After my Volvo, for all intents and purposes, bit the dust, several of my major appliances decided to offer the car unnecessarily dramatic moral support. Like a roomful of cranky toddlers, most everything mechanical in my possession is throwing a tantrum, clamoring for my attention.
The refrigerator has been leaking sporadically (source of mysterious kitchen puddles identified). The dishwasher went haywire Friday night in the middle of the wash cycle and has been flashing an undecipherable error message since, an insistent red light blinking out at its black-and-white kitchen world. And my washing machine, always irrationally exuberant when it came to the extra spin cycle, threatened to hurl itself through the wall yesterday. The repairman will be here for a while.
Last year I had the house insulated. The driveway cracks are splitting wider, the deck needs cleaning and staining, and I’ve committed to putting in a new walkway – mostly by myself – sometime this summer. There are perennial beds to dig and plant, the lawn to rehabilitate, perhaps a new raised bed to build for the blueberries and strawberries this fall. Don’t get me started on the cedar hedges.
The husband of a friend, god love him, just came to help me install my two window air conditioning units. One is too heavy for me to carry, both are too bulky, and twice a year I have to swallow my pride and ask someone for help.
I am the lone decision-maker when it comes to whether to ditch the car, walk on slate or bluestone, hire or heave it myself. There’s no one else to leave work and come stay while the leak is fixed. If I don’t mow the lawn, cook dinner, do the laundry and clean the house, it doesn’t get done.
Sometimes I look around and can’t believe that I’m maintaining all this on my own. I mean that in a good way. Last spring, I planned, bought, hauled, measured, bolted, filled and planted three 10’x5’ raised vegetable beds, and love them all the more because it was my brain and my sweat equity that gave them existence. I’m not handy, and it takes me forever to make decisions because I’m a perfectionist. And yet slowly, if not so surely, I’m claiming this little corner of the world as my own.
There are days when I wish for a co-conspirator to help make a decision or haul a wheelbarrow full of dirt. But I’m learning that I no longer need one.