I realise I am in danger of endorsing a ridiculously dated stereotype in saying this, but the reality was that in the past, there were certain jobs in our household that were claimed by Alpha Tarzan and strictly not undertaken by non-Wheelie Jane.
Thanks to growing up with a handy father, I entered adulthood knowing what a Phillips screwdriver is, how to wire a plug, how to check my oil and gut a fish, but if I had believed having such skills was enough to avoid still being pigeonholed as a useless girly, i would be mistaken.
As spinal cord injury has left SA with virtually no hand function, there are little jobs that he used to do which I now get to do – badly. Such as mowing/churning up the lawn, screwing and hammering stuff, catching spiders, anything that involves going up in the loft or to the tip, anything involving ladders or bins and general stuff that leaves you tired, dirty and badly in need of a manicure.
I now get to be the one that bravely lights the fireworks, and then because I shit myself too early and ran away before it lit, go back to re-light the ones that didn’t go off. (Yes I know that’s strictly against the rules but as I may have mentioned previously, the shit really has got real and someone has to do it).
Sunny weekends will see us on the decking, SA shaking his head in starved frustration and disbelief as we watch the barbecue I built, go out underneath grey sausages. He has to watch me massacre the roasting joint with a carving knife that he had already warned me IS NOT sharp enough.
Our communication skills are understandably tested when Mr Mechanic tries to explain to Mrs not-a-mechanic how to do basic bike or wheelchair maintenance. And no, there’s no point in asking the PA because they will go away to find a screw driver and return holding a hammer and wearing a hopeful expression.
SA never was particularly good at watching people make a hash of things but now he literally has no choice and I think he has embraced this reality, buying me my very own Makita drill and accompanying bit set last Christmas. If I could just get my lady brain to remember to charge it . . .