Some of these tasks have caused me to seriously question why I ever voiced out loud my feeling that women and men should be able to do essentially the same things. For example, here is a sampling of the not-hugely-pleasant items I have done recently, that may once have belonged solely in the realm of strapping, lumberjack-style men:
1. After emptying and pulling out clogs in the Shopvac six times, I realized it was time to clean the bucketfuls of matted fiberglass insulation + raccoon poop out of the outdoor storage room with a shovel. Apparently the raccoon previously living in there had discovered the insulation made a fine nest.
2. Removed several desiccated carcasses (possum, and probably raccoon) from underneath the house with the help of a crowbar.
3. Sprayed with bleach solution and then wiped up by (gloved) hand an entire bucketful of rodent poop throughout the house.
4. Dug up a cubic yard of contaminated soil from the backyard where someone had tried (illegally and disgustingly) to dispose of motor oil by pouring it into the ground and kicking dirt over it.
5. Fought with our sewer line for 2 days:
(a) Removed the toilet and tried to clear the stopped sewer drain using a hand-driven auger (snake) for two hours. I learned to stand far back from the open, sloshing sewer line when removing and cleaning the end of the snake after the first time it sproinged out and splattered everything in the vicinity.
(b) Obtained sulfuric acid and tried, unsuccessfully again, to clear the drain by dissolving the clog with noxious chemicals.
(c) Called our neighbor the plumber, whose motorized equipment solved the problem in 20 minutes.
(d) Replaced the toilet, crooked.
(e) Removed the toilet again, bought a new wax ring, and replaced it once more.
(f) Decided that next time I will skip all of those steps except (c).
6. Spent 2 hours unsuccessfully installing a laundry sink in our kitchen and swearing like a sailor before the husband pointed out I had the p-trap on backwards.
So, what have I learned aside from the fact that mice running past my feet will indeed cause me to squeal loudly and leap into the air like a cartoon character?
1. Gloves are under-rated.
2. People who clean things for a living are saints.
3. Renovating is a great workout.
4. Cleaning and construction work will destroy your clothing.
5. Walking around a construction site in bare feet is idiotic.
Maybe I should have insisted that my sex bars me from participating in any of the above activities, and instead should be supervising while eating chocolate bon-bons? I guess that would probably get boring after a while. And, I wouldn't get to take all the credit for this kind of amazing transformation: