Thoughts on Being a Handywoman

There’s power in knowing how to do a few things for myself. I remember a woman during my teenage years whose husband died in an accident. She had to go to work for the first time. I heard her tell a customer in front of me that she was still very mad at her husband for never teaching her anything about how to take care of the house. She said she didn’t even know how to screw in a lightbulb (she may have been exaggerating, but maybe not). She pointed her finger at me and said, “Learn how to do things so you’ll never be as helpless as I am.” I took her words to heart.

One of the first things Hubby taught me to do was change a tire. Good thing he did because I had a flat one day when he was at work, and I had the kids with me. No one stopped to help, but they didn’t need to. I got it done. On the new cars, tires don’t work like they did in the olden days. Now I have a cell phone and AAA’s phone number.

When Hubby and I built our house, I learned to use some of the power tools. When Hubby was gone on business trips (quite often), I learned to irrigate, feed the cows, repair fences, and chop ice. Our yard was huge and we had a huge garden. It was a lot of work to keep it all in good order. None of it was very fun, but someone had to do it.

With the extended times that Hubby and I are in different places, those handywoman skills have come in handy. When I recently returned home alone, I found chirping fire alarms. No problem. I got the ladder and replaced the batteries. When I found our caretaker had not turned the water heater back on, no problem. I fired it up. When our defrost tray under the refrigerator ran over and was threatening to ruin our hardwood floors, I got it cleaned up and dried out.

I’m very glad I listened to that lady. While I’m no expert on anything, I can usually do what Hubby tells me to do over the phone. So ladies, learn how to do things so you can take care of yourselves. If your hubby gets ill for a long time, you’ll be able to take care of things while he convalesces. It’s empowering.

Oh, and PS, never put hardwood floors in the kitchen. They’re too expensive to replace when they get wet.

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