Embracing the unembraceable

I have tried to change this about myself - I have tried to ignore it, I have tried to dance around it. The only thing I haven't tried is embracing it - so that's what I'm trying to do. Here's the thing - I have no life skills. I cannot do even the smallest amount of plumbing. At all. Currently, my toilet moans at me horribly whenever I flush it, and so I ignore it and go to the other bathrooms in the house so that my house doesn't explode. DH assures me it's not going to explode, but, you know, better safe than sorry. I cannot garden. Occasionally I can tell a weed from a plant, but not always. I'm not even sure it's most of the time. After all, some weeds are pretty, too. And i can't trim my little tree/bush things evenly, no matter how hard I try, because they always look even at first, and then I take a step back, and everything's skewampus. It's kind of a metaphor for life. I can barely cook. I can cook enough to not starve. But not enough so that my family actually enjoys what we're eating. As we say after a meal like that "well, it filled the void, anyway." Maybe I should move to England? I hear everyone is a bad cook there? Yes? I cannot do home repairs of any kind. I try, occasionally, and then I find I can't replace the 'drill bits' (if that is, indeed, their real name) in the drill, even after reading the directions a hundred times. I tried to replace the hardware on my bathroom cabinets as a surprise for DH. Instead I ended up calling him in tears because the $%$%!!!$% drill thing would not work. And the measurements were off. I cannot decorate. At all. I have no sense of what home decor would look good where, I just know that when I do it, it's not a pretty picture. I have to recruit my sister who lives in a different state to come and hang my pictures for me. Truly. I have done this. And she came. And made my house pretty. I cannot go shopping without her, or know where to put a new rug, or if a picture is hung too high on the wall. It's sad, but true. I now have a decorator friend who helps me out. Which is good, because my sister is not coming in time to help me figure out which of my Christmas decorations are nice, which ones are crap, and where they should go to maximize the holiday spirit. And lastly, and most pathetically of all, I cannot dress myself. I can't. I don't know if things fit, or if they're too short, too tight, too loose, or if that's simply not the way that particualr shirt is worn. I am stuck in the era of jeans and T-shirts, but I can't even do those right, because apparently my jeans are too big in the waist and too short at the bottom. And even T-shirts turned on me and became difficlut to figure out. Too long! Too short! Don't tuck it in. Yes, tuck that one in, obviously. I don't know if jewelry is trendy and cool, or lame and trying too hard. And which shoes are appropriate with what? AAAAIEEEEE! So, I am embracing this about myself. I've spent too long battling it. I've spent too much time staring at the wall trying to figure out what picture to hang there, and too much money trying to buy the right bedding that will finally make my bedroom cute. I'm just going to focus on playing with my kids, playing with my friends, playing with my husband, and traveling around to see random plays. I'm going to try to have my kids have memories of Mom laughing and singing, (although they often tell me to stop singing, it's kind of annoying) and not stressing over her messy house that she can't manage to keep clean. (That's another skill I totally missed out on when they were passing them out. Keeping a house clean is fundamentally impossible to do. In my world, anyway.) I have to embrace that we all have different talents, and mine somehow don't seem to be of much use in this world. Maybe the next one. There's always hope. And yet, somehow, I want my children to have life skills. I want them to be able to function where I somehow cannot. Hopefully that'll work out somehow. Maybe with enough faith.


Blogger Heather O. said...

English cooking does suck, yes. It's where we Mormons get most of our cuisine. Not pretty by any stretch of the imagination.

Cheer up. You can blog. That's a wicked awesome life skill!

11/02/2005 06:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Nate Oman said...

English plumbing also sucks. So does English fashion (except for men's suits). It may be the ideal country for you ;-).

11/02/2005 07:23:00 PM  
Blogger The Wiz said...

All right, then, guv'nor. I'm there.

11/02/2005 07:34:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Lautischer said...

Don't feel bad about not being able to cook. At least you don't have a career based on selling food products AND can't cook :D

-Warning: Do not eat my samples... (kidding)-

11/02/2005 10:24:00 PM  
Blogger Island Queen said...

Ok Wiz - are you my twin? I too know this about myself. I'm lucky my little sister is 30 mins away and she honestly does shop for me and tell me where to put things. Give her my ATM and tell her what my vision is - bam! She's gotten everything that I never knew existed.

Give me a company - I can run it no problem. Been doing that for 10 years. But being new to staying home has slapped me in the face of how much I lack 'life skills'.

Luckily my DH has good life skills and our ward has a lot of talented people. I watch them all the time and pray that I will pick it up!

Just wanted you to know you are not alone :=)

11/03/2005 12:39:00 AM  
Anonymous The Wiz's twin sister said...

Island Queen--

No, the Wiz is not your twin. She's mine.

11/03/2005 12:54:00 AM  
Anonymous Carrrie-Anne said...

Ah... a kindred spirit! I am pretty bad at all those things as well, however, my cooking is steadily improving. I just wish that after 30 years I knew what looked good on me as well. I need my husband to pick out flattering clothes for me and my sister to decorate my shelves. I don't think I will ever know what to do with my hair and I can't even scrapbook. My poor kids! I am hoping they will look at these things about me and say, "I refuse to turn into my mother!" Oh well, it would be really boring if we were all perfect.

11/03/2005 01:28:00 AM  
Blogger The Wiz said...

Oh, I am so glad I am not alone! I do have some skills - I can do business stuff well, I listen well, I am a good friend, but I seriously do not know how I made it to this age without having my cars explode since a mechaninc could tell me I needed new 'ball-joint-belts' or something else made up, and tell me they cost $300, and I would hand over my credit card.

