When Daughter calls for catch-up, I hear bubbly excitement in her “Guess what?”
“Tell me,” I say, with visions of good news, a cool recipe or trip proposal dancing in my head.
“I was a plumber yesterday,” she announces and launches into her heroic effort to unclog the shower drain in her apartment since the maintenance man was unavailable and there was standing water. I see both her grit and grin through the phone, the lone left dimple deepening into an exclamation point with each sentence.
She slips words like “YouTube video,” “Home Depot,” “grabber thingie” and “plunger” into the story with frequent high notes that excite me too. I hold the laughter tickling my throat so I don’t miss anything.
There was submerging, grabbing, pulling, flushing and ferocious plunging that sounded like CPR. In the end, she extracted a wad of her own coffee-colored hair and then some blond stuff presumably from a previous tenant (or two).
“Atta girl!” I yell, almost louder than when she walked onstage for her MBA, and then our combined giggles run as free as a rainstorm.
Between the two of us, we are mostly hair, so I was a fan of Drano when she was growing up, and would have defaulted to it in her shoes, but that’s a no-no according to the YouTube video she says and I take notes.
Then, I tell her about unjamming my garbage disposal and she cheers for me too.
And we laugh again, boosted by newfound superpowers.
We are girly, neither of us hard-wired for home repair or improvement. We are also fiercely independent so, while never an official goal, it kind of makes sense that through-the-years bumbling through bookshelf and cabinet assembly would have led us here—beyond reading mystifying instructions, lining up parts, tightening screws, hammering, and painting to tackling whatever needs fixing.
I never thought I’d say this, but we are regulars at Home Depot. We Google and YouTube how-to videos. We often do not have a single clue how to complete some random DIY or maintenance project, yet still have every intention of trying. If only to find out, we can’t.
There are men who would do these things for us, but the surge of power from a bit of self-reliant struggle makes that beside the point.
A few weeks later it’s my turn to say Guess what? before I brag that I changed a toilet seat lid in the powder room. My brother was in town and offered to install the one I’d bought the week before. I fetched my screw driver and grinned up at him and said, “No, you’re going to supervise.” He chuckled and played along, lightly insisting that I should be able to do it in under ten minutes with conversation, and so it was.