My mother has a way with fractions. Makes me crazy. She’ll empty 1/8 or 3/4 of the dishwasher, but I can’t think of a single time she’s ever emptied the entire dishwasher.  She’ll eat a fraction of something, leaving a spoonful or two in the container. And then eat another fraction of that. It seems like, with many things, she’d never ever get to the end of a thing, because she could always split it into a smaller fraction. Our cupboards constantly have bags with three pretzels in them. My female cat does this too— she’s not ever going to clean out her whole dish, but she’ll complain when it’s emptier than she’d like.

Maybe it was being raised in a predominantly male household early, maybe it’s just in reaction to this, but I want things all the way done. No seriously. Do not leave half a spoonful. Eat it or throw it out, but do not put it back in the refrigerator like that.

I talked with my mom about a home repair. I volunteered, even though the victory over the Kirby is freshly won, to postpone purchase of a carpet shampooer and rent a Rug Doctor® one more time to save expense so that we can get our terrible screens fixed before her sister and family visit in a month. I’ve even suggested that we tell the family that we’d like donations toward a carpet shampooer in lieu of gifts, this year, not that the carpet shampooer is even that expensive. The screens needed repairing when we bought the house, two years ago, they still do, and there are windows I won’t open, as a result. Some of these are windows I would like to be able to open without inviting the insect and arachnid world to take over, but that’s only a scenario I can explore if we get them repaired.

Mom thinks I should just do it, because it’s cheaper. This is going to sound harsh, but it’s such a good gig she has there. Uncharacteristically, I have categorically refused to do it. I have replaced a screen once and what it taught me is that (a) the fact that I’m a terrible measurer is a huge liability in this area. Also, (b) that I’m a pansy white-collar worker, and that real work tears my hands right up faster than my rate of improvement, making everything else I do more painful. I also discovered that properly installing a screen in a window frame is not as easy as it looks. I’ve DIY-ed fence painting and lawn aeration and wall painting and even most of her major computer support, but I want to pay someone to replace these screens.

She said “what if we only replaced the worst ones?” It’s a fair question, but here we are again with the fractions. We’ve done 1/4 of the repair work on the aluminum wiring in the house. If we do 1/3 of the screen repairs and 2/5ths of the handyman repair, how soon, exactly, will Auntie M lose her ever-loving mind?

Lest we go down the heartless road again, this is not a money thing. Mom primarily spends her money on donations to charity, a small fraction of our bills, and things like sending large tubs of popcorn in decorative tins to family members for minor holidays. I do the woman’s taxes— it’s not like she can’t afford to pay half the screen-guy’s bill. I’m with her that I’d rather pay for things that are more fun, but other bills have come in lower than expected, and it’s silly to live with holey screens for the rest of our days. I put it off to get through the worst of hail season, as if that’s even a thing you can predict, but we need to get it addressed, and there’s no time like the present.


2 thoughts on “Fractions

  1. Are you opposed to taking them to the hardware store and picking them up? They can be a pain to install, but that is the route I’ve always gone. Kind of splits the difference btw diy and calling someone out… I’m happier every time I get one fixed. More air movement is my jam, says the girl who needs to replace a screen in her bedroom as she writes. 😂

    • I am opposed. Her solution is that I should do everything, and it’s not reasonable. We need to outsource certain things for my sanity, and this is (somewhat arbitrarily, I admit) one of the things we’re going to outsource. It’s not necessarily that I couldn’t do it, but I for sure don’t want to, and combined with the fact that we have the resources to do so, that’s a valid enough reason.

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