Once upon a time, I was a fairly functional adult. I had good credit (still do, actually), showed up for work mostly on time (ditto), and could handle basic home & car maintenance (um….).
Then I met Tom.
Before he ever saw me undressed, he completely dismantled my old dryer and put it back together. More to the point, it did not work when he started that endeavor and it did when he was finished.
Ladies and gentleman, if you do not enjoy being Miss/Mr Fix-it, find yourself a farm hand. (Notice the feeble attempt to not assign stereotypes here.)
Years of working on his father’s and grandfather’s land has left Tom with a vast knowledge of the mechanical and a patience to work through even the most complicated repair. And so we somewhat settled into roles of What We Do Best with my handling 99% of the cooking and him handling 99% of the wrenches.
There was that stretch of time where he traveled for work and I only worked part-time. I think I kept up vague notions of handiness and oh yes, I have a physics degree – two actually – so let me check the breaker box.
But since we’ve been living at the cabin and he installed an entire hydronic radiant floor heating system by himself? Forget it. Maybe, MAYBE I will wield a hammer to hang a picture. Because where Tom excels at mechanical know-how and patience, he sort of trails off in the urgency department and I only have to ask 73 times before I realize I too have opposable thumbs.
(What I am sometimes lacking is an actual hammer. Tom likes to squirrel tools away and/or leave them exactly where he used them last. That heating system means there are roughly 13 screwdrivers, 2 headlamps, and 1 PEX tubing stapler hidden somewhere in our crawlspace.)
So yes, I have come to rely on Tom for much of our general repair and maintenance. Not only do I pile his honey-do list with things like “Make the plumbing stop vibrating”, but I also request his opinion before asking a 3rd party to get involved. I will not request anything more than the most basic oil change from our mechanic without Tom’s say-so. And forget suggesting we “call a plumber”. He looks at me like I have suggested the wrong kind of threesome. Which, I guess in a way, I have.
All of this to tell you that I was overdo for an oil change when one evening my dashboard would not light up and I had to drive home not knowing if I was going 5 or 35mph.
I dutifully told Tom about the situation, which caused some confusion because my “Check Engine” dashboard light HAS been coming on and he has been diagnosing that himself. When I said my dashboard didn’t light up he kept saying, “Well, that’s good!” thinking he’d gotten to the bottom of my error codes.
“I’m going to get an oil change this week. Should I ask Mike to fix my light?”
“Fix your…? No. That’s silly. I’ll do it.”
“OK, but if that’s the case I need you to do it tonight or tomorrow. It’s unnerving to drive home in the dark with no dashboard light.”
“OH! Your LIGHT! Yes, have Mike fix that.”
Mike did indeed fix it. He moved the nifty little dial for brightness from “in the dark” to “let it shine, dumbass” and didn’t even charge me.
We figure that Tom’s shoulder knocked the dial when he was using his code reader thingy. But why, WHY did it not even occur to me that the dial existed? A dial I’ve used before in a past life of competent human? Because I have grown soft and unaccustomed to fending for myself in the land of fix-it. Tom’s plans to trap me in this marriage via home repair and car maintenance have succeeded.