Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Because girls are worth power tools

I have spent 20 years trying to gift The Husband with power tools that he doesn't want to have and most certainly doesn't want to use. I have done this in the sneaky, indirect attempt to get what I want: a finished Honey-Do list.

Well, ladies (and gents), it's so not working.

When The Sister came and helped me paint my kitchen (before The Flood), she brought along her automatic battery powered screwdriver. Before that, when we were doing the refacing part of the project, she brought along her pneumatic brad gun.

I was terrified of the brad gun, and only slightly less intimidated at the prospect of using the battery-powered screwdriver. That's funny, really, because I grew up with a mom who did not move furniture around walls ... she moved walls around furniture.

But I was the littlest, and the baby, and everybody worried that I wasn't strong enough, and so I was given the all important job of fetching jugs of ice water and tea and lemonade.

After 20 years of THAT, I can fetch you a brilliant glass of lemonade, yes, ma'am. Power tools? Eh, not so much.

While we were putting on the hinges for the doors, The Sister handed The Kiddo the battery powered screwdriver and said, "Go to it, girlie." I looked on in horror, because of course The Sister doesn't have small fry of her own (just 30 kids that she teaches during the school year), so she wouldn't know that it was a Bad Idea To Give The Kiddo A Power Tool.

But then I thought, "Self, you have taught The Kiddo how to use your santoku knife to chop veggies, so maybe The Sister isn't so crazy."

The Sister wasn't so crazy.

(The Kiddo using a power drill on her SECOND project -- a kitchen that's not mine!)

It was a humbling experience, seeing The Kiddo tackle something that intimidated me. But it was also liberating. If a nine-year-old kid could do it, then surely I could tackle my fears of power tools and that Honey-Do list on my own.

Then my dad let me borrow his shop vac to suck up the water during The Flood, and I was hooked. I'd never bought The Husband a shop vac, because he wouldn't have appreciated it, and honestly, I couldn't think of why I'd benefit from one.

Not so. Tawna Fenske's Pythagoras has the right idea. That little sucker is handy. It was after I'd zapped all the cobwebs off my ceiling fan blades AND vacuumed out my garage AND vacuumed out my car that I realized the ultimate truth:

Girls are worth power tools.

Now how is this connected to writing? Bear with me. You know that computer you've been limping along with, the one that still runs Windows 98 and has the browser you can't upgrade? You're worth a new one. You know how you've been putting off moving from dial-up to DSL or buying that new modem? You're worth it. That printer you want to throw out in the street? Order a new one and condemn the old one to the recycle bin. You're worth it.

You know that Honey-Do list you've been nagging Hubby about? Grab that power drill and learn how to use it. What's the worst that could happen? (OK, I'm a writer, so we really don't want me thinking about the worst because I'll come up with a humdinger, so let's rephrase that -- what is most likely going to happen?)

Archimedes said that given the right lever, and a place to stand, he could move the earth. Well, I'm here to tell you, Archimedes knew a thing or two about how much more efficient we could be if we just had the proper tools to work with. And he would have LOVED power tools.


Piedmont Writer said...

When we were kids my dad built a house -- with my brothers. When we were teens my dad built a house -- with my brothers. Same was true when we were adults. I was the "fetcher". Fetching tools and nails and basically staying out of the way.

Then I moved out and began to build my own stuff. Not houses of course, but book shelves, and wall shelves, and repairing and painting walls, and sometimes furniture. And they were crooked, and funny looking but they were mine.

Now I live in my own house, and my dad still can't believe I built my own fence. (I swear I will put up the pictures soon.) He tells everyone how I "redid" the kitchen.

Don't deprive yourself, or the Kiddo, from the joy of creating something with your own two hands. It doesn't have to feel like work, and let me tell you the thrill you'll feel when you put the bit in the drill and press the on button. Wowwee, next you'll be wanting to drive a Harley.

Kelly Breakey said...

Power Tools, they sure do rock and I am lucky my hubs is an equal opportunity weekend warrior.

No wife of his was going to sit on the sidelines, no sir, I get dirty too. And you know? It really is liberating because what I learned is that if I ever did have to kill him and bury the body...I have all the tools that I need in our fully stocked garage to get the job done.

Linda G. said...

Um, now probably isn't the right time to tell you how many theater shop interns my hubs has to take to the ER every year after power-tool oopsies, huh? (Relax. It was only one this year, and they managed to reattach the finger...)

And I'm still LOLing at Kelly's comment. Ha!

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

I'm not sure I could adore this post any more than I do.

I just wish I had a girl to give power tools to - wait! I have a niece! Done and done.

p.s. I still sport the scars on my thigh from using my dad's soldering iron and on my arm from the jet engine test apparatus I built. Hey, I didn't say I was good with the tools. :)

Tawna Fenske said...

Wow, can I borrow your kiddo to do some work around the house? She could use that drill to fix my broken light fixture. And the cracked deck railing. And my busted picture frame. And...


Cynthia Reese said...

Anne, I think a big part of my problem was that I was impatient with my rather lumpy results of any project that I did ... I compared it to the more polished efforts of the REAL handy-people in my family. But you're right! It IS fun!

Kelley, you are a riot!

Linda G, my comic-book-violence writer's imagination can supply all the horrid bad endings ever needed, thank you very much. And glad they re-attached the finger!

Susan, thanks! And the highest compliment I could possibly have, that I've inspired you to give power tools to your neice! Yay! (Just, er, not a soldering iron, maybe?)

Tawna, not quite yet ... I'm in need of quite a few things 'round the house myself ... but maybe someday soon?

Patty Blount said...

I admit, I find power tools... intriguing, particularly my husband's cordless Makita drill, which doubles as a screwdriver when needed.

I built myself a pot lid rack. Yep. *pats back*

I also assembled the last Ikea purchase; one of those TV surround cabinet thingies... I put my son's bed in it, instead of the TV, though.

But you'll need to explain that knife to me...

Julie Weathers said...

Will and I gutted the last house to the outside walls and rebuilt it. We rebuilt walls, installed windows, put in duct work, insulation, sheetrock, hand built all the cabinets and installed them. painted, wallpapered and wainscoted.

When it comes to construction, there's nothing a woman can't do. Just as I think all boys should know how to cook, clean and do laundry, so should all girls know how to do home maintenance.

Good for Sis and Kiddo.

Margo Berendsen said...

does a new iPad count on the power tool list? he he

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