Continuing education

There are certain things in life that, were my income substantially more fluid, I would not hesitate to pay another human being to do for me. These include cleaning the house, laundry and taxes. Then, there are a number of things that I wish I could do for myself instead of having to shell out cash to another human being. Things like changing my oil, installing a garbage disposal or, say, a new car stereo. On the short list above, I have learned (and since forgotten) how to change my own oil. I have thought about installing a garbage disposal but have an irrational fear that my hand will get eaten off somewhere in the process. And, as of yesterday, I am now a person who knows how to install a car stereo.

I should note that I did so largely unsupported by my usually supportive spouse, Chris, who was leaning heavily towards paying $50 plus parts to have the staff of Best Buy install it. But not me. I knew I could do this. I just wasn't sure how.

All I can say is, thank God for the internet. I probably wouldn't know how to use a fork if there weren't 2,000 web sites and Wikis giving me step-by-step instructions. Similarly, there are many sites that explain how to remove one car stereo and install another.

It gets a bit tricky though, when it comes to matching up the wire harnesses on your factory installed model with your new unit. Didn't that sound impressive? I said "wire harness." Fantastic! But after a few phone calls and trips to Auto Zone, Best Buy and Home Depot and a quick lesson on wire stripping from the ol' ball and chain, I succeeded.

By the end of the day, the stereo/CD player (the only salvagable part of the dearly departed Saturn) had replaced the faulty factory stereo/CD player in our new used 2002 Toyota Corolla. And it WORKS!

I get a strange thrill from doing this sort of thing. I'm very much not a handy person, so when I can accomplish something like this, something that involves wires and tools and a little grunting, I feel like I've been endowed some sort of super powers. I feel like I could fix anything. It scares Chris. He starts glancing protectively at all our major appliances when I get that gleam in my eye.

I'm pretty sure that the buffoons who provide you with "professional installation" of your car stereo at the big box stores probably do not jump up and down like little girls with every successful install. But I did. And Chris just looked at me.

"Aren't you excited?" I said. "Don't you want to know how to do things like this?" He shrugged.

"There are other things I'd like to know how to do more than install a car stereo," he said.

"Like what?" Track down white collar criminals? Single-handedly uncover huge stock fraud rings? Oh, wait. He already knows how to do that.

"Like install flooring."

"We already know how to install flooring," I said, pointing at the gleaming Pergo floors.

Chris just smiled and walked away. Which doesn't really mean anything. In fact, now that I've typed it, I understand that that none of the conversation really bears repeating. But it's too late for that, eh? Maybe my point is that it doesn't seem that he afforded the amount of respect and reverence to a person who knows how to install a car stereo.

But that's just kind of the cross I have to bear.