Have kids now — you'll need 'em later

I’ve got a leak in the roof over the kitchen nook, and there’s a drip in the back of the toilet.

Now, this normally wouldn’t bother me. I’ve dealt with roof leaks and toilet drips before. I’d tell my husband and he would either fix it or, if necessary, call up somebody who could.

But my husband has been in a nursing home for over a year, and it’s exasperating how many things can happen that are normally handled by the man of the house.

When the kitchen sink faucet started leaking, I called my neighbor, who was kind enough to offer his services as a “honey do” man during my husband’s absence — you know, “Honey do this, and Honey do that.”

He fixed it.

When the bathtub showerhead stream narrowed itself down to a trickle, I had to call a plumber because the fixture that fed it was corroded so tightly it took humongous tools to get it off.

By the time the plumber was through, the water shot out of the showerhead like the fire hoses used on the civil rights marchers in Alabama. When I get in the tub for a shower now, I have to brace myself so I’m not dashed up against the wall, but I don’t care. It’s better than crouching under a stream of water like that poured out of a bottle.

When our dog Sam was dying at home, unable to get up, I had to call one of my daughters to come help me get him in the car to take his final trip to the vet. He was a big dog and the only way we could handle him was to put him on a heavy blanket and pull it down the steps to where the car was parked.

He didn’t feel a thing. I just kissed him goodbye and she took him to the vet. I didn’t tell my husband for months.

When the power went out during a storm, I had to use candles for light because I didn’t know for sure how to light off the Coleman lanterns — he always did that. He showed me how a few times but it never took.

The most mechanical thing I can do is change a typewriter ribbon. But I only use beeswax candles with glass globes over them. Beeswax candles don’t smoke or drip. Regular candles will, in no time at all, smoke up the drapes. I got battery lanterns for Christmas.

When the telephones were all full of static one day, I went elsewhere and called both of my telephone companies, which were too busy to come out soon.

One suggested I just do what the repair man would do first — unplug all the phones, wait 15 minutes and plug them back in again. Phones often go out during thunder storms, they said.

I tried. It works.

Overflow from the eaves during rainstorms was resolved by my daughters, who climbed up on ladders and cleaned out the old leaves and fir needles by hand. When cold water ceased to run the clothes washer, the older daughter said no problem, the filter is clogged with sand, she said. She pulled out the washer undid the hoses and cleaned the clogged one.

Since I had no memory of our ever replacing the two water hoses, she said let’s do it or one might break when least expected. She went to the store, got new hoses and put them on.

When after my Christmas party for 25 family members the toilet stopped up, she came out with a “snake” and concoctions for unstopping toilets and cleared up the problem.

The other daughter gathers up the newspapers each week (I take five dailies, six weeklies) and loads them into my husband’s truck for periodic trips to the recycle place.

She also polices the cat litter box and the bathroom, both of which were my husband’s jobs. Both daughters mow the yard on the riding lawn mower. They’re both divorced, so they’re used to doing for themselves.

Where are the other men in my family while my husband is gone? The grandsons, nephews and in-laws all work but have offered their services for weekends, and have responded when asked.

Let me offer a piece of advice akin to that when I told you not to get old and sick at the same time. That is, try to have some children while you still can so they can help your when you’re over the hill and the toilet is leaking. Daughters are as handy as sons, maybe handier.

Adele Ferguson can be reached at P.O. Box 69, Hansville, WA, 98340.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the Oct 21
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates