Monday, March 31, 2008


You CAN Do It Yourself!

I just finished reading an advance copy of "Were You Raised By Wolves?" by Christie Mellor, friend and author of "The Three Martini Playdate". This book is for twenty-somethings and I suggest it for any young person in your life who makes you smack your forehead on a regular basis. It covers the basics they should really be conversant in now that they are adults such as how to make a bed, how to throw a cocktail party, and how to hold an intelligent conversation.

Inspired by this, I've decided to come up with my own collection of things a woman should be able to do by the time she is forty. Yes, you have "guys" (husbands, handymen, contractors) who do this stuff for you but wouldn't you feel good if you knew you didn't need "guys" to do this? And wouldn't you feel empowered to know you (and by extension your daughters) don't need a man to take care of basic household/life stuff?

Because I'm too lazy to write an entire book on the topic, I will just list them out here.

Feel free to let me know what I forgot on this list at

THINGS A WOMAN SHOULD KNOW HOW TO DO BY THE TIME SHE IS 40 (A man should too, but the world thinks men already know all this even if they don't)

1. Wallpaper and paint a room: Painting is easy if you put enough tape over the stuff you don't want painted. Wallpapering is trickier and best tried with an experienced friend or parent the first time. Call me, I'll come help you. You do not need to pay someone to do these things, especially in the kids' rooms. Pay the pros to paint the dining room cranberry red. You can do everything else.

2. Install a light fixture: Remember to flip the switch in the fuse box before attempting this--don't know how to do that? Well you should. After that it's as simple as attaching red to red and black to black.

3. Tie a tie: on you or your spouse/son.

4. Change the furnace filter: more than once a year, please.

5. Drive a stick-shift: otherwise you'll pay double when you rent a car in Europe.

6. Mow the lawn: geez, what kind of princess are you?

7. Use crank thingy under the garbage disposal: saves you a ton in repair bills.

8. Fix a jammed washing machine: enter the error code into google and you'll find step-by-step directions.

9. Check your oil/air in tires: so simple I'm not going into it

10. Use a drill/be able to hang pictures or shelves: If you wait for hubby to do this you would never have anything on your walls. Go ahead, it's just a hole in the wall, you can fill it later when you re-paint the room.

11. Plan an entire vacation for four in Europe: Includes rental cars and train passes. Yes your hubby likes to do this but what will you do when he's gone some day? Presumably you will still want to travel and the pool boy is no good at this stuff.

12. Do your own taxes and financial planning: see above


1. Drywalling: Okay, I don't know how to do this but my neighbor Sue does. Though, as she'll say modestly, "I'm not great at taping."

2. Dig a stump out: This involves finding the taproot and goes a lot easier if Sue helps you.

3. Install a faucet/sink/vanity: I did this once and decided it's definitely worth paying the plumber to do. What would take him or her an hour or so took me a whole day. Still, I get a little thrill when I look at it.

4. Move any piece of furniture in your house by yourself with the help of a beach towel: I have found I can no longer move mattresses by myself up and down stairs. I'm slowing down I guess. But you can still move other furniture around by putting it on the towel then pulling the towel.


  1. Three things a 40-year-old male should be able to do, and which is quite ridiculous if he can't:

    - Cook
    - Sew a button on his pants
    - Live in a house without turning it into a dumpster

  2. Oh, and how about CHANGGING a tyre? Really not that hard either.