DIY and the Zombie Apocalypse

In the case of an actual zombie apocalypse, I'm going to need to find someone willing to barter: protection in exchange for my wealth of civilization-rebuilding skills.

Apr 9, 2012 at 12:00pm | Leave a comment

In the case of an actual zombie apocalypse, my friends joke, I'm going to need to find someone willing to barter: protection during the apocalypse itself in exchange for my wealth of civilization rebuilding skills. It'll be a great deal for whoever is willing to help me survive -- I know how to make all sorts of things.

I've always been interested in making things.

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If pigs survive the zombie apocalypse, I can make you these bacon green beans.

And over the years, I've built up a fairly extensive DIY resume without even realizing it. In fact, it's probably habit just as much as inclination, but I've reached the point where I'd actually rather do it myself with it comes to just about anything.

I realized this most profoundly during the brief couple of months when Ed and I flirted with considering looking at houses to buy (we decided we aren’t married to the MCO – so that’s on hold). Ed was busy falling in love with all of these move-in ready places, while I… Let’s just say the phrase fixer-upper is like a sweet nothing being whispered in my ear.

Also, mature landscaping. It makes me swoon.

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Check out the garden - we're harvesting veg almost every day now.

No floor? No big deal! I know how to lay tile! Missing walls? No big deal! I’m sure I can figure out drywall! I’m a home-owning disaster waiting to happen.

But I’m also super glad to have this kind of DIY ethos -- sometimes I find myself in over my current skill set, but I’m eager to tackle new projects. Fearlessness can backfire but sometimes it gives you really great results. And it is always always a learning experience.

In fact, I feel really empowered. I don’t mean just as a woman; I mean as a person in general. If I need to do something, I am pretty confident that I can do it. Or figure out how to do it.

Here’s what happens: I see something cool. “Hey, self!” I say, “That is really cool! But why on earth would you pay 3,00 dollars for that bed?” Then I wind up at IKEA, buying a bed and a bunch of spray paint. (Granted, I don’t get the spray paint at IKEA, but you know what I mean.)

The bed turned out amazing, just so you know.

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I feel like I've been knitting this shawl for-freaking-ever.

Of course, the decorative arts are not the first order of business when you’re trying to recover from a civilization-crushing event like zombie epidemics. While I do think prettying things up helps with survivor morale, I also know how to garden and do things like preserve food. I can tan hides -- though someone else is going to have to peel the animal for me because I do get a little squeamish with mammals. It's why I've never actually learned how to do taxidermy.

Though, who knows -- once I’m done with clown school, I’ll need a new class to take.

If our apocalypse involves a climate shift for the chilly, I know how to process raw wool, dye it, spin it, and then turn it into something wearable -- I can knit, crochet, and weave. I can also make garments without a pattern. Because you can still be stylish after a global terminal event, right?

And if global warming speeds up? I can do the same with flax (though, honestly, I don’t really like working with flax) and cotton. Cotton wicks sweat away, which is totally important when you’re trying to prevent a Kevin Costner movie from developing.

That man needs natural fibers.

I’m not entirely useless in a fight -- I don’t think I’ll be an active liability for anyone who agrees to help me out. I can shoot! But my aim with a bow and arrow is pretty terrible. And I’m a close-combat wuss. Tell me where to hide, and I’ll hide there.

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I learned how to work with acrylic resin with this piece - the top is covered with buttons.

Once the dust (and zombie population) settles, I’ll kick into action. We’re going to need shelter; we’re going to need food. Both of those things can be pretty Spartan -- but we can do better than “This is Sparta!”

I think Sparta kind of sucked, honestly.

In the meantime, while we wait for the zombies, I keep learning new things, trying new projects. It’s not that I am unwilling to buy stuff -- I love buying stuff. But if I’m going to be a consumer (because, you know, I do have problems with capitalism sometimes), then I want to be a constructive consumer. I don’t sit still well; it feels too passive. I prefer to buy ingredients and then turn them into other things.

Actually, I prefer to find or otherwise recycle ingredients -- and I don’t mean for cooking.

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We found this on the side of the road and refinished it.

What looking at things from a DIY perspective has taught me, though, is that everything is a building block, a raw material that can be transformed. Once I started thinking about the things around me as materials, figuring out how to make stuff got a lot easier.

And it's made life a lot less scary in general -- I have confidence that I can figure things out because I have this past string of projects where I HAVE FIGURED THINGS OUT.

It's enough to make a person feel competent.

Of course, all I have to do to get over any sense of feeling like I know what I'm doing is to start a new project. I kid, I kid.

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We call this the circus couch and we made it look like that ourselves. On purpose.

DIY CAN make a person nervous, though. And, like I said, I'm probably going to be an unfortunate reality show on HGTV when I finally get around to buying a house. There's always a little frisson of "What if this goes horribly wrong" when you try to learn how to do something completely new.

Honestly, at this point I find that feeling exciting. I'm not an adrenaline junkie (I say this despite my penchant for sports cars and roller coasters) so maybe this is how I get my thrills -- small scale danger. Hey, hot glue guns can burn, man.

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Need Mad Max style in the post-apocalyptic wasteland? I am on that.

But anything that makes life seem a little less like screaming down a terrifying hill on a sled is amazing, right? Especially when it comes to zombies.

I'm ready to trade civilization-rebuilding skills. If you'll help me survive those zombies, I think we can work out a deal.