Also, I do not do well with repair people, which is really bad, seeing as how I can't do any repairs myself. I don't know how to make them show up when they say they're going to, or to make them finish what they've started.

11/03/2005 12:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Jesse said...

Hey, if your toilet moans, it may be because that a particular washer in that tower in the tank (you know, the one that supports the float arm) has deteriorated. What you want to look for is whether the toilet moans when, for instance, you turn on another faucet or shower there. As that fixture takes pressure off of the system, because the washer in the toilet tank has deteriorated, it will let air into the plumbing system and the thing vibrates like a reed instrument. Makes a real loud moaning sound. If you run that test and the toilet moans, you just have to replace the float mechanism in the tank. You can get these grey plastic things, with a black plastic float, all one piece at most hardware stores. They have no ball float on an arm and are easier to install.

Just turn off the water supply to the toilet, flush the thing so all the water drains out of the tank, then mop up the remaining water in the tank. Then unscrew the plastic nuts that hold your existing float/on-off valve assembly and stick the new one in. It's REALLY easy.

11/04/2005 03:41:00 PM  
Blogger The Wiz said...

Well, jesse, it moaned after it filled , (or at the very end of filling). It did shake like a reed instrument, and was super loud. I really thought my house would explode.

Well, my husband did just what you said (although without having read what you wrote - are you a guy, and do all guys just absorb this knowledge out of the air? How come I don't know this stuff?) and it worked great.

So we are now moan-free, which is an excellent thing, especially in the middle of the night. Thanks for the advice. Now I will know what to do in the future. I always wonder how single mothers do it - just the home repair alone would do me in.

11/04/2005 06:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Granted I only have experience from Utah to compare with but regardless I'll make my defence of England and her cooking, plumbing, and fashion:
1.I have never seen as many recipes anywhere else which call for a can of this or a packet mix of this as I have in Utah. 2. I never had a blocked toilet in England, needless to say I have encountered many during my time in Utah. 3. At times fashion in England is bad, but at least it's novel and changing all the time. The fashion in Utah is pretty stagnant for the most part. It's not an exageration to say there are many people still living in the 80's. Aside from these minor points I love Utah.

11/05/2005 11:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Jesse said...


I am a guy. My five year old boy likes "This Old House" on PBS, so we watch it from time to time on Saturday mornings. Turns out, they helped a homeowner who had exactly the same problem as you with their toilet. Also, I've replaced the float assemblies in our toilets and it requires no skills greater than the ability to turn a nut right or left, depending on whether you want to tighten or loosen it, so when you mentioned your moaning toilet, I thought, "Hey, she can fix that!"

11/06/2005 03:27:00 PM  
Blogger 2-Wheeler said...

Amazing! I stumbled on this page after doing a Google search for the word "skewampus". I just had to see that word used in a sentence. Now that you mention it, I think I have seen a few hedges that were skewampus.

What is the origin of the word? I suspect it is the Utah form of the word "kittywampus" - look it up.

11/20/2007 09:17:00 AM  
Blogger Carolyn said...

Skewampus is a combination of askew and cattywampus. I am somehow coming full circle in coming to this blog and making this post. This blog is by my cousin, (I think) but the whole reason I'm here is I'm looking for references to skewampus. I used it here in New York City, and no one had heard it before, including my linguistics professor. I've decided it is definitely a Utah word, as my mother and husband are from Utah and we both grew up hearing and using it. Posts on blogs have confirmed this. I am researching it for my partner in a school project in my MA program. He is Polish and likes to collect interesting words and idiom. Who knew it would bring me full circle back to my roots?

12/01/2009 07:19:00 AM  
Blogger Dr J said...

I've stumbled on an erie phenomenon peculiar to the internet and the place that Google has turned it into by its ubiquitous monopoly on search algorythims. I have a friend I communicate with in Switzerland (I'm in Utah/Nevada) and I, without thinking, used the word my mother got from my grandfather etc.

He wrote back and asked if it was similar in meaning to the word he uses in Switzerland "komplett schief" (completely wrong) - by the way, did you know there is no such thing as "swiss language," there are four: German, Italian, French and Rumantsch. Actually, I didn't know; so, I looked up the translation in Google. You guessed it - I decided, while I was there, to look up skewampus as well.

Grandpa always used it in a slightly more ridiculing context - like “everything that ya-hoo does turns out all skewampus.” I’ve usually heard it used to imply: crazy, mixed up, off-camber, constructed by an idiot, out of whack, out-of-plumb, designed by the government… etc. However, one of the top ranked sites on Google said that it was NOT a word, so it was not legal in scrabble; then, however, it went on to pronounce that it was: "an adjective meaning askew or cattywampus" go figure!

HOWEVER, almost the top ranked position on the Google look up I used (define skewampus) was this very blog page!!! Even higher than all the REAL dictionary pages!

That is the twilight zone that I'm commenting on. My blog, Offroading Home ( http://offroadinghome.blogspot.com ), a site packed with real, free, offroad maps struggles - like probably all of yours - for even the glimmer of a wink from big Uncle: Google; then obviously, accidentally a completely unrelated page gets ranked in position one merely for using the word once! Of course, all of us posters who keep expanding the word usage count don't hurt either.

And, just to add icing to the cake I'm describing - when I get here, I find that there have been many others who have left their tracks here after MY SAME EXPERIENCE - namely: only being here because GOOGLE sent us here! ooooooooooh! I almost feel like I'm going to hear some spaceship thrumming then appearing over the mountain ridge and wanting to play music!

Therefore - having found this geocache, I'm also leaving something behind in the ammo box.

5/04/2011 01:48:00 PM  

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