Monday, September 13, 2010

Zombies, DIY projects, and Art.

As I've said before, I would be useless in the zombie wars. I would play the role of the obnoxious female lead (in 1970s films, before women started being able to take care of themselves in movies) who sits there and screams, trying to operate the gun, or the hammer, or the stake (wait, that's for vampires, sorry...), and I would only be saved because I'm supposed to end up with the hero.

I was reminded of my uselessness over the past week while FWT and I were constructing built-in bookshelves in our house. It's something I've wanted to do since I bought the place five years ago. My old roommate Vicki and I even convinced ourselves one day that we were totally capable of building them, and I even went so far as to check out a bunch of woodworking books from the library. Unfortunately (or rather, fortunately, for the stability and equity of my home), we never got around to making those dreams come true.

So for the next few years, I thought it was just my lack of tools that prevented me from building them myself. Tools are expensive, and it's not like I was going to be using them ever again. Plus, I wouldn't know where to begin.

FWT, thankfully, did most of the work and fixed my errors without acknowledging them as mistakes, and smiled even when I accidentally painted him (more about that later). And my bookshelves are bee-yoo-tiful. Still, I learned some things over the past week:

1) It's a good thing I never decided to major in architecture, like I once wanted to do.
2) that placing the stud-finder over a good-looking man and going "BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP" is not as funny as I thought it would be. And apparently, it's an old joke.
3) that something called a "router" makes those cool designs on doors, not a skilled artisan with a chisel
4) that my arthritic fingers are totally useless when it comes to doing ANY manual labor and that they cramp up into a tight ball after sanding two pieces of wood, then ache for days.
5) that trying to paint for hours after sanding two pieces of wood is a terrible idea
6) Buy the expensive blue painter's tape, or you'll cry when you rip it off.
7) Don't assume that your partner-in-DIY-projects closed the paint tin properly before you start to shake the paint up. Yes, FWT was covered in white interior latex semi-gloss ...
8) You're supposed to close the paint cans with a hammer when you're finished. (Sorry, FWT.)

Most of all, I learned that I not only lack the skills to build things, but I especially lack the patience. It's all tiny, tiny details -- things I'm happy to ignore, like letting the paint dry completely, or sanding, or measuring.

I prefer cooking, where details aren't so important, and where the structural integrity of the biggest investment of your life won't be compromised when you don't measure things out precisely. In other words, I prefer things where attempting a bit of daring creativity doesn't cause me to break into tears. I guess I'm a little selfish. Oh well.

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