I went “to town” over the weekend.  This town being that straight stretch of big box stores drawing Whitefish and Kalispell, Montana, ever closer together.  Am I proud of shopping at the big box stores?  No.  Am I happy that Costco, Lowe’s, and Target exist?  Yes.

Going-t0-town means a one way drive of about 150 miles, no matter which “town” you depart near Babb for.  It means long lists of items to procure, coupons stuffed haphazardly into visors, folding the muddy seats in the old Tahoe up and down and up again.  If I am alone, which I generally am, it means an old envelope on which Honeydew has drawn a picture of a part that he needs, that I must show to the workers at Lowe’s and beg for their assistance in finding.  I do this frequently at our wonderful local hardware store, Billman’s in Cut Bank, and the kind folks there always pluck the drawing from my hands, disappear into the aisles overflowing with mysterious angles of metal and pipes of PVC, and emerge moments later: “This is what he needs, Mrs. Honeydew.  Do you want this on your account?”

Ah.  If only everything could be purchased at Billman’s.

But, back to Lowe’s.  I don’t exactly get that kind of treatment at Lowe’s, but there are some items of hardware that even Billman’s does not carry, and so sometimes I must venture into the vastness of Lowe’s.  Last year, when wandering the aisles in search of drywall patches, I happened across this beautiful tool:

That, my fine friends, is a Dremel tool.

Two Christmases ago, when I launched the Glacier County Honey Company’s collection of gorgeous beeswax ornaments, I did not exactly have a plan in mind for creating them with efficiency.  Once I’d poured the wax, and it cooled, I’d sit there in the kitchen at Hillhouse, staring at their imperviousness.

You see that darling, impervious ornament there?  That’s the Beehive/Skep Nativity Scene – our best seller, actually.  But it ain’t gonna sell if there ain’t no hole to put an ornament hanger through.

And beeswax, well, it is some tough stuff.  At one point in my initial foray into ornament making, I’d heat up my great uncle Charlie’s Coca-Cola ice pick in a stockpot of water, and attempt to … worm the pick through the top of the beeswax ornament, in order to have a hole for the ornament hanger.

Then I got wise and borrowed Brother Dear’s fabulous DeWalt drill.  He loves it when I borrow his power tools.  And lose the bits.

The drill was great, but sometimes a bit too powerful, and it broke as many ornaments as it didn’t.  Or could be user error – who knows?

I despaired.  I had a stack of ornament orders and the sun had long since set.

Then my dad stepped into the kitchen, and said quietly, “You know, what you need is a Dremel tool.  That’d be perfect for putting holes in those ornaments.”  And without even asking what in the heck a Dremel tool was, I flew to the ongoing Lowe’s list tacked to the refrigerator, and scrawled “Drimmil tool.”  Where power tools are concerned, I have the utmost confidence in my dad’s recommendations.

And so, when I was in Lowe’s last fall and ran across the Dremel tool, I rejoiced.

And of course, my dad was right.  The Dremel tool is perfect for putting tiny holes into fragile beeswax ornaments, so that I can then run a needle and raffia through them, and give them an ornament hanger.  ‘Cause an ornament ain’t an ornament if you can’t hang it.

Needless to say, ornament season 2010 went much more smoothly than ornament season 2009.  I can’t say the same for my nails, though – Dremel Tools are mighty hard on pretty fingernails.

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