On Maintaining Independence

On Marriage and Independence {the ponytail diaries}

The toilet’s running. The sink’s backed up. The garbage disposal’s leaking. Something’s broken, something’s making a funny sound. The guy at the Toyota dealership quoted me $600 for the repair.

I call my husband. He’s the one who jimmies the toilet, snakes the sink, inspects the disposal, fixes the vacuum, calls a local mechanic and confirms a $245 quote.

Am I full of gratitude that I have someone who knows how to fix or handle these things when they happen? Absolutely. Am I happy with myself when I defer to my husband instead of taking care of it like the independent woman I imagined I’d be? Not exactly.

Ten years ago (hell, even 7 years ago), I assumed I’d be single well into my 20s. I pictured myself living in the city (San Francisco or thereabouts) in a little studio or one-bedroom apartment (this was before the real estate market got so beyond ridiculous I can’t even fathom it and before the economy took a giant dump all over us, when living on my own in the city at 23 was a somewhat realistic idea). Dealing with all the shit of daily life — backed-up sinks, overflowing toilets, cars that won’t start. Maybe not with any grace, most likely with a fair amount of cussing and, let’s face it, calling dad with either a high-pitched whine to my voice or trembling catch in my throat, but in the end, I would take care of it. One way or another.

Instead? Against all my expectations, I fell in love at 22 and yes, I “lived on my own” for a year, but he was only a couple miles away. And most nights we were together at either my apartment or his. And God bless him, I found an Eagle Scout and honest-to-God do-it-yourself handyman who I swear was born knowing how to fix just about any plumbing, electrical, or mechanical problem.

I never had — or got to — depend 100% on myself. And now that I don’t have to at all? Well, fixing a broken toilet certainly doesn’t fall on my “want to do” list. It probably doesn’t fall on my husband’s either, but he can open the tank and know right away what to do. With me, there’s a 50-50 chance I’ll pull or push on the wrong thing and make the problem worse.

But there’s that nagging thought in the back of my mind — what about when he’s not there? When he’s gone for the weekend or on a business trip and that’s when something breaks or blows up or floods? What will I do? Just figure out a way to maintain the damage until he gets home? Or will I put my own resourcefulness (and YouTube) to work and take care of it?




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