Wednesday, September 24, 2008

a girl's best friend


My ah-hah moments during this whole divorce process have come at odd times. I never got feelings of independence from the "usual" places. I've always pretty much run the house and dealt with most of the kid stuff. I know which plumber to call when the basement backs up and the due dates of all the monthly bills. None of these things are real stretches in terms of preparing me for the single life. They're already part of my schtick.


No, my feelings of euphoria have come from more offbeat places.


Take the lawn. This may be really hard to believe, but until recently I'd never mowed a lawn in my life. In LA we rented and had landlord provided gardeners. When we moved here and bought our first house, the FX took over the job. There was plenty of griping about the mowing even before we got this house, which is on half an acre. It got really ugly then. From my perception, it was a job that took the better part of a day and always ended up with a bad mood. It was not something I felt like taking over.


But eventually the day came last Summer where I had to pull out the mower and go for it. Sasquatch had to show me how to turn it on and how it worked. He offered to do it for me, but I told him that, this time at least, I had to do it myself. I had to know that I could. And I did. And it wasn't hard at all. I put on my iPod, minded my toes and zoned out.


One down.


The second thing was an upstairs toilet that had been running forever. All it took was a trip to Home Depot and $2.99 plus tax.


That's two.


The feeling of empowerment I got from those two really tiny things was huge. It wasn't about the job itself, it was about the knowledge that I could do something I needed to do all by myself. I'm not talking re-wiring the house or cleaning the chimney. Just nice, basic things that I'd never had to deal with before. It felt really good.


The last thing happened just this past Saturday. A lot of people have noticed that I never post any pictures that I've actually taken. And here's why. We've never had a real digital camera that was "mine" to use. Oh, there were work cameras and old garage sale cameras and so on. If I ever did take a picture, someone had to show me how to get it onto the computer or where the memory card was kept or the USB cable or something equally frustrating. This all became moot in June when all the digital cameras (such as they were) moved out. I have three growing kids. I wanted a camera.


So I went out and bought one. It's an idiot point and shoot, but it has all the parts. I took it out and set it up. I shot some pictures and videos of the kids. And I transferred it onto the computer. All by myself. I realize that this is a skill that 99% of the population has had for years, but I don't care.


For some reason, I feel very self-sufficient.

19 comments:

Rose said...

Self sufficient is good, very good. And the lawn mowing thing? I've always enjoyed it because unlike household cleanup chores, that's one job that stays done for longer than 5 minutes! Unlike dishes, laundry, clutter, etc....

Congrats!!

Janie said...

You go, girl. You're kicking butt and doing good.

Maggie May said...

I do empathize, RC, as I had terrible problems learning to put in pictures & be able to use them on my blog.I am still struggling with taking good pictures in different conditions.
As regards the gardening.... lawn cutting....... it reminds me how awful it is for my daughter now her husband has passed on, and left her with a huge amount of lawn cutting. Gqrden far too big really. The petrol powered lawn mower was heavy & difficult to start up, but she is mastering it.

-Ann said...

Go you! I know exactly what you mean about the digital camera. When you live with a professional photographer, there's never a need to learn how to do such a thing for yourself. So when I figured out how to use Bluetooth to get pictures off my mobile phone and onto my laptop, it felt to me like I'd just figured out how to get to the moon and back. Because I did it All By Myself.

CrazyCath said...

And so you should! It is so good to feel empowered. We forget what we can do - and I want to see some of these pictures now! (Not of your kids - I understand that). Cameras are so important to have around as they grow...
Is that your photo of the lawnmower then? Nice lawn! ;0)

Iota said...

Grass, toilet, pictures. If you can do those, you're pretty much on top of 21st century life, I reckon.

Iota said...

How is your Facebook addiction? Did anyone save you from the vortex?

Frances said...

Go gal! Learning a new skill is always great.
And it goes right back to the 2-year-old's determination "I do it myself'

Rudee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rudee said...

There is something to be said for self sufficiency. It's so much better when we know the way for ourselves and don't have to rely on others to get the job done.

aims said...

I believe in you.

You are going to discover that you have many skills you never knew you had.

You do go girl! You do!

the planet of janet said...

*applauds wildly*

you GO, girl! it is indeed the little things!

Swearing Mother said...

Well done RC. Lovely turf by the way.

Akelamalu said...

Well good for you honey, you're becoming self-sufficient! :)

Amy said...

Did all the last several years of pictures move out, too?

Devon said...

That is great RC! You are smart and can solve problems... half the battle with any maintance issue!

Hope you are feeling better today!!

kathy said...

I'm so jealous, I have no idea how to get pictures into the computer, and coinsidently I mowed our lawn last summer for the first time in my life, but as for toilets you've got that one on me too. You are inspiring me to learn the computer thing. It really is a sense of empowerment, the lawn mowing for me was HUGE.

my two cents said...

Way to go RC!

Rose said...

Forgot to add that one of those types of moments for me was when I bought my first cordless screwdriver, my very own grill, and a vibrator. All in the same year, btw! I felt very self sufficient indeed! :)