I remember when we moved into our first house together, and my husband casually mentioned something about checking the pilot light on our heater. For some reason, it had gone out, and I was scared to death he didn’t know what he was doing when he brought an open flame near the decrepit appliance sitting in our garage. Fortunately, we didn’t blow up. Sadly for him, that was not the end of my ignorance when it comes to home maintenance.
I’ve tried to make up for what I didn’t learn during my childhood – back when anything to do with tools was considered “the man’s job.” Now it seems like I’m taking apart appliances, drilling something, or sawing almost every week and I play the ignorance card only when it’s a task that seems a bit gross (like changing out a toilet) or potentially life threatening (like fixing the roof). In the last few years, I’ve attempted to get my daughter involved in these projects, but it hit me early this summer that she hasn’t learned nearly enough before she leaves for college. I started hyperventilating as I began a mental list of all of the things she needs to has to know before August.
And then the Girls Garage book came out.
Girls Garage is a nonprofit organization that runs a physical space in California where girls learn to build. Many of their projects are available here to download. The new hardcover book includes twelve projects that range from building your own toolbox to erecting a stud-framed doghouse.
Also included in the book are simple descriptions of tools, as well as how-to lessons on measurement and handy life skills – like relighting a pilot light. This would have been a super book for me to receive as a gift when I graduated, or even two years ago when I began to work in a maker space that was carpentry heaven.
To be honest, I’m kind of torn on whether or not I’m going to give this book to my daughter or just keep it for myself. A family friend gave her a tool set for Christmas, so it does seem like a good gift to add to her pile of Destination Dorm items. I’m sure I can muddle along like I always have. I mean, I already know most of the contents, like how to patch a hole in the wall (p. 226).
Just use toothpaste, right?