As my Dad has become older and more frail and feeble, I've had to do lots of things around the house that I've never done before. (Okay, yes, I'm spoiled...but I've never been much of a do-it-yourselfer.)
And, of course, there are always things to do when you own a five-bedroom house.
So last week I took three days off work and tried to play a little catch up. There was critical yard/garden stuff to do. So I took a trip to Lowe's. Fortunately I ran into an older man (a customer) who kind of steered me in the right direction as far as the type of product I needed. I spent an obscene amount of money, but got lawn fertilizer/weed killer; black plastic meshing (I'm covering the rose bed...NO MORE WEEDS THERE!); a couple of pony packs of annuals (the only problem with that is that you have to PLANT THEM); some potting soil to enhance the flower beds where I'm putting the petunias and marigolds; and some extra-duty, super-duper maximum Round-Up. (I cannot BELIEVE how much this stuff costs!) The Round-Up went on the garden spot/giant dandelion jungle. In early April I'd had overly optimistic visions of a few rows of beets, tomatoes and a zucchini plant...but as I can't take care of everything that needs doing NOW, a garden was just really out of the question and I gave that idea up quickly.
I had to return the next day because I'd forgotten to get the part I needed to fix my leaky toilet. (I still can't believe I figured it out myself.) There is something akin to being lost in the howling wilderness when, as a somewhat helpless female, you find yourself standing, slack-jawed in the plumbing aisle...your gaze wandering cluelessly over shelves of THINGS that you have no idea the purpose of. I took a chance, after picking several items up and putting them back, on a flapper valve that said it fit most 1.6 gal. toilets. I got it home and actually was able to install it...and finally blessed peace in my bathroom...no more constant trickling sounds and "flush surges."
The lawns got mowed and fertilized, the garden and canal bank got Round-Upped, I even managed to wrestle Dad's sliding shower doors out of their channels and a new shower rod and curtain put up and a hand-held shower held installed. (Whew...I am Woman, Watch me Plumb!)
There remained one more little project, and that was to pull co-ax cable up to Dad's bedroom, so he can have a TV in his room. He's spent the last seven weeks mostly in bed because of back pain...so having a little entertainment would certainly help his emotional well-being.
A neighbor came over, we looked at things, he suggested a place to drill the hole (we were just going to bulldoze through the ceiling of the spare room, up into Dad's bedroom...rather than trying (and probably FAILING) to pull the cable through the walls. Larry, the Cable Guy I am NOT.) But the neighbor never came back. And after three or four weeks I just determined to do that danged thing myself. I went to Radio Shack and bought a splitter and 50 feet of cable. (Probably just should have bought half of that...but better safe than sorry.) I got Dad to check his drill (yes, working) and I found the largest (but not the longest) drill bit he had. (It would never have gone through floor and ceiling...but what do I know from house construction??)
I was all ready to go ahead, when, for several days, things (and people) kept popping up and de-railing the plans. Finally another neighbor sent two of her sons over last night to do it. Bless their hearts, they did as good a job as they could, considering we were just drilling holes promiscuously through walls and ceilings.) They informed me (and I knew this if I'd just taken the time to survey things and use my feeble brain) that where I'd originally planned to drill was where the heating duct in Dad's room was. If I had just charged ahead (on this heady wave of DIY success I was riding) I would have drilled right into that. Sheesh.
I think that, in hindsight, my recent successes were due to blind luck rather than a growing ability to take things into my own hands. The fact that the cable now sticks up through the bedroom floor/carpet two and a half feet out from the wall (fortunately right under the chest of drawers) just proves to me how little I know...and how hard it is for me to think in the do-it-yourself-but-for-heck-sake-do-it-right mode.
As these opportunities come more and more I think I'd better invest in some research, some home improvement manuals and a LOT of prayer...