Last week the toggle switch for my garbage disposal went kaput. It would turn on, but then not turn off. Given that the bar seats where my kids’ butts are firmly ensconced 99% of the time are within arms’ reach of the disposal, that seemed like a fairly dangerous condition to ignore. I taped up the switch so it couldn’t be activated and tried to figure out my next move. My dad was out of town. I was already asking The Ex for another household favor (with which he complied but failed sort of miserably, meaning I used up a precious favor for nothing … grrr). My other go-to guys were similarly unavailable. I almost just called an electrician, but work has been slow and there’s not a lot of extra cash lying around these days. So …
I fixed it myself. Let me preface that by saying that electricity freaks me the hell out. Always has. I have never done any kind of household repair or installation that remotely involved electricity. But this week I got online and Googled some instructions and watched a video and then just … fixed it. Ok, so yes it took me more than one attempt to figure out how to remove the old switch and yes it took me two trips to the store to get the right parts and yes the Home Depot guy was totally laughing at my complete and utter ineptitude in trying to figure out which switch I needed to purchase, but whatever. I did it. By myself. (And yes, to answer my sister’s second question after I told her of my accomplishment … it actually works.)
I know it’s not a major project and I feel a bit silly even writing about this because in hindsight, it was quite an easy job. But the thing is—I never would have attempted it if I were still married. I’d have asked The Ex to do it and if (when) he failed to get around to it I’d eventually have just called an electrician and paid him to come take care of it. Sometimes I think marriage fosters a sense of learned helplessness in both spouses. The division of household labor becomes so etched in stone that neither person branches out of their assigned roles. Over time in our marriage, I stopped doing yard work or home repairs or anything to my car. The Ex stopped cooking or cleaning or doing laundry or buying groceries. I know why that happens, but the loss of self-sufficiency that comes along with it seems ridiculously hampering in hindsight.
Replacing that light switch felt good. Score one for the divorced lady.
*Ok, so technically, it was a garbage disposal switch and not a light switch, but “Seeing The Garbage Disposal” seemed a pretty crappy title.