When a new romance comes your way, there’s always that sweet honeymoon phase. The one where they want to impress you with their abilities and their prowess with tools. During the honeymoon phase it all seems romantic and endearing in a cave-mannish way, but relationships come and relationships go. Meanwhile, cars are expensive and your home is your sanctuary – one you’ve invested real money to have. Do you really want their help? I’ve learned the hard way that it pays to think carefully before allowing romantic partners to help you with your car or your home. I’m sure there are many women out there who have had even harsher lessons than me. Ask yourself these questions before you give anything the green light.

Do they really know what they’re doing?

During my last relationship, I allowed him to replace my front brake pads. Now this is something I do know how to do, but normally my dad does it for me because he just can’t stand to see a woman doing physical work. This time I figured it would save my dad some work, so hey why not. The next day the front end of my car sounded horrible, like the wheels were going to fall off. I had to have it into the shop for something else – probably an e-test. I asked the mechanic to take a look. He advised I needed new rotors. I went and bought the rotors and went to my parents house. My dad and I ended up putting the new rotors on, but in reality all the brakes needed was for the pin the pads ride on to be pulled out and cleaned. It didn’t end there though, because when I went home I had to deal with a pouty he-man wanna be. These days the only people who work on my car are me, my dad, and my mechanic – period.

Are you going to end up with what you wanted or what they wanted?

There is a certain beauty to paying someone to do the work you can’t do yourself. The very nature of being a paying customer entitles you to have things done the way you want them done, or at least be provided with a reasonable explanation of why it can’t be done that way. Case in point, the electrical outlets in my bathroom are in completely the wrong place and not much else is the way I wanted it either. My ex – the plumber – did everything the way he wanted it. Trust me, I get pissed off every time I clean that bathroom because in my mind it’s all wrong. As far as doing it yourself – well obviously it’s going to be exactly right isn’t it?

Can you handle having the work they did for you thrown in your face?

Some relationships last for the long haul, while some devolve faster than others. Once you’ve hit the point where you’re still together but keeping score on every little thing, past efforts made for your benefit become fair ammunition to win an argument. It’s nice to think that will never happen to you, but I’ve had relationships that seemed perfect at the beginning quickly hit the point where I might as well have nailed a score card over the damn bed. And if score-keeping in the bedroom is acceptable, don’t think that bit of work they did on your house won’t come up during any argument they think they’re losing.

If things don’t work out, can you handle living with their stamp on your house?

A fresh coat of paint in a new color can do a lot to eliminate the ghosts of relationships past, but like the bathroom my ex built, sometimes work done by a past lover just keeps fueling your anger over past failures. And just as I have to live with siding permanently stained by a former boyfriend who didn’t understand the difference between insecticide and insect repellant, you will have to live with those reminders if things go wrong. Consider carefully, because you don’t want to have to move just because of a failed relationship.

FYI – Never spray Deep Woods off on vinyl siding. It permanently and noticeably discolors the siding.

Spicy Rice and Black Bean Wraps – homeq serviceing

Rice is such a versatile grain. Once you know the ratio of rice to liquid you can invent any recipe you want. Need a pilaf? Saute some onion, some garlic, maybe a bit of celery or mushrooms. Add your rice, your broth and a bit of frozen spinach. Maybe some slivered almonds for a bit of crunch. 45 minutes later you’ve got a side that’s much lower in sodium and chemicals than any packaged rice dish you can buy.

When I’m serving pork chops I like to make Spicy Rice and Black Beans. It’s a dish my son requested after he moved back home. I had failed to show him the proper way to make it so he was dumping a jar of salsa in rice to get the same effect and eating it in a wrap for lunch.

Coincidence being what it is, I had just seen a recipe on Pinterest for homemade Flour Tortillas. We prefer a larger tortilla so I make 8 rather than the suggested 16. Preparing the tortillas from scratch adds about a half hour to the meal preparation. The first time I tried the recipe I rolled out all the tortillas before cooking, but I’ve found as long as the first two are ready to cook I can easily roll and cook them at the same time.

Spicy Rice And Black Beans


    1/2 cup of chopped onion

    1 tbsp of minced garlic

    1-2 chopped jalapeno, either fresh or jarred.

    1 large can of diced tomatoes

    1 cup of frozen black beans or 1 can of black beans

    3/4 cup of rice

    1 cup of water

    2-3 tbsp of Club House Tex Mex seasoning mix

    1 cup of frozen corn – optional

    1 pkg of large flour tortillas

Directions: In a large sauce pan, saute onion, garlic and jalapeno in a bit of water until tender. Rinse rice under cold water until water runs clear. I used to only buy Uncle Ben’s rice until a Jamaican friend of mine showed me this little trick. Add rice, tomatoes, beans and water to the pot. Cover and simmer on low for 40-45 minutes until rice is tender and most of the liquid absorbed. Spoon rice onto tortillas and wrap.