Friday, August 18, 2006

diatribe #416

Well, I have to say for all you people slogging through day jobs: not working is fabulous.

that being said, k. and i found telling people that we are unemployed so distressing that we've resorted to "we're retired." which is pretentious, but a lot more fun.(and no, we don't have enough money to retire. sabbatical's probaly the most accurate).

So, we've spent the last week driving around the East Coast, visting friends, family, and most notably, a now-9-day-old baby, Jilas Alistaire, born to our friends. We saw him on Monday, meaning that's he's practically doubled in age by now. Crazy, eh? He's a beautiful baby.

While I am as happy and confident about moving away from DC and taking September to build a cain, the people we've come into contact with in the past week (NOT our actual friends, but more the at-party-conversations) have not been as supportive as one might think. The "that's-not-possibles" have made me wonder how many people are settling in life. People are shocked to find out the K. and I have planned our departure from DC for as long as we've lived here; they're bitterly incredulous that we're not hiring construction crews to build a one-room cabin without electricity or plumbing; and strangely, they're resentful that we've saved enough to take a few months off without wiping ourselves out financially.

How have we come from a nation where people strode into the wilderness and created homes with handtools and old-fashioned labour to a society where unjamming a sink requires a plumber and knowing how to run a chainsaw makes one a woodsman? Now, granted, I still don't know how to use my $35 sewing machine. I've never canned in my life. But I've learned how to use woodtools, weedwhackers, and I can cook-- that puts me significantly ahead of most people, and I have big plans to keep aquiring more skills. My husband, blessed to come from a family where people know how to do things, regularily astonishes people with his ability to work on his car, do drywall, install water heaters, rebuild lawn mowers, and the like.

What's interesting is that domestic skills-- and yes, domestic skills involve screwdrivers and drills as well (domicile means house, not women's work)-- but anyway-- domestic skills have become vilified. Women are afraid to learn to cook and clean, and they don't replace those pretty necessary household tasks with the other duties, such as car maintenance, gardening, etc.

My beef isn't with people eating take-out, or getting their oil changed at Jiffy Lube. It's about the mentality that we are not capable of taking care of ourselves, and so we pay, pay, and pay for everything. For cooking. For food itself, because we're too lazy to grow it. For oil changes and fuse replacements. For someone to clean our toilets.

I don't know how to build a cabin, but my husband's read some books, done some things with his hands, and I'm a good follower. We're willing to learn.

There's a great how-to section at the library. Which, incidentally, is free to join.

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