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My bag of tools…

Maybe when you read the title you thought I must mean the tools of caregiving because this is after all posted in the caregiving blog. Yes, there are many caregiving tools I can write about and share with others though that is not what this is about. This is about real, physical tools to take care of items that need fixing in the house or to be able to make raised garden beds if I feel like it.

There aren’t many tools in my bag, not yet anyway. I’m still working on it. I have the essentials, hammer, screwdrivers, measuring tape yet I feel certain I am missing others, I just do not know what they are yet. I will know what is not in my bag when I can’t find the right tool for the job. I just hope I learn which ones they are while I still have time with Tom.

Tom is the master of tools in our relationship. He is the do it yourself guy of all do it yourselvers. He covets his tools. He loves his tools. If he loans you a hammer or a screwdriver you have to tell him exactly what you need it for and return it to its exact place. If he says he will teach you how to use a power tool he will but then he won’t let you use it. He will do it himself and you will watch. For example in the worst way I wanted to strip an old chest and make it look shabby chic. The chest was left in the basement of the house we bought in New York. The house was built in the early 1930’s and only one family had ever lived in it before us, first the father, then the son. The men in the family built the house themselves. It was a charming home. For a million reasons I didn’t have the time to do anything with that chest while we lived there so I brought it with us first to Durham, then to Wilmington.

In Wilmington I found the time to make that chest my own. I dragged it out of the garage and cleaned it up. I asked Tom to teach me how to use the electric sander and he did but he didn’t. I did a little sanding, he did a lot. He teaches silently as in one must read his mind to know what he wants you to do. I’m pretty good at it after nearly thirty-five years but not perfect so it can lead to some ill feelings through the learning process. I’m pretty sure I sat with arms crossed while he happily sanded away. I painted it up myself, and when he was in the house, out of sight, I used the sander again to give it a shabby chic look.

If I were to do this project today he would not be able to take over the sanding. ALS is stealing his strength. His upper body is most affected, however, it often seems that the core of his body, the muscles you cannot see, are wasting away. It’s why I need tools, and to learn how to use them. As he weakens I must become stronger and more knowledgeable so I can be the fixer, so we, and later I, do not have to wait for someone to help us, or, even more disturbing to the do it yourself man that I love, god forbid, pay someone.

Together he and I will grow my bag of tools beyond the basic necessities but we’ve got to hurry before he can’t physically hold them to show me how to use them. Between not being able to show me and the do what I am thinking kind of teacher that he is I will be so screwed if that day arrives sooner rather than later. In light of this concern I am planning a project. I’ll blog about it when I get it off the ground. I am going to try and do one that will use a wide variety of hand and electric tools…

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