“Kell, you need a man.”
Me: “Really? I think I am doing great on my own.”
Well, not great, actually. OK is probably a better self-assessment.
So, what made a well-meaning individual give me this particular advice recently? My house. It is falling apart. Actually, that is another exaggeration (especially if my soon-to-be-ex is reading right now about our joint asset) because it isn’t literally falling apart. I am being a bit dramatic because it feels like it is falling apart.
In the last few weeks I have felt so overwhelmed with house issues. I freeze up with home-improvement-performance anxiety. I am convinced I am going to create more of a problem and the thought of one more project on the list is overwhelming to me. What pushes me to actually work on these projects is a crisis or frustration over an inconvenience.
Here’s a rundown of the repairs I have made recently:
Automatic garage door opener not working: It broke last year in late fall. Since I don’t park in the garage and the kids wouldn’t be pulling bikes out regularly, this was added to the end of the repair list. Of course this spring we became tired of using the key to open the adjacent bay to get in and out for our bikes and sporting equipment. It was time to re-prioritize this project. I considered calling a garage door repair company because a friend told me there wasn’t a big battery (like I thought) in the motor-thing mounted on the ceiling in the garage. [NOTE: In case you are wondering, it actually uses electricity.] After being frustrated for weeks, I had an epiphany. It had to be the keypad! Yes, it was. There is actually a battery housed in the keypad and it simply needed replacing.
Thermostat battery died: I immediately knew what the problem was when it stopped working because for a month the thermostat had flashed “LO BATT” as a constant reminder for me to fix this before it was too late. Of course I waited until it was too late. The battery finally died when there was a freakish DC heat wave in April and I had no way of turning the A/C on in the house. An unsuspecting neighbor was lured in to fix it because we could not survive a second day of heat. I had tried repeatedly to rip the plastic cover off the thermostat to replace the battery with no luck. In one attempt the neighbor had the cover off and battery replaced.
Range light in the bottom of the microwave: Technically this should not be on the list of repairs because it is still not fixed. However, I am counting it because I am very close to solving the problem. When I had an appliance repairman here to work on another issue, I asked him to fix what I believed must have been a short in a wire. I explained to him that I put a new bulb in, but it wasn’t working. In two seconds he popped the cover off and showed me There was no lightbulb installed. I did stop by Lowes recently and asked for a microwave lightbulb. I was shown many different bulbs and told that I really couldn’t shop for a bulb without the make and model of the microwave. So, that project was bumped to the bottom of my “to do” list. Way too complicated.
I am saving the story of surviving a broken dishwasher for four months (READ: hand-washed dishes for 4 months!) for another post. That story deserves to stand alone.
Now that I have completed 2 1/2 projects on my very long Home Repair To Do list, I have three that must be done soon.
- Install Elfa that I purchased two months ago. (I simply have to work up the nerve to drill two screws in the wall, but I am not completely confident yet.)
- Open hose bibs.(Must be done before my son’s birthday party so I can fill up thousands of water balloons.)
- Replace filter in whole-house water-filtration system. (This requires shutting off water to part of the house.)
Home ownership is temporarily getting the best of me, but I will win this battle. I will google for answers, call in my girlfriends not afraid of power tools, hire a few specialists, and get the house in shape again. I am really proud of myself when I do successfully complete a project (like snaking drains, fixing toilets, repairing the garbage disposal) and know I have that great sense of accomplishment coming when I begin to work through the list.