Tuesday, October 6, 2015

A legacy of strong ladies

Most of my tools are second-hand; many of them come from a former neighbor. When my parents' neighbor Jim passed away, his wife shared his tool collection with me. I'm using his tools pretty much every time I do any project, but there's one in particular that I love.

This vice grip has a name scratched in to it: Ruth Shenk. I have no idea who she was, or how this tool ended up in Jim's collection. It wouldn't surprise me if it was a garage sale find, maybe even Jim didn't know who Ruth was. But I'm imagining Ruth as a hardcore, independent woman in the 1950s. I picture her swapping out her floral apron for a pair of coveralls, because she was a woman who got things done.

 I was channeling Ruth Shenk last weekend. (Or, to be more accurate, I was channeling my imagined version of Ruth.) I needed to rip up the rotted bathroom subfloor, but the toilet was on top of it. I can unhook a toilet. And I can scootch a toilet across a floor. I can even lift one a few inches off the floor. But I needed it in the tub, and P was off at work. I'm a strong lady in the metaphorical sense, and even a little bit in the physical sense. But there is a limit to what I can lift on my own.

So, I worked it out. I created a series of steps using paint cans so I only had to lift it a couple of inches at a time, and got it where it needed to go. And this tiny challenge, which would have been so easy for someone burlier than I, was an opportunity to improvise. And then I get to feel hardcore, which is half the point of buying this house!

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