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blueshoefarm at gmail dot com.... and that would be how to reach me

Thursday, May 16, 2013

House Maintenance

Yesterday I went to put a towel on the rack in the bathroom and it fell off in my hand.

My lawn may be approaching the height of the Serengeti after a good rain.  I could have hidden lions in it.

The pantry shelving in my laundry room decided to collapse. Boy, I had a lot of food in that pantry.  Luckily only the canned pears and pear butter broke.  (I am joking as to my perceived luckiness,  sugary smooshy things that flow across the floor and everything else are not fun.) And why did this happen? Did the previous owners use minimal attachments when placing it on the wall? Would you be surprised if I said yes?

I poured a whole cup of coffee on my nightstand.  (You might be surprised just how often I do that. There may be too many books on the nightstand and I may not be looking where I am putting it down. Maybe.)

My house is still cracking and settling from the post and beam work in January.  Every week is a new lesson in "Huh.  That is a new and interesting crack in my dining room/kitchen/ceiling/wall". 

There are a lot of little things beginning to fray around the place.  I suppose it is spring, and we all have extensive to-do lists.  I am going to put on some offensive (but really bouncy) music and get to work today.
Towel rack.  I have noticed they work better when attached to something.

Just looking at this picture is daunting.  I am glad no one was in here. This is before I knew pears were involved.

The poor coffee and tea stained nightstand draining after the most recent douse. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Negotiating with a man - Part 2

So does this sound ideal or what?  I am a woman with an old house.  Always seem to be fixing it.  I started dating a contractor.  What's not to love?   What draws me to him is not actually his chosen career, that is how I was introduced to him, what draws me to him is laughter and brightness.  Because of that career there are times he problem solves on my house just out of habit.  I am not so comfortable with that.  It is not his baby.  It is not his gateway to freedom from a empty marriage.  It is not his calm and beauty all wrapped up in a cracked plain farmhouse. To me it is all that. 
 I left my husband with this house.  I have had no decision making help so far. It is a loud knocking at my door of (perceived, delusional) self-sufficiency I think I have going on here to let someone share in this work - in this house. There are some minor(major) bumps for me in skipping down a relationship path with a basket of cookies for grandma.  One, I may have an unhealthy co-dependent relationship with my house.  Two, I may have some boundaries that are tough to cross. 

For starters, let's say for the sake of argument, I might be a tad bit independent-  maybe even fiercely independent, although with a strange dependence streak.  I might have equity - equality issues.  And, last but not least, there might be some major trust issues left behind from my marriage.    Nothing highly unusual for a woman who has lived a life. 
So,  accepting help on something like working on a simple issue for my house is a huge quandary for me. I vowed in the beginning I was not utilizing his skillset other than as verbal assistance, and even then  only after months of seeing him. Heck, maybe years.  The focus was that he is going to be having meals with me, walking, talking, driving, dancing... not managing my home repair list.  My house is an eternal money pit.  I could be doing something on it everyday.  I still have not replaced sections of bug-chewed fir flooring.  It is not fully painted.  I haven't changed out porch supports for ones with less insect holes.  There is that upstairs bathroom that is not quite done.  On and on.   Yes, it would be "easy" to hand over my to-do list and follow his lead.  But it would be crippling.  (And bottom line is I won't do it.) That is not equitable.  In my world, there have never been things "that men do" and things "that women do".  Maybe things "that men do easier" and likewise for women, but a lot of that is cultural.  I know for many people this is crazy talk. They cannot imagine their lives not interwoven with another life where reliance, dependence, being taken care of --are strengths to a relationship, not code words to run like hell.   I get that.  They are not necessarily bad things.  We are products of our environment.  I was raised by a single mom.  A very competent intelligent educated woman.  She led a very self-directed life, with a focus on me.  It was a great environment to grow up in.  There was a large support group of friends that supported her.  Bottom line though, is she taught me to be independent.  Do it myself.  Or learn it.  And my mother being a librarian I had access to a  gateway to all knowledge - books.  Books can only do so much.  They don't drive you to a hospital, help you build stalls, drink tea and knit with you, make you laugh when you want to dive into darkness.  So I am learning balance.  Which is a great thing to learn.

There is this other thing.  The thing I am a bit out of practice about.  On how to share my life.  How to be a partner. I think there can be a bit of trading off of skills that can happen.  My inclination is to line them up on ledger paper in clean debit and credit columns.  I know this is not practical.   But taking the subjective and making it objective with maybe a bit of logic thrown in is very appealing.  But I am well aware this is my fantasy life thinking it calls the shots. 

And, lastly, for the record, I am just babbling.  I am not alone in the wilderness on this, there is actually another person involved in this relationship who verbalizes excruciatingly well.  So even if I think I get to make all these pseudo rules?  I don't.   So voila.  I get to share my life.  I get to challenge my independence issues daily.  I'll let you know if I start grinding my teeth. So far, so good, we seem to be negotiating just fine.  Although I am still a bit iffy on the electrical.... but the everlovin' cool thing is that he will talk to me for as long as it takes until my concerns and red flags about whatever I am winding up about have been allayed.  And that right there is what will keep me joyful.    

Monday, May 13, 2013

Negotiating with a man - Part 1 - Electrical

I think I mentioned in passing I am seeing a fella.  Great guy. GREAT guy.  The only problem is that he is involved with an "independent" woman... me.  A somewhat unconventional woman leading a somewhat conventional life. 
He has a skillset that I covet.  He has 35 years of home building and renovation under his belt.  Damn.  So, when I have say -- a light in my bedroom that flickers on and off as Wilder walks in the room directly above--obviously an electrical snafu of some sort that is high on my freak-out scale, he looks at it as an easy adventure and repair he can do. 
We are still negotiating on this sort of stuff.  I have issues with - let's see for starters - being taken care of.  Being paid for.  Being bought.  Being dependent.  I think those are adequately loaded words for starters on how I feel.  So when said fella says he wants to "look at" my electrical as I head off to an appointment I think "yeah, that is fine".  Go ahead and look and tell me what you find. 
Return a few hours later and get an email communique that he added a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) to the line so that will go off if there is a short before the breaker trips. A GFCI monitors the amount of current flowing from hot to neutral. If there is any imbalance, it trips the circuit. It is able to sense a mismatch as small as 4 or 5 milliamps, and it can react as quickly as one-thirtieth of a second. It adds a level of electrical sensitivity/safety to wires that seem to be having an issue before we figure it all out and fix it.   
OK.  There is a difference between looking and doing.  He acted. 
And I am torn, since I hate electrical problems and he just took care of a portion of it. 
The GFCI tripped last night and I went down this morning to reset it.  I was gone this weekend so did not see what he had done.  He spent 30 minutes and a lot of hand motions explaining how this all works to me over the weekend, without me seeing the actual product. So that all made sense as he told it and I expected to see the addition of the GFCI downstairs that I now needed to reset.   When I went downstairs and saw this... I just laughed.  Somehow when he explained this it was all simple.  HA. This is not simple.  None of it. 

Above is the part I laughed at.  Not the actual lovely GFCI (below the white outlet to the left of the electrical convolutions) but this box of wires.  Yup. This is why I don't (yet) touch electrical.  I have the feeling I will be soon, however...
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