Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Home maintenance

...and the widowed woman.

I'll say it: we had traditional gender roles for some things in our family: I did most of the cooking and grocery shopping; Greg did most of the home maintenance and yard work.

....and while I can change a tap washer and hammer a nail, there are some jobs which will always be beyond my capabilities.

Greg trimmed the large trees in our yard several years ago.  He pruned branches and mulched leaves.  Any fallen trees disappeared amongst machinery noise, but not much fuss. 
Greg was a farm boy.  I remember him using chainsaw to clean up logs for a pole-shed he was building on one of my first visits to the farm.  The chainsaw had a blade that was about 4ft long.... it was massive.  He handled it like a butter knife.

...and so you can understand the monumental effort I have been through to find someone handy enough with a chainsaw that I could trust to fall a an old bauhinia tree without either hurting themselves or the neighbours house which was overhung with branches.

But finally, another farm-boy has come to my rescue this week. .... in the form of Greg's sister's husband. 
I mentioned my tree problem on one of the recent visits to Brisbane and then they were here with chainsaw and a spare and he had the tree down and chopped up into manageable pieces in half a day.

But unlike with Greg, I was his lackey - moving branches out of the way and pruning the thin branches for mulching from the thick branches for stacking.
It really made me stop and appreciate just what a dynamo Greg really was .... he made light of the heaviest labour. 

Just another way he was completely amazing, and just another way I completely miss him.


  1. My husband was much the same. I have an electric chain saw now that is much lighter in weight and can handle smaller trees and limbs. I was my husband's lackey when he worked, so I always hear his voice in my head about safety when using any equipment like that. We really had the best, didn't we? He was such a jack-of-all-trades, he could do anything! I still marvel at the shade house he built us from plans in his head. It is such a simple and beautiful design.

  2. Amanda, I loved your ending... "just another way he was completely amazing, and just another way I completely miss him." JUST PERFECT!!!!

    I can relate so well! Thank you!

  3. I too had the "traditional" gender role , now I have an exhaust fan that quit working in the middle of a shower, a stuck faucet, a leaky faucet and a light fixture that I , my brother in law and my sister have no idea of how to open to change the light bulb. so I am on the hunt for a good handy man-one that will show up, be clean and not charge too much, before I just had to mention to my Paul that so and so didnt' work and lo and behold it was fixed. I miss him every day, every minute, and regret that I wasn't more vocal with praise and thanksgiving. I hope he know now how I regret not saying so more frequently.

  4. This morning I weed-wacked, did some maintenance on my elaborate water system (which has been much improved through a grant in the past year), completed a business transaction and, of course took care of all the usual mom stuff. It has been 1,002 days since my husband passed, and as I reflect back on this heartbreaking journey I know he would be proud of my efforts and accomplishments as I tackle challenges I would never have imagined as a wife. I gave myself a pat on the back because, widows (and widowers) ROCK.

  5. Us guys have the same things to deal with the inside of the house stuff. I try to match what she did, and do come close, but not the same. A house really takes two people to do a good job. With one seams like it never ends with things to do, and for me I get tired of trying to satisfy one's self. Most of us never had a house alone before, now we're plunged into reality.
    The main part is to stay on top and don't get to far behind that it overwhelms you..
    Peace be with you..

  6. what I miss is the sense of fun and joy of accomplishment we felt when we (or he, or I) finished a project. It just isn't there any more. I'd give anything to get some of that feeling back.