I come by it naturally, this propensity to fix things. And, in this case, I am not referring to other people, although there has been a bit of that, unfortunately and unsuccessfully, tried in the past. I’m talking in this case about fixing things around the house. I grew up in a home where my dad was good for moving items or painting. But if there was something that needed fixing, it was probably going to be my mother who figured out what needed to be done and how to do it. And most times she did it herself. She got that trait from her mother, who was the one in the family who owned and operated the power tools. Which may have come from her growing up on a farm, something I did not do.
But back to that fix-it gene. I definitely have been gifted with it. If there is something that is not working in my home, or needs repair, it becomes a puzzle I want to solve. I am not afraid to jump in and try new things. And I own my own share of power tools that yes, I know how to operate.
My latest challenge was my living room floor. When I took up the carpeting, I discovered that parts of the padding had adhered to the wooden floor. Not a good look. I was ready to say “Oh, just put down another rug and cover it up”…but that problem-solving part of my brain had been teased and there was no shutting it down. So off to the hardware store I went in search of a solution.
Now I love hardware stores. Not the big box ones, but the Mom & Pop ones that are crammed full of anything you could possibly need. I love how, when I was in my neighborhood store, people came in (and found) solutions to get rid of the mice in their house, signs to “encourage” people to clean up after their dogs, paint, keys, nuts and bolts, and yes, cleaning supplies. When it was my turn, I explained my situation to the employee in the blue vest. He pondered it for a minute and then walked me over to the cleaning supplies – and tried to explain to me how a spray cleaner like Fantastic would work. I just looked at him. Then I explained again, thinking that he did not understand what I was saying. And he explained again to me how to clean a floor, with a look and tone that implied “You are a woman, why don’t you know this?” And for a brief second, I started to believe him. Maybe he knew something I didn’t know. Maybe, because he wore that blue vest, he was the expert. Maybe because he was older, he may be wiser. Maybe, because he was a man, he knew better.
Like I said, I started to believe him.
Then that gene kicked in. I looked at him and saw that really he was probably around my age (but looked older, of course). And why did a blue vest make him an expert? And why did being a man make him an expert? And why was I not trusting my knowledge and intuition?!
I thanked him, said no, that was not going to work and left instead with some fine grade steel wool. And today, armed with that, a putty knife, and a YouTube video, I figured out how to get that nasty stuff off my floor without destroying it in the process. Just like I knew I could do! I finished it up by hand rubbing the floor with oil, making it look good as new.
As I stood and admired my handiwork, I reflected on the fact that the last time I polished a floor like this I was 9 months pregnant with my firstborn and went into labor the next day.
I wonder what I am about to birth now?