“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.”Gilda Radner

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

New Independence

I'm pretty sure I believe in past lives. It just makes sense to me, along with visiting Lily Dale, New York, and being superstitious, and living the life of a devout Catholic who only goes to Mass sometimes (in my defense, it's really a germy place).

I'm also pretty sure that in a past life, I was a princess. The real thing. With a turret bedroom and an elaborate canopy bed and throwing handkerchiefs (handkerchieves?) to victorious knights. Laugh all you want. If you know me well, I bet you can see it, too.

That said, the whole princess thing has sort of fallen apart on me this year. Try being a stay-at-home mom when your husband works out of state. It just doesn't lend itself to the royal life. But I must say, I'm pretty proud of some of my bolder steps toward being a gal who can fend for herself.

First, I can officially change all light bulbs in the house by myself. This may sound silly to you, but some of our ceiling fixtures are pretty daunting. Especially since I felt sure that the glass domes on them would crash down and shatter in my face. However, my husband gave me an (impatient) over-the-phone tutorial and I can totally rock those suckers. I have also since discovered that you can find a tutorial for pretty much anything on YouTube. (This is how I learned to fold a fitted sheet and reorganize my linen closet.) So no more bothering Joe with over-the-phone tutorials.

Second, I can plunge a toilet. I also discovered my husband's not-so-awesome keeping place for the plunger, and found a more...sanitary...home for it. Woot!

Next, I'm all over the online banking. As of yesterday. I used to handle all this myself ten years ago when I had my own apartment, but when you marry an accountant, you find yourself saying things like, "Well, why would I do this when...?" But when the hubs works out of state--and brace yourself, 'cause this is shocking--he finds it difficult to keep track of the mail at home. Ugh. Whatever. Just another thing for me to totally rock at.

I kill spiders. Oh, yeah, you heard me. I break out the big shoe, slam that sucker to bits, flush, vacuum, and Lysol. I briefly considered handling this in a more humane way, but it seems to me the spiders are hell-bent on finding their way back into my house and it comes to down a them-or-me situation.

I shovel snow.

I have outdoor work gloves, which I wore today to clean up the massive pile of fall leaves that had blown in front of our side door. Not only did I shovel these away, I also discovered under them the rotted pumpkin my Joe had promised to dispose of last November. Yeah. It was gross. I shoveled that bad boy right into the garbage and just kept right on working, while Noah pedaled his Lightning McQueen Big Wheel in maniacal circles around me screaming, "I have a need for speed!' He doesn't drive like his dad. He drives like my dad.

I have reorganized my kitchen to handle what I call the Mail Situation, which I've discovered was really a MALE Situation. Why does Joe have to leave separate but massive piles of unopened mail everywhere? I sort through it immediately and have a tiny little pile in a basket in a cupboard for him when he gets home. I've also met our mailman. He doesn't like me. He once had to drive up my three-hundred foot driveway to deliver a package that wouldn't fit in the mailbox. He was all huffy about it, and I really wanted to say, "Listen, Big Fella, you just DROVE up here. I have to WALK down there!" Not to mention, he delivered the package to my door, and put the rest of my mail in the box. What the...?

And last, but most certainly not least, I take out the garbage. Two huge Rubbermaid cans once a week, barreling downhill to the curb with no handles (because they mysteriously broke off long ago). They blow over in the wind. Wild animals bust into them. They blow into the middle of my very busy road, and I have to chase them into traffic and yell, "Do that to YOURSELF!" in response to what neighborly drivers holler at me. Dragging the cans to and from the road isn't the only rough part, either. Joe always emptied our kitchen can and took it outside for me, too. This has been a particularly annoying adjustment. Just last week I learned the hard way that I can't just put the bags by the door until I'm ready to go outside. I might trip over them while carrying a small child and end up with a massive bloody nose. Seriously! Who knew garbage was so dangerous?

I think the greatest eye-opener for me is how much we need and miss Joe. I've always prided myself on being this really almost superhuman parent, because for all my princessness, I always wanted to believe I could handle things without help. It's not that I can't, it's that I don't want to. That might sound especially spoiled, but I don't mean it in a spoiled way. I just mean that I enjoy sharing my life with someone I love very much, and I love the different influence he has in our children's lives because, simply put, he's not me. And I will be very, very grateful when all this traveling ends and he can finally, finally kill spiders for me again.

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