This article was written for Annabel & Grace, which is now part of Rest Less.
This weekend Husband and I needed to do some DIY around the house. I always think this is aptly named as, quite frankly in our house, it is do it yourself if you want to get it done. I love my husband but DIY is not his thing.
According to the latest statistics there are 1.1 million women between the ages of 45 and 64 that are now living on their own. And the numbers are rising. This made me think a lot about the things I could not do without my husband. As I said I am happily married but…
How would I zip up that evening dress before going out? I asked a girlfriend who lives alone if she ever has this problem. She said getting into a dress is not such a problem as you can attach a wire coat hanger and pull the zip up. However returning home, tired and having drunk a small amount, it is much more difficult to unzip. She has been known to sleep in her dress and then ask the postman to unzip her which, at 8.15am, needs more than a little explaining in case it is taken as something other than a practical request.
A man can be so useful doing all those DIY jobs around the house. However very quickly in my marriage I learned that my partner was not gifted in this area. Whenever I asked him to mend something, he would reach for a hammer. His knowledge of DIY was limited to a list of other men who could satisfy our needs with the right amount of financial remuneration!
His Man Drawer (MD) was full of items that he had no idea where they came from and indeed what they could do. In these days of equal opportunities it is therefore right and proper that in our house I needed to establish my own woman drawer.
My father had a Man Drawer and it was filled with items from previous lives and houses which he was loath to throw away ‘just in case’ as he always said. In case of what I never found out. And when it came to the end of his life I emptied his Man Drawer realising that the ‘in case’ had never happened. But it did make me smile as I saw so much of his life in that drawer – keys for burglar alarms in houses we had not lived in for many years, Allen keys, endless tubes of Supaglue etc.
So in our house the DIY drawer is mine and it is neat and tidy – but not because of me. My partner has found his niche in that he has done a Marie Kondo on my Woman Drawer and all the phone chargers have been untangled, bagged up and labelled. I got him to keep the charger for the Nokia 6310 just in case (a characteristic I must have inherited from my father) I ditch my smart phone and go back to basics and just have a Nokia to contact people in an emergency. Keys are labelled, screwdrivers are arranged in size order, foreign currency taken to the bank.
However I feel half of the joy of having a Woman Drawer is being able to rummage around, getting wires knotted, rattling all the bits and pieces, the rawl plugs, the coins no longer in circulation from a country that is now part of the Eurozone, and finally finding the vital key needed to unlock a case that has been found in the loft. But I daren’t tell him I don’t like the way he has Kondoe-d my Woman Drawer, as that would appear ungrateful. We are a team and so this area of our lives has to have both of us involved. At least it keeps him away from his hammer.
When it comes to mending something in our house I have a phone book full of useful ‘men’ that can repair, replace and restore peace in our home by mending that which they have been trained to do. Nevertheless there comes a time like Christmas Eve when this supportive team of men in my life have hunkered down and can’t be contacted. Inevitably at this moment the boiler decides to stop working. My OH thinks this is his opportunity to show his worth and demonstrate he has learned much over the years from my team of men as he watched them repair our household appliances.
Once again I unfortunately have to persuade him that he, plus his trusty hammer, cannot repair my boiler and I am going to call on someone more qualified – namely Google! It is amazing how much DIY information there is out there. From lengthy explanations in understandable language to videos showing how to re-pressurise a heating system with an internal filling key! That is the one I watched and hey presto my heating came back on.
Some of the videos look very dangerous and I am not sure should be allowed as the thought of someone who doesn’t know what they are doing, sorting out an issue with a gas boiler whilst watching a YouTube video leaves me with heart palpitations. But YouTube recently came in handy when my son was going on a date and he found that the zip on his jeans had broken. The desperate shout of “Mum” came down the stairs but I was able to call back, “No problem”. My confidence was due to the fact that, whilst searching for a video to help me mend my boiler, I had typed in ‘How to mend a broken…..’ and before I could type the name of my boiler up popped the word zip. I remembered this and once I had found this video again I was able to repair my son’s zip. Also my street cred went up with my son which is always a knock-on benefit. In case you need it click HERE for the broken zip video.
You see marriage is a team effort but sometimes i.e. with DIY there has to be some role reversal. In the meantime I shall avoid dresses that have zips down the back just in case my handyman assistant leaves me and I have to undress myself!