There Should be a Class in Highschool for This Stuff

Being a homeowner is a funny thing because it opens you up to a whole new world of issues and frustrations that you never realize existed before you were 100% responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of your own domicile. After all, as babies, then kids, then teenagers we’re rarely held responsible for much more than cleaning our rooms, washing our dishes, and maybe loading the washing machine every now and then.

Prime example? Growing up, my husband never had to mow a lawn. He lived in apartments, or houses with small yards that his step-dad didn’t mind mowing himself. Then when we moved in together we lived in a dive (in other words, we couldn’t have cared less about the state of the lawn), then an apartment, and then a duplex for which the lawn was taken care of by the landlady’s son. So when we finally bought our own home and had to deal with the lawn, we realized two things: we needed a lawnmower, and my husband didn’t know how to work a lawnmower. To this day it is one of those lovely moments that I get to hold over his head…walking outside to find him cranking on the pull-cord, cursing like a madman, while failing to hold the safety release bar down. I don’t know if I’ve laughed that hard since.

But the fact is that he just wasn’t thinking because he’d never done it before, and it wasn’t that long before I learned the same lesson. I’d had the back of our dryer apart a couple of times because it kept getting clogged up with lint. So when the drum suddenly stopped spinning, I just defaulted to what I’d been doing all along. I had about a hundred pieces laying all over the basement floor, wondering how the hell I was supposed to get the broken drum belt out through a 2-inch hole that seemed to be the only available opening, when my husband suggested I look for YouTube videos showing how to replace a dryer drum belt. I begrudgingly did so, and found out that literally none of what I’d done was the slightest bit helpful; the top of a dryer will pop open if you release two little clips on the front, allowing you to remove the front panel and gain access to the drum. It would have taken ten minutes to replace the drum belt if I’d done the YouTube step first, instead of the two hours it took me to completely tear apart and rebuild the entire dryer.

This is how my morning went yesterday. How was yours?
What you can’t see in the picture is the several dozen bolts and pieces that are missing from the back as well.

And these are the things you learn once you become a homeowner, because you know what always seems to come with owning a home, even if that home is brand new? Repairs. It’s just one of those facts of life that it seems like something is breaking down all the time. That dryer incident above was only one of five total times I’ve had that dryer torn apart. The ice maker in our fridge has been ripped out three times. We’ve made several adjustments to terrible DYI projects that the previous owners of the house completely mucked up. One day the back-plate in our pellet stove cracked in half out of nowhere.  And once, when we were just on our way out the door for a shopping trip, we discovered a massive leak in the water line in the basement because of a plugged up filter (which, by the way, ruined three kitty litter boxes and a couple of bags of pellets). All of this stuff has occurred over the course of five years, and every one of the incidents required some kind of research and learning on behalf of my husband and I. Neither of us had ever so much as glanced at the ice maker before it stopped working. When the pellet stove back-plate cracked we had no idea where to go for such a replacement (or whether we even could replace it, or if it was one of those ‘buy-a-whole-new-appliance’ situations). It’s one of those things, like how no one thinks about needing a plunger until they realize that they need a plunger…when you’re a first-time homeowner you have no idea how to deal with these non-stop situations until they arise.

So why the trip down homeowner memory lane? Well, to put it bluntly, one of our toilets started draining constantly, so I guess we have to replace the inner tank workings, and I’ve been putting it off because it turns out that stuff doesn’t just pop out and pop back in. It’s a glorious thing, owning a home.

How has your experience with homeowner-ship been? Have you ever been caught totally unawares by a situation you had no idea how to deal with? Any super-funny (in retrospect) stories? Please share!

Distractions are…um…hold that thought for just one second…

This past weekend my husband and I celebrated the dual joys of our 4th wedding anniversary, and the marriage of two friends of ours. We enjoyed a beautiful ceremony in the lovely community of Cheticamp, whilst also spending time with another married couple who we hadn’t seen in a long time, and marked the whole thing off by staying at a sweet little chalet along the coast. It was all quite lovely.

Because it was our anniversary, we were inevitably asked what we got each other, and my husband got to tell our companions that he bought me a Playstation Vita.

For our wedding anniversary.

Because I asked for it.

Hey, if you’ve been reading this blog for a while and haven’t yet figured out that I’m a total and utter dork…now you know.

Hubby bought me a Wi-Fi version Vita with a 32 GB memory card, connected it to his Playstation Network account, and downloaded a bunch of free games for me (Sony, don’t ever change your Playstation Plus system…you’re definitely doing it right), plus he picked up Rayman Origins at Walmart. Since last week I’ve been glued to this little handheld joy-box. The Vita definitely has it’s flaws, as any gaming system tends to, but I’m absolutely loving it.

And that’s a bad thing.

Okay, it’s a good thing because it was a present and I wanted it, so obviously one would hope that I enjoy playing with it. But it’s a bad thing because it is a positive time vampire. This morning I got up at about 8:30 am and started playing it. Other than to put it aside long enough to get breakfast for the baby, a coffee for the hubby, and to dance with the baby when she suddenly decided I had to dance with her, I didn’t put the Vita down until 1:00 pm. I got a dozen or so Rayman trophies, and that is all I accomplished all morning.

This is the face of my procrastination.

I didn’t write, I didn’t edit. I definitely didn’t exercise. I didn’t do any laundry or dishes, and I didn’t start tidying up the guest room (which I have to do because we have two days worth of guests coming next weekend). I didn’t even really get dressed. I put on a pair of jeans long enough to run out to the car for something, but I couldn’t be bothered to throw a bra on under my shirt, and I still haven’t as I’m typing this. The baby is still wearing her pajamas. I only just took something out of the deep freeze for supper, and I haven’t established what I’m going to do with it yet. The kitty litter is full and the cats’ streaming water dish has been broken for several days. There are a ton of leftovers in the fridge that have gone bad and I haven’t thrown them out. There are about ten boxes of old baby clothes in the hallway that I’ve been meaning to go through so I can send some stuff to consignment.

But instead of dealing with any of these things that need dealing with, I played my new Playstation Vita for four and a half hours straight. And if I’m totally honest? The only reason I actually stopped playing is because I realized that battery was dying. Yes, the only thing that dragged me away from my gaming is the fact that battery scientists (that’s a thing, right?) haven’t figured out how to make mobile batteries last longer yet.

Distractions are a terrible thing when you’re in a position that requires you to be self-motivated. Currently I am not employed; I’m working on my writing, but I’m not in a position where I am getting paid or compensated in any way. That means that every morning when I get up I have to look at myself in the mirror and tell myself, “Okay. You are going to get some damn work done today!” And then I have to try to follow through with it. I have to pick my own self up, with no hope of any kind of payment of any form, and I have to force myself to sit down and write. That in and of itself wouldn’t be too bad, except for the fact that while I’m trying to force myself to write I also have to deal with a child who thinks I should wear little pink play glasses all day, and a household worth of chores and errands that never seem to slack off in any sense of the word.

Distractions are terrible and they must be eliminated. They must be stricken from the lifestyle. It is the only way. Only when distractions have been completely removed will one be able to go on with one’s day productively and efficiently.

Unfortunately, I’m way too distracted by my shiny new Vita to get on with eliminating my distractions right now, so if you don’t mind…

This is the face of my procrastination.