Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Do It Herself Toolkit

Less than a week after I graduated from college in San Diego, I was on my way to Seattle.  I had no job.  No apartment.  And no money.  But thanks to my dad, who drove a Ryder truck through three states while I slept off a semester long hangover, I DID have a "Do It Herself Toolkit." 

I'm sure in his mind, while he stood in the Target or Sears aisle, he was thinking of nothing but support for his 22 year old daughter who had just graduated college and was moving into her first apartment ... alone.  It was a practical gift from my engineering father that no doubt, was supposed to encourage me to use needle nose pliers for whatever needle nose pliers are used for instead of calling him in a panic when I couldn't figure out how to ... good GAH, I don't even know what ... something that requires tools.

However, to me, it SCREAMED a sort of "I have not been listening to you AT ALL for the last four years as you have just started figuring out not only who you are as a person, but as a woman, so let me get you this condescending GIRLY tool kit instead of JUST A NORMAL toolkit to remind you that you are just a twee little girl trying to make it in a grown up world.  GOOD LUCK, Princess."  

I smiled meekly, thanked him profusely saying 'Ohmahgah!  This is the BEST. GIFT. EVER!  Before promptly dropping him off and picking up Spleen, my college roommate, at the Seattle airport a few days later.  She hung out with me for a couple of weeks while I set up my new place.  The MOMENT I moved in, the Do It Herself Toolkit was buried under a mass of "You Go Girl!" moving guides, Cosmo magazines and most likely, many, many bottles of Berringer White Zin.  You know, ADULT stuff.

As I moved apartments (and states!) over the next 7 years, I'd pack up the Do It Herself Toolkit, each time shaking my head before throwing it into a box and shoving it into the moving van.  It was something I couldn't bring myself to use or throw away.

Fast forward to today.  

At 34, I think I've done pretty well on my own.  I've moved by myself to two different cities where I haven't known a soul and created a life for myself in each.  I bought myself a car and a house with my own money (well and the BANK'S money, but whatevs).  I have a retirement account, a savings account and donate time and money to charitable organizations, bars and ethnic restaurants regularly.  

I am proud of the life I've created.

But SSG is FAR from perfect.  And she does hold A LOT of shame over a dirty little secret.

A dirty little secret she's been wondering if she should tell you.

Should she?


Okay, cool bye!

Ok, ok ...

Come closer.

Keep this just between us?

Don't hate me.


Here goes ...

I haven't recycled since I bought my house.

Four years ago.

(SSG stops, drops and rolls from the wrath of the judgey Northwest and EVERYONE now going GREEN and OHMAHGAH, blame GLOBAL WARMING ON THAT GIRL RIGHT THERE.  It is ALL HER FAULT.  Are you there Al Gore?  It's me, evil SSG, rain forest killer.)

And while I'm confessing ...

SSG also hasn't painted, hung any pictures or changed any of the gazillions of light bulbs that need replacing in her ceiling because SSG doesn't have a ladder or know what kind of light bulbs to get and is afraid if she tries to hang things she'll blow past the drywall and be able to wave hi to her neighbors through the new hole in both of their houses.  

She HEARS crazy stories about people installing tile and wood floors and switching out fixtures and hanging shelves or adding on 800 square foot mother in law additions BY THEMSELVES and SSG is ALWAYS a captive audience, shaking her head and agreeing, usually with a variation of: "YES, I've been meaning to DO THAT TOO."  All the while thinking ... "Hmm, can that be done with my 'Do It Herself Toolkit?'"  

So I have relayed this amusing little antidote a few times over the last couple of years and each time people kind of giggle and say "we THOUGHT about replacing your hall lights while you were away, but didn't know if we should."  

Or "when people KNOW you and how warm, fun and GORGEOUS you are (ok, SSG might have added that last bit ... okay all of those bits) and then they see your house and how bare it is, the two just don't seem to fit together."  

Or this, that just happened yesterday: "OH. MY. HOLY. HELL.  You DON'T RECYCLE?  Who handles your trash service I'm calling them for you right now.  'Hi Waste Management.  I need to have recycling bins delivered to this address.  It's under the name of SSG.  I know I'm a guy and obviously not SSG but she has been too LAME to call you and tell you she doesn't have recycling bins even though she's paid for the service for the last four years.  I know!  Thank you.  SSG, you'll have your bins next week.  And WHY does this trash bill have GLITTER on it?"

SSG:  (Ignores the glitter comment--she took her garbage bill to a rave maybe?  A gay bar? She really has no idea.) Okay, you just made that look SO easy!  

And NO JOKE, the same day that work BFF pulled a knife out of his pocket on demand (WHY am I the only one who thinks this is CRAZY?) one of the other guys busted out a pair of needle nose pliers to fix not one, but THREE staplers I've jammed at the office and have had stuck in a stapler graveyard on my desk.


