I woke up a few weeks ago with this urge to buy a drill. This probably sounds absurd to hardware enthusiasts, male and female, but hardware and tools are just not intuitive for me. Since owning my own home, occasionally referred to as the magic kingdom or when things go wrong, the megatron, I have had to rely on outside help for the most trivial issues. I decided that I would learn how to use a drill as my first foray into the tool world. Going to purchase a drill, my first drill at 52 at Lowes the other day was likely how men feel walking into Sephora or Victoria Secret. Overwhelmed with choices of things I have not a clue their use.
As I walked the aisles of Lowes looking for help because I obviously needed it, I am not going to lie, I looked for a male to help me. I am totally embarrassed to write that aloud, but I am about truth so there it is, I went to Lowes and became a sexist as I patrolled the aisles looking for some burley man who looked like a tool expert. This was not hard because there were no women to be found in the tool aisle assisting other women. Only burley men and young millennial type men. I walked to the drill section where there were like five hundred drills (kind of like the lipstick options we chicks have at the Mac counter) and tried to look like I knew what I was doing if only for a brief moment.
I realized quickly that I had better let my ego go for this one quick or I would be walking out of Lowes spending more than I cared to on a drill I had no idea how to even use at this point. You see, not only did I need guidance in what drill to buy and why, but I needed guidance in how to use the drill. Double ego release because after all it is 2017. There are more DIY blogs, tv shows and pins (just recently learned that DIY means Do it Yourself, thank you Pinterest, another moment of self defacing shame) all targeted to women and clearly I have had my head in the sand for the past ten years. Well, not really in the sand, I did move four times, get divorced, had a flood in my business, oh yeah and that pesky two time breast cancer and three surgeries. I do need to give myself a break, this is clearly hard for me. Pardon the digression here.
So on to find the helper and voila, he appears like a tool God. Kind, generous, patient and most importantly, zero eye rolling. He showed me the perfect drill ($85) and off we went into the area of brackets because I seriously had the fantasy that I would be able to hang an old door outside my barn as a trellis for my first drilling project.
“Does Lowes do chick tool events?” I asked totally serious. Because as a business woman with never ending business ideas, I think Lowes is missing the opportunity to teach women like me (and I know there are thousands of us out there) who perhaps recently got divorced and found ourselves as superchick single women homeowners. I cannot stand the feeling like I can’t frickin fix something and have to call a handyman or rely on my ever patient boyfriend to add to his list an entire other home besides his own. Besides being totally embarrassed by this, it is also costly and I have to wait. Waiting as an immediate gratification chick like me is painful. When I get the idea to hang a door on my barn, I want to do it that minute or it pulsates until it is complete. I have been known to move entire bookcases alone up and down flights of stairs when I am in the mood to change things around which is often. Hell hath no fury like a woman on adrenaline who wants to move furniture.
The Lowes millennial man thought this was a great idea, but who knows if the powers that be at Lowes ever ask the people on the front lines. I know for me when I walk into Lowes going past the lighting aisle gets more intimidating by the minute. I have no idea what mostly everything at the far end of the store is used for never mind what the hell I would do with it. Lowes could teach classes on not only ‘how to’ but ‘what is.’ Like the way Whole Foods has their food coach walk around the store telling people what to do with kumquats and fiddleheads. Hardware store tool departments are simply not part of my inner compass. I wish they were, but my father was not handy so I surely didn’t learn it from him. Our family tended to hire people when shit needed to get done. My ex-husband was super handy but he wasn’t into patience so I didn’t learn much from him other than a lot of yelling about how much my five year old son understood better than I did. This was a mixed blessing though, the good thing was that I never had to really lift a finger for these tasks that are part of home ownership. The bad thing was that I never learned. So here I am at Lowes trying to figure it out one step at a time.
There is something about holding a drill for the first time and seeing my own sense of capability and power. Knowing that I can do some basic task because I chose to take it upon myself to learn it. I didn’t end up doing the barn door because it just so happened that I had a dinner party that same night with a bunch of couples who kindly volunteered (well sort of volunteer , but more like be volunteered as I presented my plan) to hang the door. I am guessing its outer appearance was kindness, but in fact they were probably scared out of their mind for me as this first project was a bit large for a first time drill run. So I stuck with drilling into a copper fire pit to make some air holes for my new fake fireplace. I learned how to un-screw and was able to take down a cabinet that I wanted to remove as one of my many items headed to Jay’s Junk. I learned that I could purchase a special drill bit to drill a plate onto a wooden stake instead of using glue. Little baby steps. Just like my days leading to my surgery, and just like my days after. Just like the way I try to approach my life when I feel overwhelmed which is often now that I own a 3900 sq. foot magic kingdom. ONE DAY AT A TIME. Sometimes it is ONE MINUTE AT A TIME. It seems like everyday I find myself asking if mercury is in retrograde or if it is a full moon when yet another appliance breaks or the air conditioner starts leaking or the internet stops for no apparent reason. And typical of life, these things always seem to happen in groups of threes, fours or fives that create a potent desire to stop the madness because at the end of the day, we are only a very brief spec on this planet.
What I do know now that I am both a proud homeowner and a proud drill carrying chick is that I am proud of myself for my choices and my life as I live it. As I move into the next phase, I am not really clear yet where I will end up, but I know it is ultimately my choice and I greatly enjoy the responsibility that is mine and only mine. There is great reward and self satisfaction in this. If I had a daughter, I would make sure she knew how to use tools, how to change a tire so that she always knew that self reliance is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children. I guess I will have to wait for a granddaughter because having a daughter phase is definitely a phase that is done with. When I went to buy the drill, I thought to myself, Fuck, if I can have my ovaries, my fallopian tubes and my breasts removed, I can learn how to operate a fucking drill. It can’t be that hard. This is power. I don’t need a cape, I need more tools.