When asked what you have been up to at the bed and breakfast, you casually reply that you have been doing some work for Linda on and off. Most of the things she has you do are simple, like repainting bedrooms and trimming hedges out front.
The truth is you’ve been mostly a big dykey loser.
Well, maybe not loser. But you’re certainly living up to the stereotype. Over the past week and a half, when you’re not riding the motorcycle around West Seattle (read: hanging on to Maria for dear life), you are helping to repair a car -installing new brake pads and rotors – and doing some remodel work on Linda’s house.
You had less to do with the car, but you did get grease on your hands and you certainly know how to change brake pads now. Also, in true mechanic fashion, you and Maria did this in Big Dan’s backyard drinking home-brewed beer. Of course everything was under the supervision of a real mechanic, still, you can’t express adequately enough how drinking and working on a car in the backyard felt. Not to mention the frequent breaks you took to jump on Dan’s trampoline. What a cool guy.
She lives in and operates a bed and breakfast out of a Tudor home, originally built around 1929. The house is gorgeous, and she has restored it to be a true replica of old English elegance, as she calls it. Part of her restoration includes wood paneling on the walls in the foyer, the stairway, and the upstairs hallway. Since she is giving you and Maria room and board in exchange for labor, the task of building and installing this paneling fell to you two.
You and Maria both have experience in construction. Maria worked for a demolition company out of high school and worked her way around Europe on construction projects. Your beginnings are less grand, but your dad is a carpenter/wood worker so you have your fair share of experience in restoration on a smaller scale. Besides, you’re essentially free labor, so regardless of your collective experience level, you were expected to get this done.
For the past 8 days or so you put on your jeans, your flannel shirt, and headed out to the lawn to rip MDF boards on a table saw and cut molding on the miter saw.
Lizelle: Wow. Do you even know how to use a table saw?
You: Yes (slightly offended). What kind of lesbian do you think I am?
Then you brought those boards inside and used a nail-gun -air compressor and all – to apply them to the downstairs foyer, staircase, and upstairs hallway. You can’t help but feel as though your father would be proud of you. You spent much of your childhood sneaking into his workshop and play with his tools pretending to construct things (seriously, how did you NOT know you were gay until you were 20?!)
At Linda’s, you sawed, sanded, glued, nailed, plastered, caulked, primed, and painted. In the end, you managed to construct exactly what Linda has envisioned and gained many new skills. Thanks to trial and error, you can now miter cut like a champ. You can also wield a nail gun and a level simultaneously and you know first-hand the wisdom in “measure twice, cut once.” Of course there was also a fair amount of painting involved, which you are already pretty skilled at. But still, it was a very cool experience having all of this come together. It feels to measure something, cut it, install it, and have it be exactly what you wanted. Carpentry is awesome and it sure as hell beats sitting at a desk all day.
You managed to impress Linda and make her dream a reality. That in itself is a good feeling. But you also came away with new knowledge and the satisfaction that you can build things. It feels good, and if this makes you a raging stereotype then so be it.
Behold the finished product: