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Tag Archives: XKCD

Accepting Change With Grace

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I remember back in the early days (okay, the early 2000’s) of reality home improvement shows when the residents would come home for the big reveal and someone would burst into tears. You’d watch that person have a meltdown right there on TLC and wonder what the big deal was. They just had part of their home renovated. For free. Wasn’t that something to be excited about?

Now that I’m a home owner though, I get it. I understand how you can come home and be faced with a change to your home that you had no hand in doing and just how overwhelming that can be.

My in-laws stayed with us for the better part of August and my father-in-law is a man who is happiest with a hammer in hand. Owen warned me that projects would likely get done when they came to visit. I believed him but I guess I just wasn’t prepared for the reality of coming home from work and seeing how much of a difference a new light fixture can make. Or how much bigger our yard looks when there aren’t scraggly elms crowding up against our foundation.

But I turned on the water works and cried anyway.

Let me just go ahead and say on the record that I have really great in-laws.

Last summer, my mother-in-law and brother-in-law came out and helped us move. Owen comes from a super helpful and considerate family. They operate very much like my own blood kin.

I guess I felt a certain amount of shame at my lack of involvement with the three weeks worth of progress being done on our house. From time to time I still have these moments where I just don’t feel like I have done enough to deserve this house. We make our payments on time, but I worry that some day the Tidy Patrol will show up on our doorstep and evict us for letting the dishes pile up or for still having stuff in boxes.

This xkcd comic describes how I view our approach to having our own place.

We’re not quite that bad. But there’s a pirate flag spanning one wall of our kitchen and I’ve given strong consideration to painting our front door a cheerful Police Box shade of blue.

I want to have pride in home ownership. To my mind I equate that to spending my own sweat equity to better the house and making my own mistakes as we learn about how to fix things. Having someone else do things for us just felt like cheating.

Even if the new light fixture in the hallway looks really cool.



Blinker fluid and a can of torque

While eating lunch yesterday with a new friend, the subject of cars and do-it-yourself maintenance came up.

She retold a story of how a couple of her guy friends offered to help her with her car and instructed her to go to the parts store and ask for muffler bearings and a can of torque. I started smiling even before she reached the inevitable punchline at the counter where the clerk explained that they carried no such items. It wasn’t her naiveté that made me grin, but that I have my own story of fictional tools of the trade.

For me it’s blinker fluid. The guys at the bus garage would give me a hard time about whether or not I’d remembered to refill the blinker fluid on the buses when I signed off on the inspection sheet. I’d grin and nod that I’d topped it off. Or if I was feeling ornery I’d insist that it wasn’t on my repair order.

The fact is though that a lot of car owners have similar experiences when it comes to parts and heeding the advice of someone who knows your car better than you do.

I wonder if there’s any other industry where this sort of amateur ribaldry passes as genuinely helpful?

I mean in this scenario from webcomic artist, Randall Munroe, you get the humor but it still makes you twitch.

So the medical field is out.

Don’t even begin to try to fake someone out when it comes to their food. It worked in the deli in “When Harry Met Sally” … but outside of fiction, fake-outs and food are taboo.

What makes me wonder, is why is it that men tend to do this to women? I don’t think the meaning behind it is deliberately offensive, or harmful, but it is. Being made to feel the fool really doesn’t garner a greater affection toward the topic where you’ve spectacularly embarrassed yourself. Maybe this is what makes the automotive field so inaccessible to ladies?

So here’s my resolution. Some how or another, I’m going to make a can of torque to keep in my dream garage for times when you need a little extra umfh.

And then, when I go and build my someday-project car, I’ll have space under the hood just for blinker fluid.