My friend Melissa is amazing. And by amazing, I mean, unbelievable. She can do anything. I have watched her design her own eco-friendly home, complete three acres of landscaping with a boyfriend and a shovel, grow her own garden, build her own chicken roost, and make jams, jellies, cookies, roasts, cocktails and more look e-a-s-y.

When people compare her to Martha Stewart, I just laugh. My money’s on Melissa in any contest of ingenuity and wit.

Melissa is so impressive that she became a bit of an inspiration for our little family. Why, if Melissa can make couch cushions out of recycled flour bags, then I’m sure I could make a pillow case!

And maybe I could hem my own pants? Or make beanbags. So, I gamely took out the sewing machine my mother gifted me more than 10 years ago.

I actually removed the sewing machine from its original packaging, as I had … ahem … never actually opened the box before. Something about sewing at home seemed very lonely and very domestic.

Meanwhile, my husband decided to do a few little fix-em-ups around the house. I was so pleased! On the list: the drippy faucet in the master bathroom and the clogged dryer vent line under the house. Simple stuff. No problem.

We planned to meet back in the kitchen at 3 p.m. and plan a savory, organic dinner. Off to our projects we went!

First, I had to string — I mean "thread" — the machine. Now, where was that thread? I tore the Singer box apart looking for some. Seriously? You mean these things don’t come with thread?

Meanwhile, I heard a loud banging coming from the bathroom. I went to investigate.

What I found was more than disheartening.

There was my dear husband leaning on a crowbar — trying to remove the entire sink. Hey, it’s just a drippy faucet!

"Can I call a plumber, babe?"

I’m sure you already know the answer to that question. Absolutely, "No."

I took a deep breath and turned away. It’s really better not to watch. And I had to buy some thread anyway, so I took off for the Wal-Mart Super Center.

When I arrived home, he was nowhere to be seen. I figured this was good news, and proceeded to my brightly lit little corner in the den. Here comes a pillow case! And baby clothes, and monogrammed hotpads, and aprons, and more!

The sewing machine manual is so thin, I think, this is going to be cake.


Three hours later my husband and I meet in the kitchen.

He’s so angry his eyebrows are touching! And he is very, very dirty. I am likewise frustrated. Forget about those directions, and bobbins, and pins and kitchen scissors that can’t even cut through thread.

We call the plumber, an HVAC professional and grandma. Yes! She does want a new sewing machine!

Do-it-yourself enterprises are really awesome– when you possess abilities and talents that fit the project. I’ve learned to leave the "Martha" projects to Melissa, and to just be a really good friend (and make sure I get invited to her cocktail parties and outdoor barbecues).

I now know that I will not be making "Welcome Home" aprons for my buying clients. I’ll have some new address cards printed instead. And … I might suggest that a fellow broker in my office forget about learning HTML and just hire somebody to build his really amazing website.

The last thing he needs is a wrench through the computer. As for my husband? Well, he gets lots of awards and praise for letting the plumber put the sink back in the countertop.

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