We all know how it works; the minute our husbands leave is when the universe decides that crap is going to hit the fan. Car issues, overflowing toilets, broken water heaters, you name it. If something can go wrong, it will be when they are gone. “When the pilot’s away, shit starts to go cray,” as the saying goes. You’ve never heard that saying before? Ok, I may have just made it up two minutes ago. Feel free to mutter it under your breath as something inevitably breaks and you’re the one stuck dealing with it.
Meanwhile, your husband is lounging poolside with half his crew, pretending to commiserate with you over the phone while he orders some food from his new buddy Jeff the waiter. Screw you Jeff, I am trying to discuss important things with my husband! No he does not need anything else, but feel free to offer him assistance when I come through the phone and strangle him. Jeff must sense my wrath, because I don’t hear him anymore.
If that scenario sounds familiar at all, then this list may be perfect for you! I’ve compiled a list of 10 things that you should be able to do when your husband is gone. Because let’s face it, we need to know how to handle stuff, it’s for the benefit of everyone. Who wants to be stuck on the side of the road with a flat tire when you can just roll up your sleeves and change it yourself? Not me. And I don’t want that to be you, either.
Some of these I knew already, and some of them I needed a refresher course with. My husband seemed happy that I wanted to learn, and was eager to teach me. It was actually kind of fun! And there’s a certain peace of mind that comes with the knowledge that you can fix things. Yes you! You can do ALL of these things – and when crap happens, you’ll be able to take care of it like a boss.
Change a flat tire
If you don’t know how to do this, it’s time to learn girlfriend. And it’s really not that hard! Here’s an infographic that you should save to your phone if you ever need it.
This happened to me once as I was driving on the freeway. Blew a tire, pulled over, swore under my breath. Put on my big girl panties and grabbed the tire iron and spare tire from the trunk, and got to work. I pulled out my phone and pulled up instructions because I was nervous and I didn’t want to look like an idiot if I did things out of order.
I started loosening the bolts first before jacking up the car. Which was fine until they wouldn’t come loose. Not budging. I literally jumped up and down on the iron trying to get that stubborn bolt loose, and it wasn’t going anywhere. Just then, a good Samaritan pulled up (and I was ready to kick his ass if needed) and introduced himself. Thank God he was a super nice guy, let me know he had a wife and kids, and went to loosen the bolts for me. Guess what? He couldn’t get them either. He said they had been tightened with a machine (probably during a tire rotation) and the only way to get it off was with some sort of electric bolt unscrewer (very technical term). Which he just happened to have in his car!! Moments later, he brought it over, and finished changing my tire.
Sometimes even when you know how to do something, you still need help. I took his info and ended up sending him and his wife a thank you card with a restaurant gift card in it. He was a lifesaver!
If I had known what I know now, I would check the bolts to make sure that I could get them off. My husband has checked mine to make sure, so now I should be able to change any of them with no problem.
Reset the breakers
Have you ever been drying your hair and popped a breaker? Knowing where to find the breakers and reset them (and reset the right one, haha) is essential. Go out to the side of your house (it can also be in the basement or garage)and find the breaker box, or have your husband show you where it is. Once you open it, they should be labeled so you know which switch goes to what. The popped one will be the one in the “off” position, or in between on and off. Just switch it over to the other side and there you go! Easy right?
How to jumpstart a car
I haven’t had to do this yet, but I’m sure there will come a time when it will come in handy to know how. Here’s another awesome infographic from drivingmamas.com to help you if you need to know how.
You can find a free printable of it on their blog which is here: http://www.drivingmamas.com/how-jump-start-jumper-cables-printable/
How the house alarm works
When I was 5 months pregnant with my son, we were living with my in-laws while we were buying our first house. One stormy night I was alone and had just gotten into bed when the house alarm went off. I was scared as hell that someone had broken in – and I couldn’t shut off the alarm! I knew how to set it and disarm it – normally. But no one had bothered to show me how to turn it off if it was actually going off! The normal code wasn’t working and at the time it wasn’t being monitored so there was no phone call. I tried calling my husband but to no avail – I finally had it where the alarm was no longer sounding but it still wouldn’t reset. I was done at that point. Scared and shaken, I packed a bag and stayed at my dad’s house that night. Screw it, I was out of there! By the way, it turned out that the wind had been so strong it moved the door just enough to separate from the sensor. Ugh.
