Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Poof! The bathroom's clean

I can't for the life of me remember the excellent topic I'd planned to write about today. It came to me at some point during the day but I'm afraid it's gone for good now. It's sort of been that kind of day.

No motivation, little work, lots of procrastination. You know the drill. Well, you do if you're anything like me anyway.

I started off well. I was full of vim, vigor and promise. I went for a 2K walk first thing in the morning, came home and put the sprinkler on the back lawn aaaaaaaaaand that's about it. Three hours and a cold shower later I remembered to turn the sprinkler OFF. Maybe it was the cold shower that messed up my day. I dunno.

You see, the water heater broke. I don't know what was wrong with it, but for some reason my shower was a little extra refreshing after my walk. My first instinct was to call My Beloved and ask if he knew what might be wrong and how to fix it. My next instinct was to call my Mom, who knows everything about everything. Some days I wonder what the hell I'm going to do when she dies and I have no one to call and ask, "how long can hot dogs stay in the fridge after they're opened?"

Anyway, I did neither. I decided to figure it out on my own. I went down to the basement, saw the flashing light on the water heater, tried to calm myself down as the 9000 or so warnings splashed on the side of the tank screamed out at me in the most alarming way, and wrote down the customer service number.

I went back upstairs and dialed, fully expecting a truck to arrive within a few hours to fix whatever was broken.

But they made me do it instead. Me, the girl with the crippling fear of electricity, fire and gas. Good plan. I actually asked the guy, before flipping the little black toggle switch on the side of the tank as instructed, if I was going to blow myself up. He didn't think that was very funny, but to be honest I was only partly kidding.

He walked me through a few quick checks and finally instructed me to flick the toggle back to the ON position, which I did. He assured me I'd have hot water within a half an hour. And I did. And I didn't blow myself up.

Maybe things are looking up.

As I nervously scrunched down beside the water heater doing what the gruff voice on the other end of the phone told me to do, I felt that familiar flight or fight sensation raging inside. I so DESPERATELY wanted to flee and leave the tank to someone else's devices. I'm pretty sick and tired of being a grown up in a very grown up world. I don't WANT to be the one solving our water heater problems. I want to be the one who draws a nice warm bubble bath, climbs into a fluffy bed that someone else has made and snuggles under sheets that someone else has washed and folded.

Is that so wrong?

And this certainly isn't the first time I've felt this way. There have been many long days at the end of which I've found not my Mom at the stove cooking a hearty, comforting dinner, but ME. Why does that picture still seem so wrong?

Don't get me wrong, I love what I do - I love making the house clean, comfortable and cozy for My Beloved and I love cooking him hot, satisfying meals. But the thing is, when you're the one doing all the work, you don't get to experience it the same way you used to - or the same way everyone who isn't doing the work does. It's a little like loving a magic trick and then finding out how it's done. You still appreciate the trick but the magic is gone.

I'm not complaining that My Beloved doesn't do enough around the house. Sure, I suppose he could do more, but he's out of the house 11 hours a day, 8 of which are spent working and three of which are spent commuting, and he has the full burden of supporting us right now. He has enough to worry about without adding a list of chores to the mix. So really, there's no solution except for me to suck it up, stop whining and carry on.

And if I'm lucky - if we're both very, very lucky - maybe one day we have a little one who will appreciate the magic as much as I always did when my mom was the magician.

Maybe that's all I need to make me want to be a grown-up. Of course that means I'll have to learn all about the expiry dates on hot dogs...


Lisa P. said...

I totally get the part about wondering if a little one wil make me want to be a grown up. I don't always know that I believe it, but I definitely wonder it.

And your tale of the water heater made me laugh -- coming from one who gets confused every time she wants to adjust the thermostat. My husband mocks me to no end.

Thanks for your comment on my blog, BTW. I've been reading yours, too.

Catherine said...

My advice, not that you asked for it, is to hang onto that non-grown-up feeling. It makes parenting that much more fun when you don't have any qualms about getting down on the floor and playing trains while dinner burns or the dirty dishes sit in the sink.