DIY Thursday: My, what a big tool you have…

When I got married, I married a tool guy.  He came with his own tools — a lot of tools — and he knew how to use them.  He did all the little DIY stuff around the hacienda, and my role was really just to point out what needed fixing and go with him to the hardware store to be sure he didn’t spend too much money on repairs.

You can imagine my surprise when my tool guy went overseas to Afghanistan for a year and I suddenly had to do all the little DIY stuff around the hacienda on my own.  I was good at pointing out what needed fixing.  I was good at going to the hardware store and saying “no”.  But I had no idea how to anchor screws into drywall, cut ceramic tile, or pull apart kitchen cabinets and put them back together.  Now compound that surprise thirteen months later when not only have I kicked out my tool guy, but he actually came back and got his tools so they were gone, too.

And I have to hang a picture.  Damn it.

As far as I’m concerned, every woman should have her own tools.  I don’t care if you’re married to the Snap-On tool guy.  Get your own tools.  They make ’em pink, if you want ’em pink.  Soft grips.  Funky tool bags and boxes to store your weapons of mass construction.  That way, you always know where to find the tool you want to use, and you don’t have to listen to him bitch if you don’t put it away just so or keep it out for a day or two because you aren’t done with it yet.

But how to stock your stash?  What do you need to start with?

Hand tools, baby.  Hand tools.

Here’s a single mom’s recommendation of the tools you need in your household tool kit:

(Quick note: the pictures are just to show you what the tool looks like, not because I think you should go out and get that exact tool.  Just sayin’.)  

 

wrench

A wrench is best served with a cushioned handle; if you’re really hauling on one, your palms will thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A well-weighted, anti-vibe hammer will be worth every penny you pay for it, decreasing the stress that home renos can put on your wrists and arms.  Trust me!

A well-weighted, anti-vibe hammer will be worth every penny you pay for it, decreasing the stress that home renos can put on your wrists and arms. Trust me!

Tin snips are good for everything from trimming stray wire, guitar strings, and opening those pain-in-the-ass hard plastic packages that gauge your hands because they get such sharp edges.

Tin snips are good for everything from trimming stray wire, guitar strings, and opening those pain-in-the-ass hard plastic packages that gouge your hands because they get such sharp edges.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A good tape measure, with accurate, easy-to-read measurements, will save you a lot of extra work by avoiding incorrect measurements.  Be sure to get one that locks!

A good tape measure, with accurate, easy-to-read measurements, will save you a lot of extra work by avoiding incorrect measurements. Be sure to get one that locks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A mutli-bit screwdriver takes up far less room in a tool bag, and they are far more convenient than having to organize a collection of four different kinds of each different bit.  Be sure yours comes with a Robertson (square), Philips (a "+"), and a flat head ("-") at minimum, ideally in a couple of different sizes.  And don't forget one of those teeny-tiny screwdrivers for kids' toys and eyeglasses, too.

A mutli-bit screwdriver takes up far less room in a tool bag, and they are far more convenient than having to organize a collection of four different kinds of each different bit. Be sure yours comes with a Robertson (square), Philips (a “+”), and a flat head (“-“) at minimum, ideally in a couple of different sizes. And don’t forget one of those teeny-tiny screwdrivers for kids’ toys and eyeglasses, too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I'm sure you have a couple of flashlights kicking around your house, but always keep one in your tool bag.  Indispensible, especially working in basements or closets.

I’m sure you have a couple of flashlights kicking around your house, but always keep one in your tool bag. Indispensible, especially working in basements or closets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pliers are superstars for removing staples or gripping bits of metal or wood you need to wiggle or move.

Pliers are superstars for removing staples or gripping bits of metal or wood you need to wiggle or move.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Absolutely have one for silicone or weather caulking, especially if you  are tackling kitchen or bath renovations, or anything involving windows.

A caulking gun.  Absolutely have one for silicone or weather caulking, especially if you are tackling kitchen or bath renovations, or anything involving windows.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From scrapbooking to minor repair work, every took kit needs a trim knife.

From scrapbooking to minor repair work, every tool kit needs a trim knife.

 

 

 

 

 

If you want to be taken seriously, go with the basic tool bag, but they do come with funky patterns, too.  Make sure you get one that actually helps you organize your artillery, though, and doesn't just look good.

If you want to be taken seriously, go with the basic tool bag, but they do come with funky patterns, too. Make sure you get one that actually helps you organize your artillery, though, and doesn’t just look good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And I also want to encourage you to add: razor blades (for scraping paint or cleaning shite off windows), picture hooks (because you never have one when you need one), drywall screw anchors (for things you have to hang on a wall and can’t put a screw through a stud), a hot glue gun, a Sharpie, a pencil, painter’s tape and duct tape, and WD-40 (for all those squeaks you come across).

Not an exhaustive list, but enough to get you started!  What’s in your tool bag, ladies?

 

 

Wellness Wednesday: Who Doesn’t Love A Good PAP Smear?

Please don’t slap me.

I’m with you — I hate getting a PAP smear.  Like, with the burning intensity of a thousand suns.  I hate the stirrups.  I hate flashing my va-jay-jay to two other people (you see one, you’ve seen ’em all, but still…).  I hate the pinch and scrape.  I hate that I usually forget to shave my legs.  Toss in the humiliation of making yourself so vulnerable (physically and emotionally), and you’ve got yourself one of the most wretched parts of a doctor’s visit.

The last time I was at the OB/GYN, he offered — out of the blue — to give me a PAP smear because I hadn’t had one in the last six years.  “Let me get a nurse,” he said, “and we’ll just get this done.”

Uh, no, thanks.  Haven’t shaved my legs.

He wrote a letter to my GP, stating that I had declined a PAP test (snitch!) and would require one on my next visit.  I’m still dodging that one, even though I need a renewal on my birth control.

So, is my modesty worth a slow death from cervical cancer?

Absolutely not.

One of my paternal aunts got cervical cancer when she was not quite thirty years old.  A complete hysterectomy saved her life, but destroyed any hope that she would carry her own children.  I am not immune.  No woman is.

And don’t forget that if you have contracted HPV in the past, your risk for cervical cancer skyrockets.

I’m sharing this because I just made an appointment with my GP.  I had to grit my teeth when I specified I needed a PAP smear, but I kinda feel like a hero.

Because the last time I had one, the tests came back inconclusive.  Twice.  The third time, I got lucky.

So is my fear of a positive test worth a slow death from cervical cancer?

Absolutely not.

Hey — I made my call.  You go make yours.  And you can always reward yourself for your courage under fire with a trip to Pinkberry afterwards.  You brave devil, you.