This week at Projectophile, we bid farewell to an old friend – the “Toolshop” brand 2-in-1 Pneumatic Nail Gun and its adorable one-gallon air compressor – nicknamed “Pokie the Poodle” for her ability to penetrate the most stubborn blocks of wood and her obvious resemblance to a standard poodle, if poodles had very long red curly tails.
So why the tearful goodbye? You see, Pokie never really belonged to us in the conventional tool-ownership way.*
Our friend Tamra
purchased adopted Pokie at a school-sponsored bazaar. Before she ever used it herself, Tamra loaned us the shiny red-and-black nail gun so we could build a new subfloor for the Babushka half-bath. True to her characteristic generosity, Tamra made the loan open-ended, urging us to keep Pokie for as long as we could use her. She would only ask us to return Pokie when her services were needed at Tamra’s house.
And did we use it!** In fact, I’m not sure that the sprawling Babushka Estate would be the shimmery palace of completed projects that it is without Pokie’s tireless nail-shooting.
Pokie saved me hours of manual nailing while building up our IKEA-dresser-turned-kitchen island:
And who could forget the hundreds of nails she shot into our Backyard Fence Project? Definitely not my right hand! Here’s Pokie taking a break with all her power-tool buddies Twirly the Impact Driver and Screwy the Drill, as her human handlers look on.
Even the front of the house got a taste of Pokey’s powers! I’ll never forget how she sacrificed herself to make us a fresh new Porch Skirt:
Perhaps all these stories about “projects” and “home improvement” give you the impression that Pokie was just a tool to us; just an object that we pulled out of the box every so often to use for our own selfish reasons.
No, Pokie was a valued member of the family.
She loved sharing family meals with us. But we never added salt to her food due to her high air pressure:
On Sunday mornings she loved to kick back and read the New York Times. She always started with the “Sunday Styles” section.***
On nicer days, Pokie enjoyed sitting in the back yard with the Feral Cats, who never seemed as skittish around her, except when her compressor unexpectedly turned on:
Sometimes the kids could coax her off the patio furniture for a game of soccer, but Pokie grumbled that just because she didn’t have real legs, she ALWAYS had to play goalie:
Yes, the kids looked up to Pokie like a big sister, though it didn’t stop them from teasing her as much as a “real” sibling. Pokie, watch out for that Whoopie Cushion!
We knew we’d have to give Pokie back some day, but didn’t expect it to happen so suddenly. We were devastated when Tamra – Pokie’s original Metal Mommmy – told us that she is moving her family to another Midwestern city, about 300 miles away, and Pokie was going with them. This new city happens to be the one where I grew up and where I still go frequently to visit family, and Tamra assured me that we could see Pokie on Thanksgiving and Christmas and Easter for brief, supervised visits.
With a heavy heart, we packed Pokie into her protective box and delivered her back to Tamra for the long journey to the next state.
But when we got to Tamra’s house, she had left me a parting gift – a red-and-black “tool purse.” How did she know I needed one of those? I think I’ll name her in honor of my Irish grandparents: Mrs. Baggie O’Toole.
I know that Mrs. O’Toole could never replace Pokey, but she will be a wonderful addition to our family. What section of the Sunday Times will she want to read first?
—— endnotes ——
* Nobody “owns” a power tool, such as you would never say that you “own” a child or a goldfish. We are temporary caregivers, preferring the term “Metal Mommy” to “owner.”
** That’s a rhetorical question in the form of an interjection.
*** Pokie is a big fan of Modern Love. But she is critical of the Times’ practice of listing the occupations of the brides’ and grooms’ parents in “Vows,” which we suspect triggers her class-consciousness. Her mother was a hammer and her father a bike pump.