Monday, August 09, 2010

Tools of the trade

Every trade has them, appropriate tools. And using the right tool can make a difference between a job half done and a job well done. Last week, while cleaning up after The Flood of 2010, I wiled away the hours using the wrong tools for a job. And, indeed it did takes hours longer than it might have, had I used the appropriate tools for the job.

And I am sure there are appropriate tools for the job of cutting out sections of mildewed dry wall and peg board. Maybe I even have them in my not so voluminous tool collection. Consider the reciprocating saw. It probably would have done the trick in half an hour, not half a day. But use of same required me to understand what was on the inside of the wall before cutting through it.

I wasn't really sure what WAS in the wall, if anything. Big pieces of wood? Studs? Are those the same things? Electrical wires? Mice? The vision of sawing through little mice, possibly severing their cute little whiskers or amputating their furry little tails, was more than I could bear.

Utility knife? Nope. When I use that weapon, I am immediately seized by haunting images of the damn thing slipping and cutting open my hand or leg or arm or stomach. This isn't as unlikely as you might think, given my track record.

So, lacking knowledge and imagination (or perhaps having too much of the latter), I used a hammer and a pry bar to chisel horizontally across the peg board and dry wall. With the peg board, it was a bit like a connect the dots kind of game, with the holes keeping my cutting line straight. It worked. But it took a long time. And my hands still ache from the process.

Since then, I've become a little obsessed with finding the right tool for the job. Unfortunately, we are the proud owners of two sets of monthly tuition payments. So my obsession exists mostly online and in my head. But I did have a chance to peruse a variety of tools at Bed, Bath and Beyond today. And I learned something new about tools: they can be evil.

Let us take, for example, the magnifying mirror. On the surface (pun intended) it seems a perfectly suited tool for its task: allowing middle-aged women to see their faces clearly when they can no longer depend on their eyes to do so. Being a middle-aged woman (assuming I live to 97), it seemed time for me to bring such an item home.

I thought, perhaps, that the general public might appreciate it if I could actually see what they see, should they ever actually look at me. Maybe that seems vain in a woman of a certain age, as we are known to be invisible. Perhaps *I* am invisible. But that chin hair is like a lighthouse beacon across the water. And so the mirror.

Oh my. I had no idea. 15 times magnification is a hideous sight. I have craters for pores. Skin that looked attractively rosy is revealed as W.C. Fields' nose surface. The circles under my eyes are vast puffy brown/blue pillows, practically obscuring my vision. Tiny fine lines become mile-long cracks in the surface of a dry planet Mars. And the hair. Well, we just won't discuss the hair.

Clearly, there is an evolutionary reason that we lose our close vision as we age. And clearly it is evil to try to counteract that by purchasing tools to bypass the aging process. I have learned from the error of my ways. Feel free to tell me (privately, of course) if there is something horrible on my face. Because there is no way in hell I am ever going to look at it that closely again. :-)



Blogger Liza said...

I once rubbed my chin and realized it had a major hair sticking out of it. I asked Dave, "Did you know I had this hair sticking out of my face?" "Yes." "Why didn't you tell me?" "I thought you knew."

Sure. Because I *want* giant coarse beard hair decorating my chin.

I hope your family and friends are less clueless than mine and actually tell you when you have a hair.

10:41 PM  
Blogger Ann Allen - Flying Woman Designs. said...

Yeah - I remember a similar incident as Liza except it was LIZ who knew I had the chin hair and didn't tell me!

9:28 AM  

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