I’m very excited to put an effort into a blog. I am a writer by passion (and degree) and knew I had to write down this journey, but I didn’t know where. Thanks to Judy Browne for the invitation to blog here!
The idea to become handy came around New Year’s Eve. While everyone else was making resolutions about weight loss, smoking and not flipping folks the bird on the expressway, I was busy making a bucket list. It’s amazing the lack of commitment you discover when you try to make a “to-do before you die” list. I was hesitant to put down things like “learn a new language” because the program I wanted, The Rosetta Stone Series, costs hundreds of dollars and would take time to learn. Visit the Pyramids…that was just a money issue. I reflected on how long my home repair list was growing. This list resides in the kitchen for …well for the magical handyman who was going to show up on my front porch one day.
I thought about the light switch in the bedroom that works 30% of the time, the sewage backing up into the dishwasher that I paid a down-on-his-luck repairman $130 to fix (he returned 9 months later, asking for more money to complete the job). I thought about the boarded up hole in the front of my house where the previous residents decided to put the swamp cooler. I thought about the hundreds of dollars we paid to each of the half a dozen furnace repairmen before we had to bite the bullet and buy a new furnace (on which I’m still making payments at 9%). I decided I would learn to be handy. I researched it online and found www.womensworkshop.com. I was elated. A woman teaching other women how to be handy! I decided come hell or high water I would start taking classes. I had to dip into my savings, but I paid for “Power Tools” and “Basic Carpentry” the first week of March 2010.
Now the excitement grew. I would lie awake in bed with lists of questions. I’ve had “monkey chatter” for the last decade now. My husband falls asleep within seconds of going horizontal. I lie awake with thoughts like...I think I put one of my own books in the return slot at the library… I’ll have to call them and let them know…I need to buy a bag of potatoes so I can make stew in the crock pot this weekend…I think I saw them on sale…79 cents for a 10lb bag…was it in the Safeway ad?…or was the King Soopers? No, it was that Mexican grocery store I’m too afraid to go in because they asked for a permit to kill live chickens…
and so it goes. This “monkey chatter” doesn’t quiet down on its own. I just fall asleep from exhaustion. It was during one of these chatter nights that I thought about the classes for which I had just signed up. I had read the instructions and frequently asked questions over and over. I knew not to wear dangling, expensive jewelry. I didn’t have to worry about needing to tie my hair back because I’d just had 6 inches cut the month prior. Should I bring gloves, my own safety glasses? That expensive tool belt collecting dust in the garage that we bought for my husband that he never laid a finger on? Should I put soap under my fingernails before class so they don’t get dirt underneath them? Did I need to take the “Home Maintenance” class as a precursor to all the other classes? Should I just jump into the electrical class? I kept updates on my excitement on my Facebook page. 7 Days until my Power Tools class, 6 days until Carpentry, and so on.
I told my husband that from now on the garage would be my domain. In the garage hangs a metal sign that reads “A man’s garage is his castle.” I informed Jason that if the tools are in the garage, then i.e….therefor… thus…the garage would have to be mine by default. The garage is just bare studs and daisy chained-electricity from the house. There is no insulation, no drywall and nowhere to put the second car it’s supposed to hold. He had the last 3 years to fix it up. He had plenty of time to be handy. Hell, he had all his life to be handy, but alas, like many men my husband’s age, he is a child of the Nintendo generation. While he was sitting on the couch building up his “Nintendo Thumb” (a callous on the thumb of a gamer that he exhibits with pride to this day), his father and grandfather were working in the garage or mowing the lawn (another skill in which he does not excel). If there had been a video game called “Extreme Handyman” we wouldn’t be in this mess. However, our home of 3 years was built in 1952 and one of us has to be handy. I decided it was going to be me.