Thursday, 23 May 2013

What makes a lady?

"It does not require a frail, helpless, overdressed, simpering thing to make a lady."
Ellen G. White

My mother was an awesome woman, who was every inch a lady - her pastor described her as "regal." Yet, she was not afraid to get her hands dirty and knew how to swing a hammer and wield a saw. I remember helping her move furniture. Undeterred by narrow doorways, she sometimes would move whole rooms full of furniture from one room to another. One time, we took a sofa out the back door, around the side of the house and in the front door in order to get it where she wanted it. Not much defeated my mother. And I'm glad she set that example for her daughters. By precept and example, we were definitely not raised to be "frail, helpless, overdressed, simpering things," as mentioned in the above quote. And for that I am truly thankful. 
The only male relative I have nearby is my niece's husband. And he works in the oilfield, so is not home that often. I don't like to take him away from my niece and her sons during the brief intervals when he is home, unless I really need his help. Generally, I get by on my own, and, as a divorced home-owner, that often necessitates me doing things that weren't formerly in my comfort zone. While I have never been the frail, helpless type, there was a time when power tools made me nervous. I now own several and use them with confidence - at least most of the time. :-) Curtain rods, window shades, pictures, towel bars all need to be hung. More than that: I have installed a programmable thermostat, cleaned out the p-trap under my bathroom sink, put a deadbolt in my side door, replaced the door knob on my garage door, hung a hanging pot rack and numerous other jobs that wouldn't get done otherwise if I didn't do them. I even attempted to cover my deck with vinyl deck covering - until I discovered that the salesman had given me incorrect instructions and sold me improper equipment to do the job. I was NOT impressed. To date, that has been my only negative experience in a building supply/hardware store since becoming a homeowner. And I did get my money back. Plus a $50 gift card which I never used because I had no desire to return to that store. Covering the deck is still a project on my "to do" list. I've just postponed it for awhile and have since discovered that other stores sell the same vinyl deck covering stuff.
Sometimes my independence has created "interesting" experiences and adventures. The first time I used my newly purchased snowblower, I didn't realize it was in high gear and, since I was starting on my sloped driveway, it nearly ran off with me. There are so many different controls on it, that it took me quite a while before I figured out how to reduce the speed to a manageable pace. Then there was replacing the toilet seat in the basement bathroom. I assume that was the original toilet seat, and unlike most of the newer toilet seats that have plastic nuts on the bolts attaching the seat to the toilet, this one had both the nuts and bolts in metal. With decades of rust holding them together. Even spraying them with WD-40 and giving it time to "soak in" didn't help. I used every tool I could think of, and got some useless advice and was finally told that I might have to cut them off with a hacksaw. Was that my friends at Home Hardware of my ex-husband that told me that? Either way, that's what I finally had to do. And it was no mean feat. The heads of the bolts were embedded in the plastic top and I had to try to break the plastic loose in order to get the hacksaw in under the head to saw it free from the bolt. That job took a lot of elbow grease and/or blood, sweat and tears, but I did finally manage to get the old seat off. After that, getting the new seat on was a piece of cake. I actually took some pictures.
Finally got the old toilet seat off!
 You can see my various tools on the floor, with the old toilet seat in the background and the new one on the left.
The new toilet seat
 
Celebrating my accomplishment
I really should have videotaped it and posted it to youtube. There are several videos of how to replace a toilet seat - so what? that was the easy part - but none that show you how to get the old seat off when the nuts are rusted on. 
I have to admit that it's a good feeling to overcome obstacles and accomplish a task. I actually do enjoy doing my minor home repairs and maintenance. Some jobs, however, do require too much brute strength or expertise for me to do myself. That's when I will pay a professional to do it.
Meanwhile, I really don't consider it "unladylike" to do my own "fixit" jobs. 
And one more thing: you can drive a pickup truck and still be pretty and feminine.
Me and my truck