complicated but I just want to get it done and get it over and I have a tendency to push for completion no matter what.

There is something both psychological and familial in project tackling.  I think Teri and I each hear our Dad's voices when we are trying to change the breaks on a bicycle, build something or fix a broken appliance.  They could do it, and they obviously took time and effort to teach us how to do it as kids, so we should surely be able to do it too.  My dad had tools for everything in multiples and he was a diligent, measuring, creative, perfectionist when it came to projects.  He was prolific and he could fix, build, or craft anything.  I remember him drafting measurements and designing projects like barns and arbors on graph paper prior to starting anything major.  He was the King of the level and cautioned us against ever letting a stranger change our car oil or mess with an engine.  Needless to say, I know quite well how to change oil, replace a flat tire, and build a fence--I just don't have the same talent or experience the same sort of joy in the process.  Alas, that doesn't stop me from feeling some kind of pressure to do it well and stylishly when the occasion arises.

So, when Teri and I complete a task or fix a broken whatever, we have a battered sense of accomplishment.  We've done it, and we have managed to not terminate our relationship over it (probably because we actually understand where the other is coming from), but we need some recovery time.  And there are likely lingering doubts over how we could have done it better or should have done it quicker.  We have probably not been gentle with each other as we channeled our dads' voices and value judgements so it takes us a little while to bounce back from tool time.

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