Apparently you forget a few things when you live in a city apartment for a decade.
Or how far away things are when you leave them upstairs.
Or the importance of getting your garbage out on time.
Or just how many bugs there are in the world.
Everyone else on the planet has already figured this out. You've probably all got rakes and screen doors and a baseline knowledge of how to adjust your water temperature. We, on the other hand, curse that vile temptress Fate that would give us a house that requires cleaning and maintenance...and thought.
It's sort of pathetic, really. A couple of flies buzz around our heads and we start swinging wildly in the air, like inflatable advertisments. We cook without pot lids because we can't remember which drawer we put them in. We shrug at burned out ceiling lights. "Too high...guess it can't be fixed."
The vastness of the challenge should not be underestimated. Walking into Home Depot I feel like a Cold War refugee who's just defected. The embarrassment of riches on every aisle is invigorating, but she sheer magnitude is terrifying. The visceral thrill of owning and wielding a chainsaw or cordless drill is more than offset by the drudgery of selecting window shades or debating screw sizes.
It's not always easy to find the humor in this. The way Ikea designs hanging lights, for example, is definitely not funny. But if I step back and imagine myself changing a shower head, soaking wet and low on plumbers tape, I have to chuckle. I'm sure I look like what I feel like--an idiot.
I'm learning. Some old tricks are coming back. I know to turn off the electricity before changing a plug. Our water now approaches a temperature slightly above liquid nitrogen. And I know where the spatulas are now.
But I tend to fall back on the advice a friend gave me not long ago. "When it comes to having a house there's only three words you need to know."
"Call the guy."
The guy should be about done cutting our shrubs by now. Thanks for the advice, Murph.
* Kelsey, I loved you on Cheers, and Frasier was great until every episode became "a very special episode." But dude, when your new show is pre-empted by "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown" it might be time to give Cliff and Norm a call and find out when the reunion special is.