No Man's Land
Near my new home
Learning "Man Tasks"
Some would say it is my own fault - after nearly 50 years of marriage I chose to leave. I was desperately unhappy and suicidal, and could see no other option, so to save my life I left - taking little more than a suitcase and a few boxes of precious articles. I chose to house sit for a few years while I re established my life.
I chose to study, so it was back to university which kept me busy, and did not allow me to indulge in self pity. I chose to start life again, and my mindset was very positive. I was sure I could do it. Family and friends were shocked but I have never been able to explain all of my concerns with my marriage, and I chose not to denigrate (at least not too much), my husband.
I managed to travel a bit, but after nearly 3 years on the loose, I decided to settle down. I had as luck would have it, come by some money. Not a lot - not enough to buy a house, but with a little help I could rent a modest house. Somehow I managed to find a house which was almost my dream house - an en-suite bathroom, a walk in wardrobe and a pantry in the kitchen - things I have never had.
It was some 45 minutes drive from most of the family - something that they find challenging, but I find liberating. I am more free than I imagined, and live in a small rural/beachside village, surrounded by bush, a river, creeks, and the beach. Heaven just about.
As it turns out another friend had moved here just prior to me - quite co incidental, but a pleasure for sure.
My first piece of furniture I had to buy was a bed - so the place looked rather bare, but I had plans. I visited Ikea, and other stores and purchased low cost flat packs of items - a table, two chairs, book shelves, small occasional tables, and later two single beds. My daughter came to help me put them together - but when we opened some of the boxes we found that we couldn't do anything. Most required a hammer or screwdriver, which I did not own.
After much laughter, realizing that it was an impossible task without the right tools, she departed, but a day or so later appeared with a house warming gift - my first very own hammer and screwdriver set. Her two daughters and I set about putting them together which we managed. I did laugh at some of the instructions. I found it difficult to understand some of the details, but somehow things came together.
A few weeks later, I came home with three flat backs - bookshelves from another major outlet and put them together. One I made a terrible mistake, and caused some damaged, but if I don't tell anyone, no one will know.
The lounge suite came - and I learned how to screw the four feet on each piece - though one is hardly on. I need a man's strength to get the best results.
I have a lovely outdoor area and a table and chair would enable me to eat or work out in the fresh air, so I set out to find a setting that appealed. I found a lovely glass table - at a great price, and in the store went to pick up the box. Too heavy for me. I asked the storeperson to get it, but she just scanned it, and I paid a deposit planning to pick it up later. In any case with my two passengers that day, there was no space in the car for it.
When I went to collect it, I arranged to collect it at the back of the store and go straight into my car. On my way home I was wondering how I was going to get it out of my car and into the back area of my house, but finding extra strength I lifted it out of the car and rolled the box to its destination, and on opening the box and reading the instructions I was at a loss.
What does it mean? The instructions clearly written by a Chinese man with some English challenges. "Maybe a little tight, lease be careful and in appropriate force." "You need to check and ensure the support pads (N) on table rims before assembly to ensure the stability of the glass".
There were of course diagrams that were so tiny and confusing that it was a clear challenge, but slowly, I picked my way through the strange directions and messy diagram, until I had my table completed. Success.
Challenges occur almost weekly - how do I turn on the gas? (I've never had to do it!) How do I manage the water tank? Again, I've never had instruction and it is trial and error.
I still have a few jars of jam and pickles that have refused to open for me - and I am waiting for a big strong bloke to call in. I don't know if or when one will, so I may have to pack a box and take it to my daughter's and see if her husband can help me.
Businesses take it for granted that I have a male helper - I just don't. My next door neighbour is not a well man and I would hesitate to call him in, though I know he would try.
Do I need to go to classes? Bloke classes? Perhaps use "Hire a Hubby" but with all the costs of setting up a new home I'm reluctant to spend more money unless I can earn more.
One of the other (hilarious) situations I found myself in, was when I went crabbing. Never had I had to do it alone. And when I pulled the crabpot up and found three large mud crabs in it, I didn't know how to remove them from the pot and return the two undersized ones to the water. Even my neighbour could not work out how to do it. However, a guy from a house overlooking the lake came to my rescue and midst much laughter and shrieking as the crabs waved their dangerous claws in my direction, he showed me how to do it. Now I can do it without help.
One of the things that has annoyed me is the rather strange (usually because most items are manufactured and packed in China) that the instructions are so crazy. I will be writing to one of the major suppliers about this issue. I mean, what am I supposed to make from the instructions above? A man would probably ignore all the instructions and just do it.
As I write this I don't have any more flat packs to assemble, though I won't say I will never have any more. There are a couple of items I am considering. I will have to learn to do it myself - as this is definitely "No Man's Land".
I chose freedom and it comes with challenges. I'll survive. I am a survivor!!!