The right tool for every job

So, I guess I own a drill. Also 15 screwdrivers in various lengths and shapes, six pairs of pliers, assorted wrenches, a level, a headlamp, and a small megaphone (in case I ever need to stand on top of some rubble and shout instructions as downtown Tucson flees the zombie apocalypse).

I didn’t own any of this before the weekend, but I moved house three weeks ago and my girlfriend J., who makes things for a living, was aghast at my dearth of tools*. I didn’t even own a hammer. So J. escorted me to Harbor Freight and treated me to a cartful of must-haves, with a little red box (like a makeup case, but  heavier) to put them in. This was my favorite part! The little red box relaxed me, which was good because I avoid all manner of home improvements. I’m afraid of the claw ends of hammers; of tearing my face open on a lube rack; of staggering into the emergency room holding my severed right hand in my left. This conviction re: my own incompetence makes me feel lame and petulant, so I’m working on it except NO FUCKING NAIL GUNS. Glue guns are OK. For Christmas wreaths. And here you see the most insidious aspect of falling out of the upper middle class.

“I don’t know where you got the idea you couldn’t do this,” J. said, clambering nimbly around my pre-OSHA exposed-rafter nightmare of a ceiling. What’s hotter than a woman who can re-route a circuit breaker; what’s sweeter than a woman with faith in your ability to do it too? Who’s more generous than a woman who doesn’t laugh when she sees you don’t know that your bathroom cabinet actually opens because the latch is sort of hidden? Who, when she has to ask if you know which way to screw in the curtain hardware, uses the kindest possible tone?

Anyway, I love my new neighborhood, which is as close as one can get to a city vibe without driving to Phoenix or losing my shit entirely and moving to LA. I’m in an old house that’s been split up into several apartments, and the windows are bigger and better-lit than I’m used to (at this point, the entire neighborhood could draw my naked breasts from memory). My street is a piquant mishmash of Greek Revival, art deco, adobe, grimy student apartments, and a couple of abandoned warehouse-y structures. Two blocks down is a funky bed-and-breakfast that looks welcoming during the day — Hello, vacationing New Yorkers in search of your desert spirit animal! Hint: it’s either a roadrunner or a bobcat —  but at night glows with sinister blue light. Very Disneyland Haunted House. I can walk to Dairy Queen; a gay(ish) bar; the food co-op; and meh-to-excellent vintage resale shops. What else is there? Oh yeah, the view:

*She may never get over the time I called the round screwdriver a “Phyllis head”).

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7 thoughts on “The right tool for every job

  1. Thank you! And I’m looking forward to calling you back, most likely on Saturday. I loved hearing from you. xo.

  2. I’ve owned tools for a long time, apparently I’m not as good using them as I think I am. I awoke one morning and decided that a niche in my kitchen needed shelves. Never mind that I didn’t have the right tools for the job; when I make up my mind to do something no obstacle matters. I gathered some suitable wood I had lying around the shed and went to work. What determination to saw through three inches of hard wood with an old rusty, not very sharp, saw. Unfortunately there was a pesky electric wire in the way, and though I was sure the wire wasn’t live (as I thought it served only a heater that had been removed earlier) I turned off the breaker and cut the wire, stuffed it down into the wall, and went to work building my shelves. Satisfied and hungry, after the job was done I discovered my fridge dead. On further investigation I found the electricity to half my house was gone. Guess I was wrong about that wire. I knew I was in over my head so I called an electrician friend of mine who laughed his head off, came over and took on what turned out to be a major pain in the ass to undo my screw-up. It is now a running joke among my friends that my tool use is like the butterfly effect and will upset the balance somewhere in the universe. I have been instructed to call everyone I know and warn them whenever I pick up a tool.

  3. “…what’s sweeter than a woman with faith in your ability to do it too?” YEAAAAAH. That is sweet. Must find women like this to be around… I’d LOVE that. We could build and fix things!Gah, fckin men, always second guessing me. I KNOW tools, duuuuddes. lol

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