You would think in writing this blog for the past six months it would have dawned on me at some point to explain why I have, or rather how I earned, the nickname Power Femme. However, you’d be wrong — well, until this morning that is. Femme Wonder mentioned it offhandedly a while back and it went in one ear and right out the other, likely jumping the turnstile in the middle to speed up the process.
In my estimation (at least my definition) of Power Femme would be a woman who is strong, a bit feminine but can still hold her own. I think that describes me well. I like to think I am a pretty tough cookie, albeit a sweet one likely covered in sprinkles and probably full of… chocolate.
But here’s how I got the name.
Years upon years ago, I want to say 2000, I was living with another Robin. It made for some interesting phone conversations to determine which of us the caller wanted. (Aah, the days of house phones.) Anyway, Robin bought a house in a decent neighborhood back home but the house was a fixer-upper to say the least. Unbeknownst to her at the time, she’d bought the house of the neighborhood drug dealer that practically every neighbor was happy to say good riddance to. One even took the “For Sale” sign out of his yard when she introduced herself as a jail officer.
Getting the house ready to move in was a nightmare of sorts. Doors and windows had to be replaced. You never think when buying a house that you need to inspect every pane of glass in the windows to ensure they are there. When I managed to windex the bushes in the front of the house… I learned this is something you need to do.
Femme Wonder spent hours upon hours with us bleaching, mopping, painting and more to get the house in order. It’s pretty bad when Beccie splashed bleach on the wall accidentally and discovered that minty green kitchen was actually baby blue.
Part of the prepping process of the house was to paint the inside of the closets. The two-bedroom house was unique in that the closets connected the rooms to one another. The bedrooms shared a long closet between them and the second connected the front bedroom to the living room. We had removed the long shelves from the closet, moving them to the garage for painting purposes. They’d been drying outside for several days as other projects occupied our time. Finally, they were ready to return, and Beccie and I were ready to earn our nicknames.
Robin had left to go somewhere. She might have made her 1,000,000,000th trip to Home Depot or Lowe’s, maybe she was getting lunch, I don’t remember. What I do remember is she left Bec and I in the house alone with a determination that we too could be savvy with home repair.
We were given the task to put the shelves back into the closets. This should have been a no-brainer and certainly an easy enough task for two competent women such as ourselves to accomplish, right?
We carried the first one into the closet and it went in fine — a little loose, but fine. A shared high-five led us to shelf two, and that’s when we hit a snag. This one was just a little too big. We struggled, strained and tried everything short of slabbing butter on it. With glistening brows covered in sweat and not just because it was summertime in Kentucky, we began to discuss what the problem was and what the most logical solution would be.
We deduced that the wood must have swollen due to it sitting outside for however long it had been there. Kentucky summers are nice and humid, surely that would have caused the wood to expand. Well, with the problem determined, next we needed a solution. Like kids in a candy store, our faces lit up and our mouths curled up into mischievous grins as we saw the answer to our dilemma… a power saw.
Now, to be fair, Beccie tried to talk me out of it, I think. The argument being with the chute attached for blowing sawdust out of the way, we’d make a mess. Once I agreed to clean it up and to operate this thing in case Robin was upset, we were full steam ahead.
I should tell you, I can’t cut a straight line to save my life. Using a power tool I had never tried did not increase my odds either. With the saw above my head, I tackled that board now impossibly wedged in the closet. After multiple passes I had taken a good six inches off one corner and maybe half an inch from the other on the end I could get to.
I let go of the trigger and set the saw down to survey my handiwork. Beccie and I both were covered in sawdust and sweat but let out a triumphant cry as the shelf fell into place. It wasn’t soon after the front door opened and Robin returned to see us both pleased with our “accomplishment.”
I explained how proud we were but that she should refrain from putting anything heavy on that corner, since it really no longer existed. We’d managed to place a few items in the closet to cover it up.
Robin, trying to be diplomatic, nodded her head as we spoke, grinning ear to ear. She wiped her hand across her face before quietly speaking.
“You do realize you could have just switched the shelves out, right?” she asked.
Following our “triumph,” Power Femme and Femme Wonder were born, and we were never left alone with anything beyond a screwdriver or a hammer again.