When you return home, you return to a little safety net of familiarity. You'll know the majority of people you bump into while running errands and you'll pick right back up on the small town gossip. Although I live an hour away from my childhood home, I still have the same zip code that I had growing up (it has to be one of the "most area covering" zip codes in the country!) and I shop at the same grocery store as my mother and bank at an institution where my grandmother worked for 39 years. Because I've simply fallen back into "the way things always were," there's not a whole lot of "figuring it out" that has to be done on a daily basis.
Yet despite the familiarity of it all, I find myself doing things every day that I never thought I'd do.
There's the whole "learning to drive a manual transmission" thing that I think I'm finally getting a handle on. Every day, I light a fire in the wood stove, something I never did growing up. Let's not even get started on my everyday fashion. In the end, my daily apparel of wool pants, "moon boots" and Carhartt vests (Yes, I received not one, but two Carhartt vests for Christmas) isn't really the haute couture I'd imagined for myself.
And if you'd told me that one day I'd be crawling underneath the cabin to swap out propane tanks, I would have laughed in your face.
But on Saturday afternoon, I went to brown some venison (case in point). But when I turned the knob to light the burner, I was greeted by "tick, tick, tick." As the ticking continued and the burner still refused to ignite, I knew we'd run out of propane. I'd suspected we were near the bottom of the tank, since the stove had smelled slightly gassy the last couple times I'd turned it on, a sure sign that a replacement tank would be in short order.
The propane tanks are small, just the standard cylinders that you'd use for your grill. Despite their petite size, the cylinders usually last us close to four months, but as luck would have it, when the tank ran out on Saturday, Andy was again nowhere to be found.
I figured I remembered how to switch out the tanks by myself, so I threw on some shoes and headed to the shed to grab a full propane cylinder. This time of year, the ground beneath the deck is littered with sunflower seed shells and as I knelt beneath the deck I noticed four little squirrel paws pop out on the side of the deck plank right above my head.
"Living the dream," I grumbled as I sent up a silent prayer to whoever was listening that the squirrel would not defecate on my head or make a nest out of my hair while I tried to remember which way to turn the wrench. (Towards the house to loosen and towards yourself to tighten.)
The gods above must have been listen. The squirrel scampered off, oblivious of my presence and the propane tanks were swapped out in minutes By the time Andy came home, stew burbled away on the stove top.
I will not be defeated by ticking ranges. I am woman: watch me swap out propane tanks.