Not Aging Gracefully

All my life I have been independent, self sufficient. My Dad insisted on that, no matter what I decided to do with my life. He taught me to do things that would make most women cringe or at least gave me the confidence to tackle the job without calling for help. I have removed, unclogged, and reset a toilet when Son 2 flushed a plastic toy. I have replaced a garbage disposal when it failed, installed deadbolts, replaced the battery in hubby’s Harley, helped son retrieve a part that fell down in the diesel engine of his truck where he couldn’t reach, run a plumbing snake under the kitchen sink after taking all the traps and pipes apart. Removed mice from traps, caught snakes to relocate, erected fencing, split firewood. Google has been a boon, you can find a video to do just about anything. But, it is getting harder for me to contort my body into cabinets or to lie on the cold concrete floor of the garage for any length of time anymore. My strength isn’t what it was, and after a broken wrist, wrist surgery years later on that wrist, there is no power in that hand any longer. This has caused me no small amount of frustration of late. Trying to take down and rebuild garden and chicken fencing totally overwhelmed me and I quit. I’M NOT A QUITTER. Trying to put the belt on the riding mower nearly brought me to tears, only to find out it was the wrong belt after conceding to help by my neighbor. He fought to get the belt on and it was so tight, the mower would not turn over. He removed the belt and the mower started right up. He and his wife are getting me a new, correct belt today and I will let him install it. With being confined to home doesn’t help my emotional state in dealing with these setbacks. I want to be able to do the things that I did 50 years ago, or even 5, but it is getting harder all the time. I am young for my age, strong for my age, but I am neither young enough nor strong enough to do some of the things I want to do, things I used to do. I hate asking for help. This morning after yesterday’s climbing over the washer and dryer, squatting and lying on the garage floor, yanking the pull cord on the mower, I am sore and yet, did not accomplish anything positive for it.

On a brighter note, today as I was about to prepare our lunch, along the edge of the woods at the very back of our property I spotted a black animal. Grabbing the binoculars that hang by the French doors, I could see that it was a young black bear, happily feasting on something it found. This isn’t a great picture because it was at least 250-300 yards away and I zoomed, cropped, and zoomed again. The little bear was small, probably a yearling. It has been several years since we have seen a bear up here.


After lunch, I drove the riding mower back up to the neighbors’ house and towed the gas mower. When I tried the gas mower at his house, it started right up even though it wouldn’t start at home. I left the riding mower and pulled the mower back to the house. I have mowed around the house, one mower width and mowed the actual front yard. I tackled the weed wacker and after about 25 pulls on the cord and almost giving up, it started and I edged around the house and wall in the back. I still want to get inside the wall and around the garden, but I wore out. I will finish the job later and finish mowing the rest of the yard when I get the riding mower back, so grateful to my neighbors.

Self sufficiency to frustration

My brother, after reading about our dryer issues, did some research on a possible quick fix. I was willing to try it, so the dryer was pulled out, unplugged, and the grime that built up under it vacuumed and wiped away. The vent hose was unhooked to pull it out farther and the access port opened on the side. It got a thorough vacuuming inside, but the reset button in the video wasn’t there. Oh well, it is now clean. The vent hose was cleaned out and reattached, it was plugged back in and I had to use the side of the washing machine and the log wall to monkey climb back out. The rack dried clothing from yesterday, though washed and air dried, still had a lot of dog hair on it. I guess the dryer does more than dry the clothes. I tossed hubby’s undies, tees, and socks in the dryer with a slightly damp kitchen towel to try to soften them up and remove hair, and jostling the dryer around must have done something because the clothes were warm when I opened the door.

Before I tackled that job, I tried to put the new belt on the riding mower. There is a nice diagram to show how each pulley interacts with the belt. The belt was removed from the cardboard sleeve and it didn’t want to straighten out. It was twisted in thirds and so stiff. Back in the house to Google how to deal with that and back out to fight with it more, since Google was not helpful. It told me how to put it on, but not how to relax the tight bends from it’s packaging. I got the belt on the deck pulleys, but can’t get it around the engine pulley. I guess I’m going to beg the neighbor’s help and keep my social distance.

Tried to get the gas mower started to mow around the edges in the meantime, but no go on that either. I’m afraid to even try the weed wacker. I guess I should have taken all three pieces of equipment to the shop last fall, but I didn’t. The dryer will require a call in if it quits heating again. But not until this virus subsides.

There was a time in my life when these little frustrations drove me to a solution, but somethings just require help.

Since I can’t mow and it is too windy to garden again, I have spent a lot of quality time with my spindles.

The weekend is nice, maybe one of the mowers will be working and the wind will die down enough to work in the garden.

Making do

When you can’t go out and they can’t come in, you make do. Beginning a few weeks ago, our clothes dryer was taking longer and longer to dry clothes, then over the weekend when I washed sheets and our quilt, it worked for 2 1/2 hours and still didn’t get it dry. Fortunately, I bought a huge drying rack from the Amish furniture store after we moved here. I thought that someday, I would get a clothes line up, but never did. The quilt was folded in half and draped over the rack to finish drying overnight. Knowing that the heating coil has likely failed, laundry is being done more often and in smaller loads and hung on the rack. Also some time in the past, I purchased another rack that hangs over the clothes dryer.

Someday, I will get the dryer repaired.

Along with the dryer failure, I ran out of dish soap. I am a soap maker, so a DIY moment and a bottle of liquid dishsoap was made this morning.

With the pandemic, and the stay at home orders, the panic buying and the changing suggestions, hand sanitizer and masks are impossible items. I grow aloe and still had a bottle of Isopropyl alcohol, so two small bottles of hand sanitizer were made. First we were told not to wear masks, now the recommendation is to wear one if you have to be out as they now believe that the virus can be spread even by breath. I had some cotton fabric that I had purchased for lining a woven bag and had entirely too much. A quick search online provided patterns for DIY masks.

Though we aren’t going out, if it becomes necessary, at least we will have a mask. Two layers of the cotton with a layer of a bandana in the middle and we have 3 layer masks.

Make do when you need to.