Amanda Hopper Writes

A writer's tale of living and working in the country.

A Woman in a Man’s World

Wow. It’s like watching peacocks. As I have mentioned before, every week there is some major crisis with the building process. Looking back over each one of them, I have realized that they all begin with the fact that I, a woman, am trying to navigate the world of manly men. There is a very delicate balance of letting the peacocks strut, whilst still getting what you want. Admittedly, I have not mastered the balance.
Andy works a lot. A LOT. So I am entrusted to handle the everyday details and conundrums that present themselves. It’s like trying to find your way in a foreign country and you can’t speak the language. I could swear that I have made myself completely clear… and they nod like they understand. But it’s always wrong, so so wrong. So I strap on my muck boots and start wading. This must be why God blessed me with a strong willed husband and three strong willed boys. I have learned when to bite my tongue and when to refuse to be moved over the years. Dealing with male Contractors is testing my limits. Wondering what brought on this newest rant? Cows. Longhorns with very long horns to be exact.
Last week we were working on building a shed. As we were silently screaming at the shed manufacturers, three longhorns sauntered onto our property. One of them is not so friendly. We later conveyed the story to our builder and he proceeded to freak out. His fear was completely sound, the cows are gonna ruin materials. It might be hoof prints in the concrete floor, or walking through a newly framed first floor. Hmm. I can honestly say that never occurred to me. But he’s right, they walked around like they owned the place. They have the law on their side and their bovine brains seem to know it. We can’t do anything but keep them out with a fence. So the second installment of fencing begins. Except that the brush is so thick that we can’t build a fence. So we hire a manly man to clear a swath with a bobcat.
I meet the Contractor and I literally walk him around the perimeter, describing the project. He nods, and even asks to borrow our new chainsaw. I oblige him, even running into town to get chainsaw oil. I double check that he has everything he needs, discuss one more time what needs to be done..I’ve learned to double check, then I head back home. Twenty-four hours later, the result is that only one side has been cleared. After nicely confronting him with this information, he says “I thought you only wanted the side cleared.”
So I nicely remind him, ” Well it doesn’t do much good to only fence the side if they can just walk through the front…”
That stumped him.
“Yeah, I guess I see your point.” he says. He agrees to come back Saturday morning to finish the work.
I relay the information to Andy and he becomes unglued. He has to start the fencing Thursday, not Saturday.
So I start calling other manly men to find someone to finish what should have already been done. I find a nice gentleman with a bobcat. And he can stop by later the same day on his way home. Great! Ian and I drop everything, again, and head over to the farm to meet the lifesaver. He walks with me as I talk to him like a kindergartner. It’s not his fault, but fool me once you know? He unloads his bobcat and I head home. I have not been back to check his work. I am afraid to look. Andy will be going by tonight to mark posts and he can look. And maybe I won’t answer my cell phone when he calls…

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