All these projects before me, large and small. I am trying to educate myself about them to undertake as much of the work myself as I reasonably can, but not having used power tools since middle school shop class, it can be a bit daunting. Hard to believe I used to help my grandfather run a lathe and make table legs when I was a young girl. But I always had a fear of the drill press in his wood shop. And witnessed plenty of shop and chainsaw accidents to instill a healthy (or overblown?) fear of the dangers of saws.
Nonetheless, I am trying to learn and gain the knowledge needed to undertake projects without causing more harm to my boat than good. I also try to rely on store clerks to be knowledgeable and helpful. Unfortunately, often they are dismissive (either because I am a girl or a new boat owner, or both), and the advice I receive is oft wildly conflicting. I feel I should be able to say "I want to fill some wood so I can re-sink screws in it," and readily be directed to the right product. But no matter what I do or buy, someone says it is the wrong product, or won't work, or could have been solved better, faster, cheaper, et cetera. Since it gets tiring to be cut down every time I ask a question or mention an impending fix, I'll likely stick with Don Casey and Nigel Calder, whose books are conveniently absent of criticism of my lack of an encyclopedic knowledge of boat repairs. I would rather do for myself, but I also have to learn from someone; as much as I prefer to thoroughly study a problem in textbook style first, I need to see and practice hands-on before it sinks in. So I will still have to ask for help.
I've been told by the floppy-haired sailor guy that my problem is a lack of self-confidence, which is plainly an annoyance to him. It's ironic because I'd venture to say every other person who knows me thinks I'm one of the most self-assured people they know; I take on crazy new challenges without batting an eyelash--whether running daunting trail ultramarathons, leaving my whole life behind in Miami and starting over with hardly a penny to my name, or buying a 36-year-old project sailboat and moving aboard. I've had a lot of help along the way, and while I don't want anyone to carry me, we all deserve to surround ourselves with friends and lovers who want to lift us up.