Now that we have our own alarm, I know exactly how to set it and what to do if that ever happens again. We also have a better alarm that I can set from my phone, even in bed. It’s awesome, especially because we have a 2 story. The last thing I want to do is trudge back downstairs to set it. And of course it’s monitored – they literally call us within 10 seconds if it goes off. It gives me that extra feeling of security which is definitely helpful when my husband is gone.
How to shut off the water
I just had Scott show me how to do this today. Interestingly, for our house there is a lever for the house water, and a different lever for the yard/outside water. I never would have known. Or, let’s be honest, cared. But the more you know the more prepared you are!
How to unclog the sink/toilet
You haven’t lived until you’ve scooped toddler poop out of an overflowing toilet. Clogged toilets and sinks are pretty much at the top of my hate list. One time our garbage disposal went out and sent crap flying out of the sink. That one I couldn’t fix, but I have been able to unclog it. Here is a tutorial just for you, should you need it.
Toilets are even worse. Of course you’re going to start with a plunger, but what if that doesn’t work? Here is a link to help.
I actually had to use the wire hanger once – and finally got it! I was so happy I didn’t have to wait for my husband to get home.
How to change a smoke detector
One of the most annoying things you can hear in the middle of the night (besides a crying baby) is the dreaded smoke detector chirp. I had one go off at 5 am a few weeks ago, and I almost ripped it out of the ceiling I was so irritated. This is one of those things you should know how to do before disaster strikes. Because fumbling around in the dark should only be done under the covers.
How to fix/put together small projects
I love to put things together. I have built numerous projects, including my son’s toy organizing shelf, the bench at the foot of our bed, the glider in the nursery, and all kinds of other things. I love my son’s reaction when he sees that I built something. I even have my own toolkit, and it’s pink! This was mostly because I get really tired of looking for tools and having them strewn all over the house. My husband is super handy and can fix almost anything, but organization is not his strong point. So I got my own tools and now I always know where they are! I have done countless small fixes around the house, and I just love that I don’t need my husband to do it for me.
Did you know that Home Depot offers free workshops? They do! They even have one called “Do It Herself” designed specifically for women. And they have kids workshops too! I decided that one weekend I’m going to take Parker to one so we can build something together. How fun!
How to use a fire extinguisher/How to get out of the house in a fire
Have you ever needed to use a fire extinguisher? Probably not. But it’s also a good thing to know. (And you should have them in your house – we just ordered some!) Another one to file under “just in case”. I was lucky that I was trained as a flight attendant how to use them and feel comfortable using any kind. If you haven’t been trained to use one, that’s totally ok. It’s easiest to remember the acronym PASS, which stands for:
Pull the pin (This releases the locking mechanism.)
Aim at base of fire (Don’t shoot at the flames, you have to kill what’s feeding the fire, which is at the bottom.)
Squeeze the trigger (Shoot it! Shoot it now!)
Sweep from side to side (Gotta get it all! Read your fire extinguisher’s instructions for how far away you should shoot.)
As I was writing this, Scott mentioned that we should have a fire plan to go along with this. Good idea honey! I knew I married him for a reason.
Do you have a fire plan for when your husband is gone? We have a two story house, and most of the bedrooms are upstairs. If we have a fire, after I
freak the fuck out calmly assess the situation, I will have to get both kids and myself out. My first option is to get out by going downstairs. But if that’s not safe, we’re going to have to go out a window. So, we just ordered some fire ladders from Amazon today. See? I’m doing this with you.
How to call for help!
Like I mentioned before, sometimes even if you know how to do something, you still need help. Or it could be something so major that you have no choice but to call a professional. In that case, it’s essential to keep a list handy for those “just in case” scenarios. Create a list with your husband by going through and choosing a group of trusted people together. Together being the key word. He can’t come back at you and say you shouldn’t have called so-and-so if you have preselected people to call. Am I right?! (You may find out like I just did that your home warranty covers some things – like the water heater, pool, and air conditioning. Who knew?! Not me – so I added them to the list.)
Here’s who I have, feel free to make your own list!
– Home warranty
(They are call first, if they don’t cover it, I move to the next qualified person.)
My list is pretty short obviously. But there’s not much else I would need to call for, so it works for me. For now anyway. I may kick myself later for not adding someone I didn’t think of while something crazy goes on in the background. But at least it will make a good blog post!
As a bonus, here is a FREE “Who To Call” printable I made just for you!! Post it on your fridge or put it in a drawer to keep handy. I made it pretty though, so you should really put it on the fridge. Just sayin’.
Anything you would add to this list of what you should know how to do without your husband? Comment below!!
The Flight Wife