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Labour is still, unfortunately, divided into traditional perspectives as far as the world views relationships. There are the tasks that women perform and those that are the man’s job.

Automotive issues generally fall on the man. Putting on the snow tires, changing air filters and the oil is considered the domain of men. Although, as society moves farther and farther away from vehicles that can be easily maintained in the comfort of one’s garage (and let’s be real, a having a garage, or having one that isn’t a second basement, is drifting away from the norm too), vehicle maintenance is becoming a lost art regardless.

When I was single, I maintained my vehicles by taking it to a shop and letting a professional do the work. I drove in. I hopped out, sat in the waiting area, paid the bill and left. There was the obligatory peeks at different fluids and filters that required me to nod  but for the most part, it wasn’t really a chore and no one – that I am aware of in retrospect – was actively trying to rip me off in terms of service.

During my first marriage, I maintained my independence as far as this particular man job went because my first husband really didn’t know much at all about cars. He could change the oil and tires, which was more than I could do, but we didn’t have a garage and one of his best friends, who was a mechanic, told me on the sly early on “Don’t let him fix anything. Ask me first.” Good advice that I took.

Now husband, however, is a man job professional. I really can’t think of anything that falls under the traditional umbrella of man jobs that he can’t do. Literally.

And so, I have been lazy. Don’t judge.

For all of my life, I have taken care of myself and everyone who fell under my protection. My late husband was a terrific guy, and he had his strengths, but taking care of us wasn’t one of them. I was okay with that. I like being in charge, and I am pretty bossy, so it worked out well.

But, I admit, when the opportunity arose to hand over the tasks that I have never been fond of, I took it and didn’t look back.

Today, I took the truck in for an oil change. It was in semi-urgent need. Husband is quite busy and won’t be taking much time off over the holidays, so I thought “I’ve got this”. Which I did because I simply called up Husband on the phone and had the kid at Jiffy Lube talk to him.

Seriously, how did I ever live without instant access to everyone I know?

Whenever the need arises for me to step up for oil changes, however, I am reminded all over again that most of what I know about the truck is just how to drive it. I don’t know where anything is on the dash that I don’t have to use everyday. I know little to nothing about the various settings for lights, for instance, and I forget from one time to the next how to pop the hood open.

Jiffy Lube Kid presented this and that dipstick or spot on a card for me to judge levels or colour of this and that fluid, but I honestly couldn’t tell you if they were fine or not. They appeared to hit the proper marks and have the required clearness, so I gave a Queen Elizabeth nod, and he seemed satisfied.

I can tell the difference between an air filter that needs to be changed and one that doesn’t but fortunately, Jiffy Lube never asks me to. They simply say, “This looks fine” or “This should be changed” and I give my royal assent.

Sometimes I think maybe I should pay more attention to these man jobs like vehicles and home renovations, but those thoughts pass quickly.

There’s very little about the routine chore aspect of life that’s so complicated that it requires a whole lot of stored knowledge. If I had to – like today – I manage fine. It’s an oil change. Jiffy Lube wouldn’t get too many repeat customers if it’s regular practice was to lie to people. I don’t need to know the ins and outs of differentials, transmission leaks and air tire pressure to be able to deal with issues as they arise. A lot of the information people needed to know about home and vehicle maintenance in the days of yore stemmed from the fact that many things were not as complicated as they simply were time consuming. And disposable income was not such that people could afford to have someone else do the work for them.

For me, the important thing is that Husband and I are – mostly – doing those things that we find acceptable personally. I am disinterested in renovations beyond “are you finished yet?” and he is fine with taking on the work required to update. And while he is happy never to step foot in a grocery store, I am good with being a personal shopper. Just as an example.

But it’s a curious thing, this distribution of tasks. What’s his and what’s hers. And how easily we slide into roles. Some would say this is conditioning, and they’d be right to a point. In my opinion, personality and mutual understanding plays their parts too.

I imagine Jiffy Lube Guy runs into people like me – barely interested in or aware of what is going on in their vehicles as long as they are running – all day long. Women and men.


I game. Not hardcore – unless it’s a new release or new expansion – but I game. And though it sometimes feels like I am a lone woman in the gamer’sphere, the numbers say I am not.

As of 2014, women over the age of 18 were 32% of gamers while boys under 17 made up just 17%. Men make up 52% of all games and women are the remaining 48%, which is up from 40% in 2010.

Like most teens back in the day of arcades, I hung out. I played Tetris, Centipede, Galaxian and a bit of PacMan. It was never something I actively sought out and generally, if I found myself in an arcade, it was because one of my friends had a crush on a boy who hung out at arcades.

For the record, never once did I ever have a crush on a boy who hung out at an arcade.

