by Diane Payne
Now that I've purchased the new drill with all the extra gadgets for home repair, I feel compelled to do home projects. Yesterday my fifteen-year-old daughter and I stopped by the hardware store to buy a couple of shelves for her bedroom and bathroom. I have high hopes these shelves will motivate her to keep her rooms cleaner. I have high hopes for many things.
"Ready to hang your shelves, Ania?" I asked once we returned home.
"Oh, no. I need to help."
"One day you'll be living in an apartment and will want to know how to hang a shelf."
"Not this again."
"It's true. You'll see.
"I pulled out the instructions and decided to start with the smaller shelf for her bathroom. I had just finished repairing the large hole in her bedroom after the plumber cut the wall to replace a leaky pipe. I didn't want to repair any more holes on that wall.
"Hmmm. We need to find a stud," I said, then remembered seeing a stud finder in my new drill toolbox kit.
I pressed the start button and slid it across the wall.
"I think you need batteries," Ania pointed out.
"See, you're good at this." She rolled her eyes but then wanted to be the stud finder after seeing how it lit up.
"It must not work!" she said.
"Let's try your bedroom."
Bingo. A stud. And just like my handyman book has said, about 18 inches away, another stud.
We returned to the bathroom. It remained studless. That explained why the towel racks were always falling down.
"No problem. That's why we need these anchors."
Once again directions called for something I didn't have. I have a lot of bits, but no 9/32. "We'll just use a smaller one and see what happens. Here, you want to drill?"
"Come on, it's fun."
Two seconds with the drill and Ania wanted no more of it.
I put the anchors in and handed Ania the drill so she could put the screws in. That lasted a few more seconds. "It's not going straight."
"Hold it harder and aim."
"You do it."
Ania slid the brackets over the screws and declared, "That was easy. Fifteen minutes like the box said."
"Let's move to your bedroom."
Off we went using the level, measuring, and getting everything just right. "Well, we can use one stud," I said drilling away with the 7/32. Then I drilled the other hole and realized my mistake. "Oops, I think I was supposed to make a hole just big enough for the screw. It's hard drilling in this stud. We need to go back really far and make it wide enough to get that anchor in."
The hole kept getting larger and Ania kept saying, "My poor wall! Not another hole."
"Oh, it'll work. You'll see. Well, now we know about studs." Trying to distract Ania from the hole, I added, "Stud finder. That's a funny name. You know why?"
"You know another meaning for stud?"
" A beefy guy."
"Oh, brother. Just pay attention to the hole!"
I felt like a dentist with the drill. I used a hammer to pound that anchor in and said, "Look at that! It worked! Don't put anything too heavy on this."
A few minutes later, Ania called me to see how she decorated her shelves.
"It's a beauty. Next shelves you can do by yourself."
"I don't need any more shelves."
"Feel like going around the house to find studs?"
"You are weird, Mom."
If I ever found a beefy stud, I'd probably handle him all wrong also.
I was relieved to find the shelves still hanging on the walls the next morning. Maybe this one project will work out. Maybe...
About the author:
Diane Payne is the mother of a teenage daughter and teaches creative writing at the University of Arkansas-Monticello. She is the author of two novels, Burning Tulips and A New Kind of Music. She has been published in hundreds of literary magazines, most recently those include: Fiction International, Tea Party Magazine, and The Rambler. More info can be found at: