Women are fascinating creatures. Some can change a flat tire with a smile or open a door with a wink. I never had any doubt about the power my daughters held over their dad. Puppy dog eyes, a big kiss, a tight hug, or a simple “I love you, Daddy” – all were effective tools for turning Dad into putty. Once my girls became aware of their tool set, they mastered using them. I had to take care to resist their power.
I wanted something better for my girls, something beyond using their femaleness to manipulate. Girls are capable of checking the oil or adding air to the tires. They can dig, saw and build. They can design and create. They can sweat and earn blisters, same as the guys.
From our family experience archives I can share that packing for a daughter’s move to college is an adventure. It usually happened in August, about the time air temperature and humidity reached equilibrium in the 90’s. I enjoyed a serious workout as I toted boxes across hot asphalt and up long flights of stairs into a dorm. Shawn unpacked and set up the new living space. The physical strain was good, though. It kept our minds off the emotional strain of having our baby leave home. I will man up and admit, after dropping my daughter at college, I needed wipers for the tears in my eyes on the trip home. I missed her before we left the parking lot.
In addition to the truck loads of stuff I carted to the dorm, I included a special gift from Dad. I was thinking ahead to the challenges my daughter might face. She would handle these on her own, and to survive, she needed tools. I bought a small tool box and loaded it with basics. She laughed as she opened her gift, but as the years passed, those tools proved useful.
Here is a sample shopping list. I looked for quality but skipped the professional grade, gold-plated tools.
- Small hammer
- A can of WD-40
- A roll of duct tape. I suggest adding a second roll to the trunk of her car along with a good set of jumper cables. Show her how to use the jumper cables safely (or sign her up for AAA!)
- A few tie wraps and some repair wire
- Flashlight – small LED style that can be held in the mouth if both hands are needed. One daughter walked home after a night class and I provided a large Mag-Lite that doubled as a head bonker, just in case.
- Multi-tipped screw driver or a set of screw drivers
- Slip joint pliers
- Needle nose pliers
- Linesman’s side cutting pliers
- Small adjustable wrench
This collection will allow a lady to address many common issues. Use is self-explanatory, although I have seen tools used in strange ways. There are times when a hammer makes a good screwdriver as well as times when pliers can be a decent hammer. Having tools, any tools, close at hand is the secret.
Sitting on the shelf in my garage is a tool box both daughters used in their playhouse days. What an interesting collection. I have no insight how some were used, but the cap pistol brings a smile. One daughter donned boots, hat, and a vest then made a habit of telling people to get off her property … or else. I guess we watched a lot of John Wayne movies.
I was surprised to find the pint-sized potato masher. Shawn may be looking for that tool.
It has been my joy to add real tools to my daughters’ collections as they set up their homes. I like playing Santa, especially when the Christmas list can be fulfilled at Lowes and Home Depot. Finally we are out of dolls and frilly dresses and into something I understand!
Here is a view of Michelle’s tool collection after a few months as a homeowner. She was organizing her shop. How many years did it take before I could fill 3 boxes with tools? I don’t think I ever spread tools on the dining room table, though.
Where’s the sawdust? Her tools are clean and still in the wrappers. We are slowly putting these into service on her projects. That’s my picture taped to the lid with these words, “Need help? Call Dad”. I thought it was a good addition. Sometimes having an experienced hand beside us is the best tool.
My spare wire is in a jumble in a cardboard box. I reshuffle the pile each time I look for the right size. I think I will sneak a handful of random screws and nuts into her garage and add some flavor to the mix. Her filing system needs some chaos.
The Padawan Learner is quickly surpassing the Jedi Master.
Have tools you do? Use them you can? Teach you I will.