All by myself

I used power tools today.  Actually, it was A power tool, not more than one.  The project at hand was to hang an outdoor screen, which involved drilling into stucco.  It also involved going to the hardware store, buying the green screw thingies that go into the stucco, purchasing a special 3/4″ drill bit just for masonry, and then somehow figuring it all out by myself.  Oh-there was also caulk involved.  To protect the stucco.

Each year my husband and son spend a week together at Mt. Hood, Oregon at a ski racing camp.  Since I don’t race, I use the week to stay at home and finish all the projects I’ve put on my summer ‘to-do’ list.  I actually don’t mind the week alone (smile) and don’t even mind the projects.  I clean the carpets, organize the cupboards, go through the year’s worth of photos, read, sleep, watch movies, and hardly cook at all.  I also usually paint something, but that’s another post.  So today, it was the window shade.  After obtaining the good advice at Ace Hardware, I gathered my tools and headed up on the ladder.  My teenage daughter wasn’t too interested in helping, which disappointed me somewhat-what a great chance to see what mamawolfe could do all by herself!  I tried to get her to help with finding some tools, plugging in cords, but quickly realized I was on my own.  So up the ladder I went, drill in hand.  I knew it was crucial to get that first hole drilled correctly.  You can’t erase a stucco hole.  After careful calculations, a few pencil marks, and some concerted effort I had a hole.  I quickly squirted some caulking in, hammered the green screwy thing, and screwed my cup hook in tightly. It worked!  Next, more lining up.  My confidence strong, I measured, drilled, caulked, hammered and screwed again.  Up went the shade!  I actually did it all by myself!  Full of pride, I snapped a picture as evidence and descended.

Later, after the chores for the day were done, we decided to watch a DVD-The Social Network.  On the ‘big’ tv upstairs, the one with the large screen and surround sound. It’s girl’s week, after all.  We assembled dinner, and slipped the DVD in. Turned on the tv, all good.  But no movie.  No picture, no sound.  We couldn’t make it happen.  We tried texting my husband to find out what was wrong, but no response.  We just couldn’t get it to play.  Humbly, we returned downstairs to the more simple, familiar machine.  Small screen, no surround sound, but we would watch our movie.

What I learned today is that I can do some things I never thought I could.  I can successfully drill into the side of a stucco house.  I can use a caulk gun. I can hammer and screw and hang all by myself, even while standing on a ladder.  But I can’t operate a simple machine. I need my husband.  A friend commented on my Facebook (ironic, huh?) tonight, saying it seems like my family is never in the same place.  It made me think about the time we do spend apart, and how it gives me the chance to do things all by myself, and how I really do need my family around.  Not just to turn on the DVD, but to celebrate the simple things, and to help me learn.  I’m still learning how to do a lot, even at my age.

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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