This is a little long, because it’s excerpted from my book, BUT to all the ladies who can relate, I would love to invite you to enjoy a glass of wine with me around the now infamous high-gloss, counter height bar table since we know it won’…t crumble under the weight of our wine glasses Hope you get a chuckle out of this…
I have not done a formal study, nor am I aware of any official poll, but I am willing to bet that women OVER the age of 35 who live alone, are as rare as men UNDER the age of 25 who pass up free beer.
Grown women who live alone are a proud bunch. And that’s because we women over the age of 35 who reside by ourselves,
Maybe I’m being a little too philosophical about this, but there seems to be a metamorphosis that occurs when a woman goes from being PART of a household, to being THEE household.
It’s not a bad thing. I mean, transitioning from living with a husband, or husband-like person, to livingalone is an adjustment, sure. But with the right frame of mind, it can be an “adjustment” in the same way a chrysalis “adjusts” to release a beautiful butterfly – as opposed to an “adjustment” that results in a decision to eat bad carbs and stop shaving one’s legs.
If you are a woman going through your own metamorphosis – or a man who knows a woman going through the process – allow me to give you a valuable tip.
If ever you are staring a daunting, household task in the face, and are forced to choose between tackling it yourself, which means taking three times as long to complete it, breaking two nails and having at least one shoe-throwing breakdown in the process, BUT knowing you will emerge with a sense of pride that, yes, you and you alone DID IT without a man’s help – or – paying a handyman to do it for you, HIRE THE FREAKIN’ HANDYMAN.
Specifically ladies, when it comes to building furniture, don’t be a hero.
Up until last Friday, I was that woman. I was the butterfly birthed from the chrysalis that needed to prove her balls were as big as her ex’s. I was the woman who needed to prove that I could bring home the bacon, and build the fabulous white, high-gloss bar table I bought with it. All by myself.
Here’s how it went down. I’m furnishing my little pied-a-terre in Hell’s Kitchen. I purchased an over-priced, but very sexy white, high-gloss, counter height bar table that was being shipped from Canada. Apparently when Canada ships expensive furniture to Type-A, newly single, over-achieving, controlling, stubborn women, it does so on the back of earthworms, because this item took TWO WHOLE MONTHS to arrive.
Imagine my surprise when my fabulous new table arrived in pieces! Pieces that needed to be put together. I opened the box. I assessed the situation. The decision was made. I was going to do this BY MYSELF. Screw men! Screw Canada! Screw it all! It wasn’t until all the pieces were on the floor, and my mind was made up (and yes, that is a metaphor for my life), that the phone rang.
Unsuspecting guy number one: “Hey, wanna grab a cocktail?”
Me: “Thanks, but my fabulous high-gloss, counter-height bar table arrived today – in three pieces. So, I’m gonna roll up my sleeves, channel the skills of that lady who helps that guy on that show where they tear down houses and put them back together, and pass on the cocktails tonight. Thanks anyway!”
Number One: “Wait! I can help you with that. I’ll just come over, throw it together, and we can go out aft…”
Me: “No, no! I got this. It’s just three pieces. I have garter belts more complicated than that! Haha! I’m good. Thanks.”
Then called unsuspecting guy number two: “Hey, let me take you to Lavo the for the world’s best garlic bread, and follow that up with the world’s best sex. Whaddya say?”
Me: “I say ‘garlic bread’ and ‘sex’ don’t belong in the same sentence. Besides, my fabulous, counter-height bar table arrived today in pieces, and I’m about to get down and dirty with my pink tool kitand put this puppy together. (Pause). It’s only three pieces, and I CAN take care of myself, thank you very much. (Pause). No, really, I can. I am NOT intimidated by this undecipherable page of exploding diagrams…written in Mandarin…that makes way more sense if you read it while holding it upside down in front of a mirror. Why would I be intimidated by THAT? (Insert nervous laughter here). Nope. I…I..I can Google it, if I get stuck, so, um, I’m gonna have to take a rain check on the garlic bread. Oh, and on the sex, too. Thanks!”
Number Two: “Wait! Why don’t I bring my tools over, take care of that for you, and this way, we’ll only have to take a rain check on the garlic bread…?”
Slightly exasperated by the interruptions – or perhaps by my own obsessive-compulsive need to run away from rescue, I turned my attention back to the task at hand. There I stood, tilting my head at the three pieces of white, high-gloss wood, together with the bushel of bolts and other weird metal thingees strewn on my floor, much the way my dog tilts his head when I ask his opinion
on whether I should wear pink pumps, or black.
Clutching the instruction MANIFESTO to my belly, I repeatedly smoothed it with one hand down the front of my abs, pep-talking myself for several minutes as if Dustin Hoffman’s character in “Rainman” had mated with “The Little Train that Could”. “I can DO this. I CAN do this. I can do THIS…”
It was during this pre-project procrastination phase, that the phone rang yet again. It was unsuspecting guy number three.
“Hey sexy, what are you up to tonight?”
Me: (Heavy sigh) “My fabulous, counter-height, oh, screw it. I’m washing my hair, then I’m going to do laundry, and if time
permits, I may clean out my refrigerator.”
This, of course, was a ruse.
Number Three: “Wait! I can help you with that…”
I spent the next SIX HOURS struggling with 124 pounds of high-gloss wood, 18 wooden dowels, six round metal things that looked like miniature bongs, a bunch of screws, some other pieces that resembled little canoes, and a “wrench” that looked like it came from a bubble gum machine. I dropped two of the three pieces, twice, taking good chunks of the fabulous white, high-gloss finish off the plain old wood underneath. I scuffed my hard wood floors. Oh, and I practically snapped my Achilles when I did a flying catch of the table top before it hit the floor after one of the legs buckled.
After all that, the table was standing. If you touched it, it would crumble, but it looked fantastic! Also kind of like my life, at times.
And that’s when I broke down and called a handyman. When he arrived, I didn’t even have to speak. I just pointed to the table and dropped several pieces of unused hardware in his palm. He instinctively knew what to do.
“Why didn’t joo call me sooner,” he asked. His nameis Angel. Oddly fitting.
Handymen are a lot like therapists. Especially ones that don’t speak good English.
“I didn’t call you sooner, Angel, because I don’t need a husband, okay? I did this BY MYSELF. See it? (I said, unnecessarily defiant and pointing wildly in the direction of the table). I did it! No husband necessary! I just need you to look it over…and perhaps take it completely apart and rebuild it, is all. Oh, and do something with these ‘extra’ parts, will you? Geez. Duh.”
“Jor right,” he retorted. “But, I’m not a husband. I’m a handyman. And, joo DO need ME.”
He smiled that handyman smile, and I took pause. Handymen are there when you need them, and are eager to do what you ask. They fix what’s broken, and build what’s new. They show up with a smile, they are thorough, and they leave your space better than it was when they arrived.
Wow. I guess he was right. Who really needs a husband when you have a handyman