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When life gives you lemons… make something else. Tell us about a time you used an object or resolved a tricky situation in an unorthodox way.

I am one of those people who always tries to improvise and think outside the box to fix things. I have a great junk drawer from which I have pulled many things out  and used to some purpose.

I have thought about this for a day — which is why I didn’t publish yesterday. I know I’ve often tried creative ways to fix things– but for the life of me I can’t recall any clever ones to write about.

I remember one time when my daughter was going to a high school dance, at the last minute we spray-painted a pair of shoes to go with her dress.

I’m a great gluer, but I have had my mishaps. There are a few times I’ve become totally attached to the item I’m fixing, or I’ve glued my fingers together. Do you know how hard it is to unstick Super Glue? I’ve found nail polish remover the best, but it takes some time and patience. Now I wear latex gloves when I use it — I do learn from my mistakes.

Another unfortunate event I had was when I used Gorilla Glue to fix the soles on a pair of shoes that were becoming unattached at the toes. I glued the shoes, used clothes pins to hold the soles to the shoes, and came back later to see if my fix had worked. What a surprise I had. Let’s just say it’s probably best to thoroughly read instructions, because maybe I would have know that Gorilla Glue expands as it sets. It looked like my shoes were throwing up with yellowy-beige foamy stuff coming out of the toes.

I’m very handy: I use most power tools efficiently, know how to apply and sand spackling to drywall, am an expert at caulking, paint (walls) well, struggle with ceilings because I’m only 5’4″, and have done some simple reupholstery and made some slip covers. I frame and mat, but less than I used to, and made a frame for the bathroom mirror to cover a bit of discoloration at the bottom edge of the mirror.

Perhaps the most interesting problem solved by friends and family members was when a pipe under the floor of our old house in St. Andrews sprung a leak when we tried to tack down the carpet. Our children and a friend chewed gum until it had a good tacky consistency and then applied it to the leak until we could get a plumber in. It’s probably the first time we’ve ever asked our kids to chew gum!

Gum Plumbers

Gum Plumbers

Perhaps my most successful use of an unlikely “tool” to fix a problem was when we had a drain clog. It was on the lowest floor of our house which is just a few feet under ground level. My husband and son-in-law had tried one of the yukky snakes through the toilet and through the ground drain in the utility room. No luck. I thought, “What would push some stubborn clog out of the way?” and came up with the idea of using the pressure washer. I stuck it down the floor drain as far as I could, sprayed, and it worked! No problems since — almost a year ago!