Grandma is home from the hospital, tottering around on a walker that we all know is just for show. She will abandon it as soon as she thinks she has used it long enough. It seems like we are all afraid to use a crutch or to lean on someone.
Let's be honest with ourselves. And by "ourselves," I mean "myself."
I don't like to rely on anyone. Contrary to popular opinion, this is not because I think I will seem weak or incapable. I know who I am, and weak or incapable is not part of who I am. The problem is expectations. My friend Michael Dean (executive chef at Bread and Wine in Chicago, shameless plug for him) said once a long time ago that you should never have expectations because that raises the possibility of being disappointed. At the time I only half-believed him and came up with all kinds of reasons why that was bitter and cynical (which it might be, but still).
For the past decade or so, though, I have come to realize the truth of this situation, and for the past five months it has hit home hard. I got lazy with expectations; I stopped doing things, saying, "Well, I know I CAN do ______, but I don't really want to," and I expected Dane to fill in. This, of course, led to arguments when things weren't done on my schedule, but it also led to an atrophy of my DIY muscle and helped me take him for granted (on the plus side, this also helped me focus on my school.).
So now I am faced with the job of being two parents and the prospect of running a school that I would not have started had it not been for Dane's unflagging support. I had to jettison the school for a year, and now it all boils down to one thing.
It seems like every toilet, sink and drain decided to go Tango Uniform on February 17th. Guess who normally handled plumbing? Since I was wandering around in a fog, every decision meaningless and stupid, I didn't make one for myself but instead relied on other people to make them, but when all the family went away I was faced with the thorny problem of a shower faucet that leaked, two toilets that ran sporadically and a bathtub drain that didn't drain.
Karmic retribution. Why plumbing? Dane and I were both born under the zodiac sign Pisces, associated with not only being awesome (natch) but also being, well, watery. Or maybe it was because I always called Dane to fix it. Who knows?
So I called a handyman for the leaky shower faucet (and hung over his shoulder the whole time, with the exception of the part where I put on kneepads and crawled under the house twice to turn off the water, which was total bullshit except the handyman was a wee mite scared of spiders, so I did it), then started on the business of the toilets. Those were an easy fix (needed flappers in the crappers, as Dane would say).
For the bathtub, I stood in two inches of water every time I showered for two months before I finally got a drain snake and made some magic happen. I don't know why it took me so long. I do know that the whole time I was doing it I was pissed. Pissed that Dane is gone, pissed that I am alone and have to do these ridiculous jobs myself, pissed at the dog who won't stop puking (and, indeed, puked on the bathroom floor while I was clearing the drain, which sucked but was relatively easier to clean up than when he pukes on carpet, which is more often than not), pissed at myself for taking Dane for granted, pissed for being stupid about plumbing and then pissed for being pissed because why should I have to know everything and being wrong or ignorant is okay.
There is no resolution to expectations, maybe. Maybe as humans that's just what we do. I feel like I am in recovery mode, Expectation Addiction (EA), curable only with a lot of ridiculous household chores, like plumbing and cleaning gutters and remembering to watch the tire pressure and change the oil in the car.
Or maybe I just need to show more gratitude. Maybe being grateful is the key. Pretty sure gratitude won't take the trash out, but it might be the key.