Thursday, June 15, 2006

Necessity, the mother of invention.

Reading Andraste's post http://horsesasspub.blogspot.com/ of yesterday I began to ponder. Do girls who can't do a damn thing for themselves really exist in this day and age? What is their excuse? So I called the girliest girl I know to ask her opinion. She's 43, Spanish, elegant and not in the slighest bit interested in stuff that doesn't involve shopping, food and wine. Or if she is I can't tell, well wait, she likes the cinema.
'Sí?'
'Hey Darling, I've got a quick question? Can you change a plug on a lamp?'
'Of course. Why ju ask?'
'I'm checking something. Do you know how to take the S bend apart if your sink is blocked? Or change the rubber if it's leaking?'
'K?'
"The S bend. Under your sink.'
Silence, then. 'I don.'
'Okay, what about replacing the stop-cock in the toilet?'
There was a longer silence this time, in the background I could hear conversation and laughing, then. 'Stop cok? Wat is dees?'
'The plastic ball that regulates the water levels in the cistern.'
'Ah, no.'
'Do you know what a dowel is?'
'No.'
'Can you use a sander?'
'For wat?'
'Sanding floors.'
'Tut, why are ju asking thees?'
'I'm testing your girlieness,
'My-?'
'Girlieness, do you own a tool box?'
'I have screwdriver.'
' Okay good, and?'
'And wat?'
She sounds genuinely confused. Glasses clink.
'Where are you?' I ask.
'Wine tasting class, we do Rosé today.'
'Oh, well you should have said. Look I'll get out of your hair. Call you at weekend. Moaw moaw.'
'Are ju okay? Ju sound fony.'
I don't tell her abut my current orange-milder today- state or the fact that I am sleeping badly this week or the fight with my mother.
'No dahling I'm fine, bye.'
'I call to ju later.'
'Okay okay. '
Now I know I've worried her for no reason. I feel a bit daft. I was going to ask her why she can't do stuff, but it occurred to me mid way through that she doesn't need to know, she simply hires someone to do whatever needs to be done. Leaving her loads of time to do the things she likes, like learn about wine.
I used to not know either, but when I moved in here I waas next to broke so I couldn't afford to hire anyone, I could barely afford to eat. Throwing my hands up and saying 'I can't do it.' was not an option, so I bought the Hamiliton Book of DIY and read it.
I took the shutters down and stripped them of fifty years worth of gloss paint by hand. I took the internal doors down and sent them off in the back of a friend'a van to be dipped. I rehung them myself with that friend. I replaced all the hinges and handles with a Tudor style hinge-they look great. I sanded, varnished, painted, fixed blockages, grouted, replaced taps, changed locks, rewired lamps, replaced putty, scrimed holes and plastered over them, hung shelves and mirrors, planed windows that were sticking and pretty much most stuff that didn't need a professional. When the wardrobes and stuff arrived, I read the instructions and built them, I put my bed together and hung curtains.
I reckon I saved myself an absolute fortune. And it wasn't really all that difficult, oh I made some mistakes along the way. Like not turning the water off when plumbing in the washing machine and getting sprayed in the face and a few other little things, but all in all the sense of satisfaction was...well irreplacable. The only thing I made a complete bags of was trying to hang wall-paper. That I cannot do without bubbles, lines not matching up and more paste on me than on the wall.
I don't think knowing all this stuff makes me less girlie either. I like cooking, floaty dresses, opera, crying over films, puppies, flowers, jewelery and having a man hold the door open for me.
My heels are high and my toolbox floweth over.

50 Comments:

Anonymous Melinda said...

A girl after my own heart! My dad only got the two of us girls to deal with--add in growing up on a farm and having very little money, and you get dozens of daily lessons on how to make stuff work long after it should've been discarded. I distinctly recall taking apart lawnmower motors with Dad's blessing, and actually putting them back together again. Not that I have any specific knowledge on how an engine works, but there's a basic familiarity there that makes it much less daunting if something goes wrong. Poor spouse didn't get the same sort of education, so my willingness to take on any electrical, plumbing, remodeling, or building projects comes in really handy!

