A Screwy Back-to-School Story

GRK screws

After a two-week break between trimesters, construction school ginned up again with a bumper crop of new students. I remember back in 2016, when I was a new student, nervous about whether I had the cool overalls and tape measure and whether the other kids would make fun of me.

A year later, I’ve traded overalls for khaki work pants and upgraded my tape measure to a Stanley FatMax, but the other kids make fun of me anyway. They call me names like “OSHA Mom,” for my overbearing obsession with safety. They call me a pterodactyl because I am old. I own it. After all, my whole blog is about being a middle-aged mom in construction school.

Speaking of BuildMeUpButtercupBlog, the guys tease me relentlessly for all my photography and note-taking in class. And they’re always saying they know I’m going to embarrass them on the blog, which I would never do, because Buttercup is all about building people up, not tearing them down.

Buttercup is also all about the powerful transformation of education. In fact, on this first day back to school, I had an unexpected epiphany about the change that construction school has wrought in me.

We were talking about GRK fasteners, screws that require a special six-pointed-star-shaped drill bit. My classmates, including one guy who works at a big-box hardware store, were listing retailers that do and do not carry GRK products, and I chimed in that I was dismayed to learn that my local hardware store does NOT carry them.

As surprising as it was that my local hardware store didn’t carry GRK screws, it was even more surprising that I knew to ask for them in the first place. Even more surprising was the level to which I was irked by a granular gap in hardware inventory.

“I mean, who ever would have thought a year ago that I’d be lobbying a hardware store to stock GRK screws,” I asked my class rhetorically. “Look what this school has done to me.”

My classmate who works at the big-box retailer rolled his eyes and groaned something about OSHA Mom. (OSHA Mom has become accustomed to this amusing behavior, which fills the pages of BuildMeUpButtercupBlog.) Then he said, with ultimate sympathy for his brethren at my local hardware store, “That guy probably went home and wrote about you on his blog.”

3 thoughts on “A Screwy Back-to-School Story

  1. Just want to say how much I enjoy youreading blog. My daughter is your age and a few years ago did a short course on power tools for women. She loved it and does all the small repairs, etc. In her house having a less-than-handy spouse.


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