Tomorrow's To Do List:  Determine if purse can fit entire contents of 'Do It Herself Toolkit' 

And WORLD?  SSG is recycling!  Or TOTALLY will be ... in five days when her recycle bins arrive.


Frita said...

yes, i'm commenting at 12:50 am.

i'm happy to say that i'm one of the many who know you to be the most fabulous, gorgeous, exciting, well spoken, Martha Stewarty (in the creative, perfect kind of way, not bitchy and demanding kind of way), most fascinating person in the world...

i'm also one of a few who might, occasionally, wonder when you're going to get a little paint on the walls? Spread a little of that sanding sugar from you martini glass...i mean glitter around and jazz it up a bit?

I wonder if it is because you're not sure if you're going to stay in that town...? Perhaps you want to move back up this way and have some help decorating? No? I'll come down and help there if you need!

Bella Della said...

I don't care about the recycling! (well, a little, okay, not really)

But,YOU DON'T HAVE ANYTHING HANGING ON YOUR WALLS??? Please, please tell me this is an exaggeration because if not I am catching the next flight out with my hammer and nails. Screw security- this is an emergency.

Yes, I know, I seem a little upset. I think frankly I have filled up every inch of wall space in my house and I am JEALOUS.

I also have to tell you that I have my own toolkit and my own toolbelt. Sexy, huh?

And perhaps you can break open yours for the first time and build an ark- apparently you might need it.

Love ya!

Unknown said...

Woo hoo for SSG!

I, as a ENVIRONMENTAL PROFESSIONAL, would seem lame if I did not recycle as much as is humanely possible.

I even make my own grocery totes so that I do not waste fabric.

I can make you some pink ones with POLKA DOTS~~~

One small step per person makes a huge difference and no, I do not fault you at all.

I wouldn't want you to go changing at all.

Love you,


hahaha- my word verification is that a sign?

Condense, Recycle, and Reuse

Molly said...

No paint? Nothing on the walls? When should I be there? We can do that! Although I don't have a toolbelt, I do have a toolbox and my own drill and a dremel tool and a PHONE. Yes, I call and have it done. One gets to meet really cute men that way. The last one that came to talk to me about insulation in the attic and the rogue water leak WAS SO HOT. He reminded me of Pioneer Woman's hubby, all short hair, tight body, er jeans...

You can do it. Yes You Can.

Cool Breeze said...

We don't recycle either. In the country, we just throw our trash out in the woods.

Candy said...

I forced my daughter to buy a little one gadget, many tools kinda thing before she left for college and she scoffed at me, but bought it anyway.

She now keeps it in her purse, because at least once a day, someone turns to her and says, "Hey do you have that thing that fixes everything with you?" She's popular because of her Do It Herself Toolkit. You could be too!

I Am Woody said...

Seriously? You have a trash bill? Do they bill you by weight? Or type of trash? This is just crazy talk to me. All I know is I put my trash in the barrel and the nice man comes and picks it up.

Big Hair Envy said...

I think I need one of those purse-size Do-It-Herself Kits!!!!

Cool Breeze exaggerates....we don't throw our trash in the woods, we burn it in a big barrel out back. True story.

Anonymous said...

Ok so you don't know me, but I'm belladella's lil bro. I guess that makes me bellabro? Haha anywho, I read my sister's blog on a pretty regular basis. Yes, I know that makes it appear that I have way too much time on my hands. That's not the case though. I have 2 or 3 things I need to get done before next Christmas so Lord knows how I find the time. Well I have started reading some of the other blogs and I must admit that your's, are by far, the most entertaining. Keep them coming and perhaps I will pencil in a time in my oh so busy schedule to read it. As far as the whole saving the whale, recycling, hug a tree, drive a remote control car thing....when was the last time a whale ever saved anyone drowning in the ocean?..haha have a good one!!!

Predo said...

Dear SSG, we are gathered here today out love for you. Don't look at this as simply an intervention, look at this as a group filled with love and hope. We feel you are making the right step with recycling, and possibly learning what those tools are for, but we need more. Paint, yes, say it SSG, Paint. Now don't you feel better? Now try, picture hanger, that's it, picture hanger. Okay, no breathe deep, relax, light bulb. You can do this. So, now that you have said the words, I should come over and help (actually perform) some of these actions for you. I mean, I have the time now!!!!

I love that your Dad got you the tool kit! He is so COOL!

Rhi said...

I don't even know how to look at you.

But, better now than never!

Molly said...

Ok, I read your story at April was a great addition. I shared it with some of the gang at work and when my assistant finally read it, she stood up and looked at me through the glass - her face was red from lauging and crying her way through it. She liked yours best!