In addition to my blog life being filled with adventures, my normal life seems to include a fare number of adventures (of varying degrees) these days as well. I’ve been in my new apartment for three months now, and most of the time I think I’ve adjusted well to living alone. But in the past few weeks, my limits (emotional and physical) have been tested.
In the past when I’ve run into a household problem, there has always been someone to tackle the issue with me, and in many cases for me. Whether it is yelling for my Dad, peering into a broken oven with a roommate next to me, or calling a boyfriend when I can’t find a fuse box, I always felt as if I had back-up. In the past few weeks I have felt painfully alone.
Let me set the stage: summer takes a while to arrive in New England. Memorial Day weekend for example, was windy, rainy and 45 degrees. So when a surprise—or at least it was a surprise to me—heat wave hit a week ago, I was ill prepared. I was that girl who went out looking to buy an air conditioner when it was already 95 degrees. After an introductory lesson on British Thermal Units (am I the only person who had no idea what a BTU was?) from dear old Dad and searching the aisles of half a dozen stores, I finally found an AC in the ‘burbs. I lugged it home, up my three flights of stairs and ripped it out of the box, desperate for instant relief.
It was at that moment that I realized while I had watched as an AC was put in, I had never actually done it myself. Yes, I’m thirty-something and never installed an air conditioner. I was overheated and exhausted from climbing the stairs and as I tried to balance the unit on the windowsill, I admit it, I started to cry…and I stripped off my clothes. I’m sure it was a pitiful sight, a hot, sweaty, half naked girl crying with an air condition precariously balanced on her knee, which was propped up on a window sill. In that moment I felt completely hopeless, and slightly embarrassed that I could not help myself.
I slept in my living room that night—overhead fan cranking, patio door open—next to the AC that I was not able to get in the window.
The following weekend, after the heat had subsided, I was to have patio furniture delivered, which I didn’t realize would come in approximately a bazillion pieces. It took over my entire apartment (true, this may say a great deal about the compact nature of my apartment, in addition to the copious number of pieces) and I was instantly overwhelmed. It literally could have taken me days to make sense of all of it.
As I looked at the pieces of metal and cushions that littered my floor, I had an epiphany: In every other aspect of my life–including work, and this blog—when I’m in need of help, I seek out an expert. Why should these household tasks be any different? If my Ikea hack experience taught me one thing it’s that time is money. I may not be resourceful with a hammer and nails, but I am resourceful enough to know whom to call to get these things done. Hadn’t I preached that sometimes you just need a handyman…or at the very least a handy man?
After a quick walk to Charles Street Supply, my local hardware store, I had booked their resident handyman to come over and install the air conditioner, and I created a taskrabbit account and posted a request for someone to “help me” put together my patio furniture for $50.
For those of you who are not familiar, Taskrabbit.com allows you to post tasks you need done, and members of the community—who have gone through background checks and interviews, so you can feel confident that an ax murderer won’t arrive on your doorstep—can claim and do them. My taskrabbit, Marc arrived Sunday afternoon and we quickly got to work, interrupted several times by my Dad who called to make sure this “stranger I found on the internet” had not chopped me up into little pieces.
And while Marc did do most of the work, I did keep him company, play DJ, hand him pieces, and arrange the cushions when he finished. A real team effort if you ask me! That hysterical, nearly naked girl from the weekend before had been replaced with a calm, even jovial, partner in furniture assembly.
Living alone is teaching me a lot about myself, most importantly that it’s ok, even essential at times, to ask (or pay) for help. Feeling helpless, or hopeless, is never good. But being able to find solutions to these problems—and those of greater consequence as well—is an important step in the right direction…in this adventure called life.