Suzy Snapper
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
New Challenges
I like to think I'm fairly self-sufficient but lately, I've started to wonder.

My Dad used to do an awful lot of little things around here that I guess I took for granted. I'm not against hard work, but at the same time, he loved to putter around here and fix things for me. Who was I to say no? Besides, it gave me time to do some of the things I'd rather be doing.

But this last month has taught me a thing or two.

One. Leaves do not fall in even piles. My big London Plane tree started with a trickle. Then there were a few more. The next thing I knew the whole tree did a bulimia impression on my backyard. It was two feet high in places.

Two. A leaf mulcher is only as good as the dry uncrumpled leaves you put in front of it. Given that this was my first time behind the tool, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. When I was 15, I ran over some electrical cords with the lawn mower. Some may have teased me that I wasn't supposed to be around power tools, but truth be known, it got me out of a tedious chore for many years. So, this leaf mulcher. I happily fill two bags of mulched leaves before I suddenly realize that what is going in is not coming out. The motor is going strong, but there's a funny smell. I turn it off, just to see a whiff of smoke pouring out the motor casing. This can't be good, can it?

Turns out picking up the dog's little presents to me before mulching is a whole lot easier than having to pick them out of a half mulched, half cooked slimey mess.

The next 4 bags of leaves were removed the old fashioned way. Garden gloves and elbow grease.

Three. When you turn on a light switch, you should expect to see light. My hallway lights are 10 ft above the floor, but I'm a little hesitant on ladders. After seeing my father fall off twice, I'm not too sure I want to try and emulate. But, one must have light. I haul the ladder into the hallway. Up I go to find the sconces have screws. Down again to the tool box, and change the lights. Flip the switch. Nada. No juice. This, of course, happened on the Sunday of a long weekend. I call in a favour to my nephew. I don't like asking for help. I will sit in the dark before I will call in a favour, but given the fact I nearly fell down the stairs twice in the night, it was not a light I could do without. Nephew arrives, in his cocky 22-year old, saviour mode. He looks up and down the wires and can't find the source of the problem. Finally, he makes a call to his boss for ideas. I hear them talking about having to rip down the wall to find the break. I hear myself saying 'You do what you have to. I trust you', with visions of slashed drywall all over my house. Just as he's putting the sconce back in it's place until he has more time to look, he notices the problem. The aluminum wire has come undone. Easy fix.

Four. Pipes. Apparently outside pipes burst when it freezes. I turned off the one in my backyard on the weekend, but completely forgot the one in the front yard. Until last night. And yes, it had frozen. 2 hours, warm cloths, and a hair dryer later, it's unfrozen. I will not be forgetting that lesson.

I also learned that my neighbour, although often commenting that I should always ask him for help, does not take kindly to a knock on his door in the evening. I guess his offer was rhetorical.

Five. Icicles dripping off the eves and down towards my front entrance apparently make the postman nervous. I wasn't offered mail delivery today. If it wasn't -15°C, I'd go deal with that, but they're mostly bills anyway, so another couple days won't hurt.

The next challenge on the list? My pilot light has gone out on my gas fireplace. It's about time I learned something new for my resume.

Vancouver, British Columbia
A patriotic Canadian full of visions of a better Canada, random thoughts and a lot of hot air. Who am I? A struggling writer and photographer trapped in a corporate buyer's body. Steel shopping by day, and freeflowing prose by night. One day I hope to have the nights become my days, but am intimidated by the sheer amount of people who share my dream. So I read. A lot. I learn. A lot. I push myself. A lot. The world is a small place, and getting smaller every day. I'm proud to have friends in every corner of the earth, and abide by the old adage that there are no strangers, only friends we haven't met yet.
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