One Handy Girl | Girl Power

I grew up, the middle child between my older sister and younger brother.   Being the middle child, was a tough place to be. My sister is a girlie girl and my brother obviously a boy, that left me somewhere in between.  I was a Tomboy, that loved to get my hands dirty.  Any time I could jump in to help my dad do non girl tasks, I was happy to join in.

one handy girl
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Since then, I have always called myself one handy girl.   Being handyman as a girl, is something that we see far more then we used to.   Gone are the days when a girl is just in the kitchen and a boy outside doing all the boy jobs.  That just doesn’t exist anymore.  PHEW!!!  Thank God!.

Men tasks?

There are many girls that are now more then every tackling everyday tasks that “used to be done by men”.   I hate that saying “Oh well that’s a man’s job”.

I do not believe that to be true.   A girl is just as capable as a man.

Tasks that are often referred to as men tasks are things like :

  • fixing your lawnmower
  • building a fence
  • installing a new TV
  • using hand tools to do repairs
  • minor home repairs
  • home renovations

These jobs in many homes are done by a man.   In my home, they have always been done by me.   Now you can say that it is because I am gay and live with another woman, and we just don’t have a man around.   But I prefer to say it is just some girls are handy and can do these things on their own.   That is definitely describes me!

Physically handy

There are many tasks that I have tackled in my life, that have made me very proud to say I was a part of.   Some of the most impressive things I have been lucky to be able to do simply because I am handy are:

  • Ripping off an old rotten deck on a house I had bought.   Then building a new deck from start to finish complete with a huge design hole for a hot tub.   This project was one of the first big projects I tackled in my early 20s with my ex-girlfriend.   A complete learning experience for me.  It should me how much work owning a house really was.
  • Another big project, was Demo day on our kitchen in Gananoque.   This included tearing down a lath and plaster wall in its entirety.   Yup!!    How fun was that!    We ripped out the entire kitchen.   It was truly an amazing “DEMO DAY”!

One handy girl ripping down a wall   one handy girl kitchen
  • Buying a house that had nothing done in the basement.   Finishing that basement from the framing to installing a suspended ceiling and installing the flooring.   Then the fun part….. decorating the room to get the finished product.   So much fun to do!

 

one handy girl basement reno   one handy girl basement reno
  • Working in a wood shop that built oak furniture from scratch.   From helping to design it, to taking a piece of raw oak and running it through a planner, then assembling the pieces, sanding and staining.   This really showed me what it really takes to have an idea, draw it and then have it end in a beautiful piece of furniture that will last for decades.
  • Building a roof over our back deck in my current home with my dad is the last big project I have tackled.   Being almost 50 now, and struggling with a foot injury, I am wondering if this will be the last.

One handy girl deck roof    one handy girl deck roof finish
  • Being a labourer for the city of saskatoon which is my current position is a challenging one.   Mostly because of the constant changing tasks.   One day it can be waxing floor with a swing machine, the next it can be driving the forklift of Bobcat in 30 below temperatures.   Somedays it is even going down 30 feet in a confined space with a fire hose to clean the inside out.   Whatever the day brings, it is very guaranteed to be physically demanding.

one handy girl city labourer

Techy

One well-known quality that I have is that I am very tech handy.  To be honest, I am not even sure why or how I ended up being able to do some of the tech things I can do.  I amaze myself really.

Some cool things that I have done in my life that in the tech field are:

  • Being a woman lineman for a telephone crown utility called “SaskTel”.   I worked there for 19 years.   One of the jobs that I was lucky enough to get was being a Trucking and Switching Technician.  Now that job was an inside office job that required computer skills to actually program people’s phone lines from start to finish.   So if someone asked for a new phone, I would go online and program all the features on the line and then test the line.   Line testing requires knowledge of electricity, including grounds, shorts and line crosses.  Understanding physically what happens on the line and then testing it while reading that result.   This was a super challenging and inside look how someone actually gets dial tone on a landline phone.  Very technical.
  • I loved my job as an inside technician, but after that, I decided to take that knowledge and physically be the technician that fixes it.   This was my job as a telephone lineman that worked outside repairing phone line issues.   For me it was a wonderful way for me to take my inside knowledge and apply in a way that repaired the issue physically.   A very physically demanding job, that also took my handy tool skills and put them to good use.  Climbing telephones everyday is not for the person that isn’t looking for a challenge.  This certainly was that.

one handy girl lineman
  • Another job that required my tech savvy skills, was installing alarm systems in homes.   For almost 3 years, I ran a rural route in eastern Ontario that covered a massive area.   I was the tech responsible for all installs, repairs which included alarms, and cameras.   This job required a complete understanding of internet, modem, routers and more.   How they work and how to add a new device into an existing network.   Once the mental side of the install was done, the physical install needed to be completed.   Again my skills with hand tools, handling customers face to face and computer skills all came together for this job.

Handy

Whether the jobs I have tackled in my life, are simply because I am one handy girl, or just my determination to never say “I can’t do that”!

Whatever the reason, being handy has really served me well.   Anytime I would tackle something that I had never done before, I would feel so good about myself.   The pride that I could actually start and finish a task many girls wouldn’t dream of trying.

It has made me a stronger person.   I think about my life a lot and often wonder if being gay or being a Tomboy, is the deciding factor in who I am and what I can accomplish.   I like to believe that all of it has gotten me here to this point in my life.   Not one in spite of the other or vice versa.   Sometimes I just think that we are just giving some natural skills in the womb and that no matter what happens in our life, those skills will find a way to show themselves.  For me that is being handy!

I hope that you have enjoyed reading my post and that I will inspire even one girl to realize that it is OK if you want to be trades person, or tech savvy girl. Never let em tell you “NO”, “GIRL POWER”!

Drop me a comment below, I would love to hear your thoughts.

 

2 thoughts on “One Handy Girl | Girl Power”

  1. Hey great article and I love your story. To be honest I don’t really give it a second thought, my handy person is a man but my plumber is a women, hopefully the old views are gone when we have a bias to what sex is related to a certain job. Hopefully but I expect there is still a bias around.

    I think the main challenge is unconscious bias as it is a problem for many organizations in diversity of workforce. So people say they are not biased but their actions don’t say that and they are actually not consciously aware of it.

    The most important thing is the job is done. It’s a massive market. My Dad was a bricklayer but I would not know how to put up a curtain rail up let alone build a house as he did . I am always looking for people to help me out around my flat. 

    A great share and good luck with it all, it sounds and feels very exciting!

    Ps don’t get me started on school education bias….:)

    Reply
    • Hi Phil,

      I am so glad that you enjoyed reading my article.  I agree, that yes there is still job bias around, but I would like to think that we are moving in the right direction.

      In my work, they do not promote any women to non traditional roles, and that is a big city.  I just don’t understand that.  No matter what kind of experience you have, all that matters is if you are a girl trying to do a perceived male job.

      Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on this issue and hopefully things will continue to change.

      Cory

      Reply

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