2:12 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

My first car was held together by tape and string-literally, I had to tie the exhaust pipe to the tow bar to keep it from dragging. I learned quite a good deal driving that delapitated piece of crap. It was so bad there were holes everywhere, and if you drove through a puddle the engine stalled.
I got stopped by the Gardai once tearing through the park, late for something or other. After a disbelieveing look at what I was driving one of them got in and drove it around the block to see if it was road worthy, I stood with his partner and watched him take off in it, I hadn't the heart to tell him you had to pump the brakes a couple of times in quick succession before they worked. He came back moments after white knuckled, belching smoke and used the hand brake to stop. He got out and informed me it would be best if I ddn't drive it on the road any longer. Only he didn't say it like that. I had to plead with them not to order a tow truck and take it away to be crushed.
The following week I sold it for scrap and replaced a few months later with the exact same model from the Buy And Sel, only three years younger (this time with a radio) whooo hoo!

2:43 p.m.  
Blogger Boliath said...

"My heels are high and my toolbox floweth over"

That, my dear, is a wonderful statement, I'm not a fan of high heels but I do/did have a tool box & belt.

You may find when you move in with the paramour (you are doing that aren't you?) that he will take over much of the DIY and after a while you will let him.

I too bought a house, changed toilets, sanded floors, painted buttoned up ceilings, grouted, caulked, you name it I did it like you I had no choice and to be honest I enjoyed it. The day I bought my first power tool I was charged up, terrified of it but I was woman hear me roar.

Now I have a different house with a man & child. Said power tool now lies in the garage with umpteen chop saws and routers and stuff that does other stuff and makes noise. I rarely go in there, the man does all that gear, he's better at it, likes to do it and someone needs to mind the childeen.

Sigh... I miss the old days sometimes, measure twice, cut once, midnight trips to the hardware store looking for essential bits n bobs, wearing a tool belt, girl I loved wearing a tool belt more than anything else...

Just a word (or 50) or warning is all.

3:11 p.m.  
Blogger Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

I was always pretty handy with a spanner but then I married a man who enjoys instruction manuals as a spot of light reading in the evening, so I've become a bit lazy and unpracticed in the field. However, if there lamp to be fixed or a shower to be caulked etc. I like to think I can hold my own with any man.

If there is a bump in the night, it is usually me that goes on the prowl with the torch and the lethal brash fish to attack the intruders.

3:21 p.m.  
Blogger SheBah said...

Why, oh why FMC, when you can get a nice man to do it for you? Sure its no wonder men are getting all feminised with all these butch women about! Back to the boudoir, girls!

3:37 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

I've seen the Paramour's home, if he's handy with tools he is hiding it well.
I suspect we will fall into a comfortable pattern of me reading the actual manual and arranging all the things I need for the job neatly and close to hand, while he worries about football and brings me cooling drinks.
Boliath, it is one of my secret desires to get a dark blue jumpsuit or doing handy work, like real men do, but I'm worried I'll just look like Billy Joel in Uptown Girl or worse, Demi Moore.
Perhaps I should just stick to the dungarees, stripped t-shirt with the red bandana hanging from the pocket for the dabbing of non-manly sweat, faded Converse on feet, naturally.

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Blogger fatmammycat said...

I knew it! When I was talking to Miss Spain I was thinking I bet SB is they type of gal who wouldn't know her phlange bracket from her Phillips head screws.

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Blogger SheBah said...

You'd be surpised, FMC. I know a phlange bracket is for keeping my bikini wax in, and a Phillips head screw........well, you naughty, naughty girl, we both know what a head screw is, and very nice too, especially after a massage with oils!

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Blogger fatmammycat said...

Tee-hee.

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