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ToolBox TomGirl Talk

June 14, 2010

Welcome!  I’m Jo Ellen Soesbee, your ToolBox TomGirl.

Just a typical woman on a typical mission: To put a hammer in the hand of every woman and teach her how to use it.

This is where I share my adventures as a DIY woman, and as owner of a woman-run and operated residential repair service – Reliable Repairs. Oh, we do commercial work too. So, there’s A LOT to talk about.

Mostly, I look forward to two things:  Sharing the secrets of becoming an independent, toilet-fixing, weather-stripping, money-saving Do-It-Yourself Woman, and learning more about you. What inspires you to DIY, what you get from the experience and how I can support you.

I also give fast tips, great resources and general wrench wisdom in my eNewsletter and in the WomanTalk Live eNewsletter. WomanTalk Live is a radio show hosted by the amazing Ann Quasman. I have the honor of being the show’s Woman’s DIY Expert. What’s more exciting is that I will soon be be teaching Ann how to fix her faucet on YouTube.

It’s all part of my commitment to help women become more independent; to help all of us easily say: “Honey, would ya hand me that hacksaw?”

Kind of rolls off the tongue doesn’t it?

To women holding hammers,

Jo Ellen Soesbee, the ToolBox TomGirl


The Creeping Crud: Black MOLD

November 14, 2011

All I can say is Yuck. Double Yuck. And maybe even triple Yuck. I won’t tell you what my customer was saying but I can assure you – it was not “yuck.” Read more…

My Hero

July 10, 2011

It’s Superman……It’s Batman…….It’s James Bond 007….Noooooo – It’s Kyle Reid from Sherwin Williams in Woodbridge VA.  He’s my Hero.  Okay, so he’s not tall, dark and handsome. He’s still my hero. He’s good-looking with a great smile. (okay, Kyle – stop blushing). He’s young, has a great sense of humor, is extremely patient and has the BEST – and I mean – the BEST customer service style I have seen in a long time. He ROCKS. Kyle performed better than a modern day spy when he looked through old files for the paint colors used on a local gym for me. Read more…

Being a woman in business is not for sissies: But you don’t have to be a rocket scientist either

May 19, 2011

I don’t have a Ph.D., sure, I have a B.S. in Business – But, honestly, it is NOT what prepared me for my business. I became a savvy business owner by doing it.

 I attended the School of HARD KNOCKS. I was a perfect 4.0. In fact, I graduated top in my class cum de laude or whatever you call it. That’s me – Vala Duh Torture Um – the one who gives the parting speech about how great the world is and how we are going to make a difference. Yup, that’s why I am giving all these talks all the time about being a woman in business. The women’s groups know I suffered and they can see that being a woman in construction is tough. They love me!  (Well, I love me anyway).

Hey – I’m the ToolBox TomGirl…what more can you want. I am the CEO/Founder of a woman owned and operated construction company. AND – I am still in business during a recession.

Read more…

Things that go bump, crawl, or slither in the night

April 18, 2011

The service call was for us to fill in some mouse holes at a local retail store. Heck, I thought, this was going to be an easy job. I jumped in the truck and drove over with my can of Great Stuff. I walked in and asked where the room was where they thought the mice were coming in. I was led to the back where the stock room was located. Apparently this room was only being used by the old pictures, left over stock, bugs, mice, cobwebs, and sticky pads. Holly crap – no lights. It was dark in that room. And I had to shut the door! I started to feel the hair on my arms stand up and my mind started thinking about all the scary movies I had ever seen about critters and things that go bump in the dark. And, of course, I could not find my flashlight.

I have to explain. I had cleaned my truck out over the weekend (this was Monday) and I had put it where I could find it (you know that story – I know you do). Now, where the heck is it?

Read more…

Tina Turner Rakes The Yard: With Me!

April 2, 2011

It was the perfect pre-season day. Not for football, baseball, or any other sport. Nope, it was leaf raking day. The sun was out, I had my iPod hooked up with great music, I had taken 800mg of Motrin, stretched out my back and I was ready to go. I had it all planned out; I was going to rake enough leaves to fill one recycling bin, take a stretch and water break, and then go back to work – smooth raking. Repeat the cycle. I was in control. After all, I am now a woman on a mission and my yard needed some serious help. This too can be taught to my DIY women. It’s not just about home repairs – it’s about home maintenance.

I turned up the music, a Tina Turner mix, donned my polka dotted gloves and grabbed my garden rake. Off we went, dancing like pros across the yard to the garden. Holy cow! When did that tree grow in the middle of my garden? This was not in the plan. I raked around it for awhile and then Tina and I decided, after a rendition of “What’s Love Got To Do With It”, that the tree needed to go. My neighbors might have thought I was a little nuts when they eyed me swinging a saw and singing the lines: Read more…

Illegal,Immoral, and Down-right Dirty: Contractors without licenses

February 28, 2011

Last year I told you to check on your contractor before you hired him or her. In the wake of a new customers’ expensive lesson I want to remind you again. My new customer is out over $4,000 and has now found erroneous charges against her credit card. She is in a bad place.

Read more…

National Association of Women in Construction Spring Forum

February 4, 2011

The Baltimore Chapter of the National Association of Women in Construction # 135 will be hosting the 2011 Annual Region 1 Forum right here in our State’s Capital Annapolis, Maryland at the Sheraton Hotel on April 8-9, 2011.  This prestigious event brings together women from the entire Northeast region, each specializing in different facets of the construction industry. Region 1 encompasses Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York, New Jersey, Greater DC, and Maryland.

Learn how to participate by being a sponsor. A variety of sponsorships are available to provide your organization with great visibility and advertising opportunities. Your contribution will provide you and your company with many opportunities to showcase within the construction industry all over the Northeast region as well as with the many prominent speakers and participants. In some instances, your contribution will allow you to participate in the event itself!

All additional funds procured by this event will go to our Baltimore Chapter. Additional income will allow Chapter 135 to continue to grow and provide more opportunities for women in the construction industry of Baltimore, as well as other programs our organization provides to the community such as Block Kids, CIT training and other profitable accreditations for women in the industry.

Read more…