Ever have one of those frustrating moments when you desperately needed to lay your manicured mitts on a simple little screwdriver, you know, to unscrew the bottom of your vacuum cleaner so you could release the pet hamster you mistakenly sucked up thinking it was a common dust bunny, but the closest thing you could find was a tarnished fork?

Well, this here housewife feels your pain—or did, anyway, but no more.  Now that all my children are in school all the lovely day long, I sat down with myself and drafted up a brand new concept—Mom’s Toolbox, and I have vowed to never be without one again.

Many of us have a personal “bucket list” inspired from the very funny and touching movie, The Bucket List, starring Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson.  The gist of this very important list is to write down the important items/tasks/ideas that you’d like to accomplish before you, well, kick the bucket!  I’ve got myself one of those (even scratched one off last month when the kids went back to school—# 23 Eat Chinese food in the Jacuzzi, alone, with beverage of choice), but now I have one with a new twist and it’s basically more or less of a “survival” kit for housewives, and I have my non-handy husband to thank for it.  (No, I’m not throwing him under the bus, I’m grateful that after 24 years of marriage he loves me enough to understand my wifely sense of humor and I his—let’s just say my meatballs will never compare to his mother’s!)

The God’s honest truth is that if you were to come to our house and need to borrow a tool of any kind, the chances of finding a flathead screwdriver is about as likely as finding me at the beach wearing a bikini and sporting a tattoo on my back that says “Bring it on Big Daddy”.  This makes it difficult when things in our homestead go awry like last week when the front door handle kept popping off and the only way we could finally secure it was to borrow some Silly Putty from the kids and glop on a little bit of super glue for good measure.

When you’ve jerry rigged for as many years as we have, it starts to become a way of life, but it also tends to get old.  My husband works very hard for this family, traveling much of the time, so why should the burden of home repairs always fall on him?  With 6 hours of free time each day on my hands during this school year, I’m going to belly up to the maintenance bar and drink up—and it all starts with the right tools.

In order to make this official, I purchased a brand new toolbox.  Not thrilled with the basic red model I found, I decided I’d decorate it all pretty with my scrapbooking stickers.  After smothering it with flowers, hearts and rainbows I made sure to stencil in black sharpie the following:  MOM’S TOOLBOX—I WILL KNOW IF YOU SO MUCH AS BREATHE ON IT.

You see, the reason it’s hard to find so much as a lowly pair of pliers in our place is not because we don’t own them, it’s because several family members other than my husband and me borrow them and don’t see the need to return them to their proper place.  You know what this means, right?  Approximately 89 tools of ours are hiding in places like Barbie’s Townhouse, the Hot Wheel’s garage, the dog house and probably the freezer for all I know.

Now that I created my own Mom’s Toolbox, I was going to guard it like a priceless Van Gogh on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Fine Art!  I even went as far to install a little alarm that beeps when it is opened—clever, ey?

After I gussied up the actual toolbox, I went right to work filling it with everything and anything I might need to fix a loose screw (not my own, of course), caulk a leaky tub, or even mend a boo boo (band aids are essential in a Mom’s Toolbox!).

I’m not sure what will come of this toolbox, but it’s jammed right now with all the essentials—HGTV’s top five—a hammer, cordless drill, screwdriver set, a tape measure and level (don’t you hate it when a picture hangs cockeyed), and of course a rotary tool to make all those precise cuts in any roast beef or glass tile.  In addition, I threw in a few other must haves such as an extra roll of toilet paper, a few Snicker’s bars, another set of keys to my car (not that I ever lose mine), and most importantly a picture of my darling family.

Silly as it seems, the photo is probably the most important device I’ll ever have in that must have toolbox of mine because it will always be a reminder that no many how many jiggley toilet handles or unhinged kitchen cabinets come my way, if it weren’t for my family I wouldn’t need a toolbox to begin with.  Now if you’ll please excuse me thanks to the 10 showers a day that precious family of mine takes, I have a leaky faucet calling my name.

Copyright 2011 Cheryl Butler