Saturday, 28 January 2012

The Inconvenience of being single

Last night desperately in need of sleep, (I'd had virtually none the previous night), I was disturbed every few minutes by the loud bleep of my downstairs smoke alarm.

The last time this happened (the landing one this time), one of my neighbours - the one who does my decorating - was prevailed upon to come and 'deal' with it.

He is tall and used to electric work, replacing wiring etc but, it took him about 10 minutes to work out how to open the cover, and several attempts before he could detach and replace the dead battery.

I do not subscribe to the gender job specification which was the accepted norm when I grew up, but my late husband was 6 foot 4 inches tall and happy with all things electric so he had merely to reach up a hand to the ceiling and could easily 'fix' whatever was wrong in seconds.  I, on the other hand, as may have been mentioned before, am technically inept and additionally, unable to cope with heights - so no ladders - and was happy to leave him to it.

He had a phenomenal memory for places, even towns we had visited only once and since after a drive of maybe two hours or so, the only thought in my mind was, "where's the loo?", he had also acquired a near-photographic memory for the exact location of said convenience wherever we were and could drive to within a yard or so unerringly.

He would happily sit at his desk for hours while I worked in the garden and it was only when I needed his extra strength to dig out a root, or saw through a branch that I needed to call on him.

I do not drive, he did.  I cannot sit and read an instruction manual for TV or similar devices and make sense of it, he could.

There are a million small daily practical jobs for which I have no natural aptitude, but have had to acquire some.

This morning, I dragged out the two-step ladder and leaning against the hall/sitting room door frame, contrived to reach up undo the cover, remove the old battery and replace it in......less than a minute!

One gigantic step for woman.    Well, this woman anyway.;


  1. Well done, Ray! A very thought-provoking post for someone like me who is still lucky enough to have her husband to do the things she can't do. One of the many things I admire about my lovely 87yr-old mother-in-law is how she came to terms with being widowed at 57 and learned to do so many of the practical tasks her husband had always done. She's only 5'2", so had to grapple with ladders for a lot of minor things.

  2. Yey, good for you. I can feel your sense of achievement over the blog waves! xxxxxxx

  3. Well done! I am also really bad at all those DIY, fixing, car related and map reading sort of things wheras my husband seems naturally gifted at them!

  4. P, J, M, S. Ladies, many thanks for the Greek chorus!

    I too feel inordinately pleased to have accomplished something so insignificant to some, but such a hurdle for me previously.

    I do so hope the challenge won't require me to climb onto the roof.

  5. The Rev has no aptitude for anything practical,though he has many other gifts, I replace fuses, rewire kettles, decorate etc. Anything I can't do I get my best friend Louise to do who is an electrical engineer. (She can also plaster and build walls! ) Very useful. Amazing what us girls can do if necessary! Well done Ray. A tool box for next Christmas ,is it?

  6. Thanks, but no thanks Jenni. That would be tempting providence to an unacceptable degree!

    One (preferably tiny) step at a time please.

  7. Dearest Ray

    Here is a link to another blogsite where the artist simply knows how to play- I love his/her art. Enjoy and do your homework!!!

    lots of love


  8. Thanks Constantina, though I will probably have died of old age before I get to the end of the world's longest link.

    Homework, what can you mean?

    Seriously, I'll try.

  9. Good for you, Ray! I have to admit that I miss my tall guys (husband is 6'7") while I'm living alone in Williamsburg. I have a step stool that stays open in the guest room and I have to drag it around to get to various things (including the top kitchen cabinets)

  10. I am full of admiration for you, Ray, both in the way you tackle the practical and emotional sides of being on your own. The only time I managed to replace an outside light - I ended up shaking for an hour or so afterwards...... all a matter of rusted and difficult screws and me not being very secure up a ladder. Every Blessing

  11. well done Ray...indeed a leap for womankind!

  12. So easy if you're tall isn't it Penny? It's not just the fear of heights which is a problem for me, but also the weight of the two-step ladder.
    Of course it is always downstairs when I need it upstairs and vice versa.

  13. Such joy isn't it Freda, hanging grimly onto whatever is solid and in reach, and trying to one-handedly put right what is wrong without the benefit of a third hand.
    Still, needs must.

  14. I try Theanne, I try. Of course I don't talk about the failures!