Sunday, August 22, 2010

Do It Yourself



Have I mentioned recently how much I am loving life here at Chateau 7? Twenty five years ago (the last time I lived alone) I was still extremely bohemian. Imagine a futon on the floor, Chinese take-out and beer in the fridge, art and/or music posters stuck to the walls with push pins.

A lot happens in two and a half decades. Whoa. I am such a different person! You might be thinking, "And she didn't notice she had changed?" Well, yes I did, kind of. Since the last time I lived alone, I have shared houses with people who made pretty much every decision about the environment. I spent a whole lot more energy and time learning to be accommodating, to adjust to the preferences of others, than thinking about what I would want if things were up to me and me only. When in Rome, you know?

I bought a nice radio for the kitchen this week. I love listening to NPR while I cook. Ahhh - Terry Gross, All Things Considered, it's nice to be reaquainted. I haven't been the alpha decider for such a long time, I forgot all about this simple pleasure. Technically I could have done this at the house on Tennessee Avenue, but NPR in the kitchen was not the prevailing paradigm. Nor was NPR a part of the kitchen feng shui at the houses of my ex husband or ex partner. While I lived with other people, I very carefully chose my battles, all in the service of domestic harmony. Better to go with the flow, yes?

It turns out that I'm very fussy about table linens (who knew?) and that even living alone, I like a clean house. I don't miss TV at all, and am having so much fun turning up the music as loud as I like (not that loud, but out of consideration to the people I lived with, for the last quarter of a century, I was careful to always keep the volume down.)

Life at Chateau 7 is a voyage of discovery, also a steep learning curve. My two exes and my ex housemates were all very handy. When something broke, I turned to them to fix it. I liked to say, "I can cook, do massage, take pictures. But I can't fix this." Well. I'm learning to fix things, a little at a time. Patching a hole in the screen door? I know it doesn't sound like a complicated thing, but for me, it was a triumph. I'm learning, and no doubt I'll learn more.

Bit by bit, this experience of living alone is helping me fill in a whole lot of spaces left blank for a long time, teaching me to be self reliant in ways I haven't for a long, long time. Life is good and I am grateful. Oh yeah.

13 comments:

Reya Mellicker said...

All this said, my spirit guides tell me that I won't be living alone forever. That's great. Maybe I'll be a little more alpha the next time I cohabit with other(s). You think?

Elizabeth said...

When do you tackle plumbing?

Reya Mellicker said...

One thing at a time, OK?

ellen abbott said...

Oh Reya, I know how you feel. A little more alpha is a good thing and not only for when living alone even if it may account for more head butting with a partner. Even though I live with a man, I rarely ask him to fix anything although sometimes when he sees me start to do something he will, not really take it over, but help with the strength parts. But yeah. One day, feeling like I had made the biggest mistake of my life, getting married, getting pregnant, the dryer stopped working and instead of relaying that info I decided to tackle it myself. Opened it up and it turned out to be a simple fix. got it working again and that was the best feeling. It helped me feel in control of my life again.

The Bug said...

I love Dr. M with all my heart, but he is a very arrogant man (he would be the first to tell you so) - so he knows how to fix it best. Leaning toward sloth my own self I say, "have at it!" But I'm starting to think in terms of having to do things myself. He is working more hours now than he has for the whole of our marriage (being a FT professor is time consuming!) so it stands to reason that I'll want something done & I'll be the only one here to do it. He's just going to have to start gritting his teeth & letting me do it dammit. Heh.

steven said...

reya i was brought up to be a writer and an artist and so even though i've lived fifty three years here, i am not able to do plumbing, electrical or mechanical. my brother is a super talented woodworker, can fix cars, reapir almost anything. that's how he was brought up. so when i need some of the fix-it stuff done, i ask friends or hire people. however, i cook all the meals in this house, vacuum, do the laundry, clean, and take care of the garden, i'm learning how to bake and i do all the interior decorating. so i figure it's a good trade off for not being able to do the other stuff!! i'll be the zeta. steven

Linda Sue said...

Living with a person "suffering" from control issues, I have had to move quickly through fixits or wait until he is out of town- learned so many 'how to do's'- I rather envy your living alone-ness, being the boss of the radio...being the boss of patching the screen door.Your life is awesome no matter where you take it!You're awesome!

Hilarywho said...

NPR in the kitchen is an essential! And if not NPR, at least a radio. I don't know how people function in kitchens without one.

I'm also a huge fan of living alone - or at least having things be my way! I wouldn't say I have control "issues." Or even that I must be in control - I am quite able to compromise and acquiesce - but aint it sweet not to?!

Reya Mellicker said...

I love being the boss of my radio, I'll admit it. I don't think I've had control issues in the past (hence all the accommodating behaviors) but maybe it's high time for me to develop some!

C.M. Jackson said...

so happy you are settling in and enjoying your new freedom to do as you please in your castle---NPR is a must everywhere;-) enjoy and don't worry you'll figure out the rest-c

Everton Terrace said...

NPR. I forgot. I stopped listening to the radio about 2 years ago. I play Pandora in the house and CDs in the car. How could I not remember wonderful NPR? I will be changing that today. I'm very impressed you fixed a screen. Go Reya!

Merle Sneed said...

Life teaches us what we need to know by putting us where we need to be.

Bee said...

I've been reading backwards through your last few weeks, and the energy/positivity definitely goes up in this post. Solitude has many silver linings!

I've been with my girls, not to mention a mother-in-law and weeks of houseguests, all summer. Much as I enjoy their collective company, I am so READY to have some alone-time. I need to be in a quiet, empty house for a while . . . (a thought which occurs to me as my teenager's loud music rises up through the floor.)