19 steps to becoming a handywoman

1. Assert your independence as an able woman of the world who does not want to be dependent on a man for common household repairs.

2. To underscore this point, choose a project that is one -- or several -- steps above your current level of competency.

3. Make the appropriate purchases -- curtains, lightbulbs, small accent items, furniture stain, hammer, brightly colored paint, fabric patterns, drill bits, life insurance, etc.

4. Find instructions.

5. Read them.

6. Convince yourself you have a better way of doing it.

7. Shred instructions, and proceed with project.

8. Twelve minutes into project, hit your first snag. Immediately become frustrated.

9. Attempt to overcome snag on own. Inflict permanent damage on wall/table/chair/self in process.

10. Curse.

11. Fish instructions out of shredder. Attempt to reassemble.

12. Proceed with project based on garbled instructions.

13. Finish phase one of project. Have a stiff drink.

14. Enlivened by drink, begin phase two. Immediately hit next snag. Do not wait to curse.

15. In fit of pique, barrel through remainder of project. Make the promise of another stiff drink the carrot at the end of your personal stick.

16. Right before paint drys/varnish stains/curtains hang/ambulance comes, decided you want your carrot now, and enjoy said drink.

17. Finish project. Procure any necessary medical attention. Return unused drill bits.

18. Enjoy the look of project. Similar to childbirth, you quickly forget the pain and suffering said project inflicted on you.

19. Revel in household independence. Tell all your friends they can do it too. Plan next project.