service member makes heart with fingers while facetiming

Guest Blog: Taking Charge as Mrs. Fix It


Blogger Biography: After a very long hiatus from the military (let’s just say more than 10 years), Shannon’s husband re-enlisted and they began their first journey as a military family for this time. With two homeschooled kids, a slightly insane border collie mix puppy, a penchant for skiing and homesickness for Texas, military life has proven to be an adventure so far!

When my husband was away at training to re-enter the military after a double-digit year hiatus, I kept a journal with letters to him and the stories that unfolded managing two kids and a very big house with no help. Those were some of the longest months of my life.

Dear Babe:

You know the various building shows that the boy likes? Well, I’m living that now. All the things that didn’t break or need to be fixed before you left have decided to break as soon as I no longer had a live-in handyman.

Can we fix it? YES WE CAN! I am now a cross between Handy Manny and Bob the Builder, except I have a cute purse instead of a tool belt. And heels instead of work boots, but those kind of suck to climb ladders with.

Love, Me

When my husband headed out for several months, he tried to make sure everything was set so that I wouldn’t have any major things to do around the house other than organizing and packing for our eventual move. We have a guy to take care of the pool, a sweet friend offered to cut our lawn and another friend, a mechanic, promised to be over at the first sign of any car issues. In theory, everything should have gone along just swimmingly until he returned home.

But in the process of taking care of everything major, we did forget about a few minor details. One of the garage door openers went out. I managed to pry it open with a knife, not cut off any fingers and replace the battery after a trip to the store where my kids h h had to play a fun game of “Match the little flat battery to the ones on display.” We had light bulbs go out, which I managed to change without electrocuting myself or shattering bulbs on the tile floors. I’ve managed to get the garbage out weekly, water the lawn and gardens, and pay the bills—basically all of “husband jobs” around the house without any major mishaps. I’ve even built things with the kids for the fun of it.

And then the noise started. BEEP.

At first, it was intermittent. One beep here, one beep there. Here a beep, there a beep…Then suddenly, everywhere a beep, beep!

Oh yes, it was one of the many, many, many smoke and carbon monoxide detectors sprinkled throughout our home. And when one is beeping, it seems like the number of possibilities are infinite. With a bit of help from my daughter, Faith, I narrowed it down to the two systems right outside my bedroom door. This was both good and bad. They weren’t located on one of the ridiculously high vaulted ceilings in Faith’s second floor bedroom, but they were still located on a ceiling that I couldn’t reach by standing on a regular chair. And the beeps were really hard to ignore, considering I had to sleep in that room, so the batteries had to be changed as soon as possible.

I puzzled over this for a bit, then decided to bring in the ladder from the garage. Again, I enlisted the help of my daughter, who announced that since the ladder had cobwebs on the bottom, she wouldn’t touch it, but she’d hold the door for me instead. I set the ladder up, kicked off my heels and climbed up. (What, did you think I’m crazy enough to climb a ladder in heels?) I stood with my head between the smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector and BEEP! I nearly fell off the darn ladder because it was really, really loud up there. However, I was no closer to narrowing it down to one of the two devices, although I was now several steps closer to deaf.

Faith fetched me the last nine-volt battery in the house, and since I couldn’t figure it out, I changed out the smoke alarm first. All clear, and BEEP! OK, it’s not that one. I took out the new battery, put back in the old battery and changed the battery in the carbon monoxide detector. I started to climb down the ladder, and BEEP! So, I switched it again. BEEP! And again. BEEP! I pressed the reset button. BEEP, BEEP, BEEP! For the love of God, why won’t this noise stop???

At this point, with only 25 percent of my original hearing left, I decided that it must be both devices and I needed another battery. BEEP, BEEP, BEEP! We didn’t have any. BEEP, BEEP, BEEP! I found my heels, grabbed my kids (BEEP, BEEP, BEEP), got in the car (where there were finally no beeps) and drove to the store. I bought the extra-large jumbo pack of nine-volt batteries that cost more than a week’s worth of groceries and headed back home where I was once again greeted by BEEP, BEEP, BEEP! I set the ladder back up, kicked off my heels once more, climbed up and switched out the batteries in both devices, all while losing another 10 percent of my hearing.

Then, all of a sudden, blessed silence. There were no beeps here. There were no beeps there. There were no beeps anywhere. The house was actually quiet. And, by this point, it’s not like I had enough hearing left to really care if there were any other noises, just as long as there were no beeps.

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