I got my start in the virtual game world via The Legend of Zelda almost 20 years ago now. My late husband and I had a Nintendo 64. In addition to Zelda, which I found intuitively maddening for it’s lack of sense, we had the standard Mario offerings and some racing games. Eventually the new wore off and I gave the console to my nephew, but gaming called again about a decade ago when I discovered The Sims which, lacking rules and guidance, I was able to turn into hours of distraction during some darker times in my life.

I got back into gaming the summer before last when my husband got me a PS4 and introduced me to Destiny. I’d tried a few other games, Diablo 3, played a bit of Nintendoland with the kids and took a rather pathetic shot at Mass Effect. And really, I wasn’t feeling it.

But my husband wanted us to spend virtual time together in addition to the real time we already spent, and he was sure I would like Destiny because I had enjoyed watching him play Dust 514.

As shooter games go, it’s the easiest I have ever tried. It’s first person and the graphics aren’t cartoonish, which I find off-putting. It’s one of the reasons I wanted to play Mass Effect. It had a great story line, characters that were compelling and didn’t feel like something created for children.

I am not good. Fair to occasionally average is roughly my skill level. There were things about Destiny that I’d have never completed were it not for assistance from my husband and his online comrades, but I liked the game. I liked the time he and I spend playing, and I liked his friends – who, contrary to stereotype, are nice guys.

More imaginary friends is probably not something I need but it’s where I generally end up.

Husband now thinks I should take my rather average skills to Twitch and see if anyone will watch me. Not a lot of women streaming their play, and certainly not in my age range, but I hesitate because I prefer written words to spoken, and I am dubious about my own appeal.

And I don’t do PvP, which is what most Destiny folks like to watch, nor do I care enough about the gear and loot to cater to those who nerd out on the minutia aspects of games.

PvP is virtual mortal combat against complete strangers for imaginary rewards. A person might think this would appeal to a gal who really loves online life but no. Virtually killing strangers for no particularly good reason or, in my case, being fake murdered by strangers, who then dance – and … other … things – all over my virtual corpse is not appealing.

But husband believes that my rambling commentary would suffice, but again, I am doubtful. Plus I swear. A lot. Even more than I do on Twitter.

I share all this only because I am going to rewrite a review of the latest version of the game, Destiny 2. Mostly because the whining about it has annoyed me. And I probably will record and share my gameplay at least once just to see if it is less horrible than I think it will be. So I wanted to provide a bit of background beforehand.

To sum up, old woman games and has opinions about it that she will sharing from time to time in the future. That is all.


Most everyone I know has their Christmas decorations festively strewn about their homes. Trees are up and properly adorned and the real keeners have wrapped gifts underneath.

Me? Well, I have discussed this before, my disinclination to housewifery. Decor, holiday or otherwise, definitely falls under the heading “drudgery” and I really have to work myself up to it.

This year, I am nowhere close to the loin girding necessary to clean up the spaces needed for holiday phoofery.

The problem, as I see it, is that most people look at the packed boxes of lights, ornaments and other sparkly things and they can see it on the tree, walls, shelves and every other nook and cranny. Happily they dig in. Carefully they create the festive setting. And it’s weeks later when the holidays have passed that they look around and realize that it all must be taken down and packed away again for another year.

I look at packed boxes and think “Christ, I am just going to have to repack this in a few weeks”.

I’ve been threatening my family for a couple of weeks now with “we’re going to gather around a string of lights, take presents out of plastic sacks and eat pizza” for Christmas. The teen is pretty horrified by the prospect but not so much that she is offering up her services as a decorator and so far, my husband’s protestations have been weak and unconvincing.

Christmases past, I have hinted at simply running away for the holidays but even that requires effort that I am not certain the holidays warrant anymore.

It’s not that I don’t love holidays.

The music is jolly and there is eggnog.

The teen is off from school so there are no lunches to pack or chauffeuring to do.

We sleep in. Binge on Netflix or wile away the hours with new books and gaming.

It’s not all bleak with obligation and work but what there is of that has become … un-fun.

The past few years have witnessed a steady decline in decorations and baking. Minimalist has become my middle name and not just during the holidays.

Today, I need to start excavating the living room. Reclaim the spaces devastated by never-ending reno projects and recent episodes of influenza. My preference is leaning toward stuffing garbage bags and just taking things to the dump but that’s probably overreacting. Right?

Making Christmas is not something I’ve spent much of my life doing. Until I moved to Canada, I packed up myself, and later myself and child, and drove to my parent’s. They made Christmas. My mom still does. But now it’s on me and I seriously can’t wait until circumstances allow me to offload this on one of my own kids, who aren’t exactly stepping up and volunteering at this point. And I don’t blame them.