Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Power Tools

Hi Again,

You know, when I grew up, girls did not have power tools.  We had EZ Bake Ovens, Singer sewing machines, and Hoover vacuum cleaners. 
Boys built things.  It was my job, as a female, to learn to take care of them.  I went to Home Ec Class and baked.  The boys went to Shop Class and made shelves and benches.
            I am still cleaning out the garage.  Still sifting though all the stuff that survived you.  Sometimes, I lift the lid of one of the banker’s boxes, find a picture you drew, a story you wrote.  The other night I found one you must have written when you were at Lake Doloff Elementary in the fifth grade.  It is called The Peterson Paper.  You wrote:

           Hunter’s Education.  My greatest accomplishment this summer would
           have happened the tenth of September.  That was when I received my
           green card.  This green card is what hunters under the age of eighteen
           need to be able to hunt.  To get my green card I had to complete a written
           test and go to range day.  Range day was when we shot at targets and
           went through field training.  Field training was when we went through a
           long trail with fakegame tags and unloaded firearms.  The trail had many
           obstacles like barbwire fences, streams, gates, trees and other hunters. 
           After passing the field training you had to get your card if you were
           qualified. Now I can go hunting with my mom.

            I sank to the bare gray concrete floor and sat with The Peterson Paper in my hand.  I am certain I saw this with the rest of your school papers when you brought it home with a perfect 25 out of 25.  But did I read it?  I cannot remember.  And now I hold it in my hand, an indictment against my mothering.  “Now I can go hunting with my mom.” 
I never took you hunting.
I am not sure, sitting here writing on this warm Wednesday evening, that anything I did do with you, made up for that.  The expectation I would take you, the fact I did not.
The Peterson Paper is back in the banker’s box, on top, where I found it.  Under it are pictures, newspaper clippings, more stories ready to make paper cuts across my heart.
Along with golf clubs that hang from a screw in the wall, your snowboard leaning against the garage shelves, I inherited your boxes of tools.  As a result I have 5 small levels, 4 hammers, assorted wrenches, some socket thingies, a bunch of screw drivers and lo and behold, power tools.  Other than putting hangers in the walls and making sure the pictures are level, I am not sure what do with all this stuff you were so adept at using.
It is time to learn to use those power tools.  To learn to build and make things.   Steve, as you might guess, turns out to be a patient and excellent mentor.  Lesson one was how to build shelves.  Turns out it is pretty easy.  Though I am a little afraid of that circular saw, I am pretty good with the drill.  That Black and Decker Firestorm with the removable chuck is pretty awesome.  You can drill a hole, remove the chuck and there is a Phillips head to set the screw.  Steve cut pieces of wood and I put them together.  In an afternoon we managed to build me a workbench out of a funky table and some wooden crates I found at a garage sale. 
My very own workbench I designed and found the pieces for.  Steve taught me how to put them all together.  Together, he and I created the wonderful new space where I love to sit and meditate.  It all started with a box of assorted hand tools and power tools inherited from you.
My very own woman cave.
            The power of tools.

                                                I love you Andie,