Saturday, September 6, 2014

"Be Zen and Fix Stuff"

Over the years, I have discovered that I have a rather unusual talent, a talent which I have developed into a skill. The best description I can come up with for it is that I have the ability to “be zen and fix stuff.” In other words, I am the person you want to have around at your wedding or backstage at a theatrical performance or concert to solve problems and deal with emergencies on the fly. For all that I am a tightly wound person under most circumstances, throw me into a crunch situation and I am perfectly calm and serene – particularly if I am not one of the major players.

One sign that I am the “be zen and fix stuff” person is the contents of my purse. I generally carry bandaids, a nail file, various OTC medications, children’s toys, feminine supplies, and assorted hair stuff (barrettes, elastics, bobby pins) at all times. I can deal with a hair disaster, a medical emergency, and a sobbing child without breaking a sweat. And after years of being the ZenFixer, the contents of my purse have expanded to become what I like to call my complete BECHMMOR (Backstage Emergency Costume, Hair, Makeup, Medical, and Other Repairs) kit. 

Should you wish to become a ZenFixer yourself, here are the necessary ingredients for such a kit:

Costume Repairs
  • Hand-sewing needles pre-threaded with appropriate colored thread: black, white, navy, tan, and any colors specific to the occasion (e.g., the color of the bridesmaids’ dresses for a wedding or the colors of the singers’ outfits for a concert). Leave one needle unthreaded in case you need a different color.
  • Spools of thread in multiple colors, including lights and darks
  • Small scissors
  • Large scissors
  • A seam ripper
  • Straight pins
  • Safety pins in multiple sizes
  • A black sharpie (I wouldn’t use it on a rented tux, but you can use it to “clean” a costume tux in seconds)
  • Clear nail polish (best for pantyhose runs but can also help stop small tears in any lightweight fabric from worsening, and can even be used as glue in a pinch)
  • Optional: talcum powder or Wite-Out to instantly “clean” white fabrics (especially handy for gentlemen who shaved a bit too close and bled on their shirt collars)
  • Optional: spare pantyhose (women wear hose less often than we used to, but in a theatrical or wedding setting when they are being worn, it’s always a good idea to have an extra pair or two on hand)

Hair Repairs
  • Bobby pins
  • Hair elastics
  • Hairspray
Makeup Repairs
  • Makeup sponges
  • Chapstick (helps prevent lipstick bleeding and dry lips and mouth caused by heavy lipstick, plus a little on your front teeth stops lipstick from getting on them)
  • Concealer stick
  • Several shades of lipstick
  • Makeup remover and cotton balls or Q-tips
  • Optional: additional makeup such as eyeshadows, blush, mascara samplers (obviously not wise to share) and disposable makeup brushes and applicators

Medical Emergencies
  • Bandaids (flesh-colored, various sizes)
  • Pain reliever
  • Benadryl (optional: Caladryl lotion)
  • Tums or Pepto Bismol tablets
  • Cough drops and/or throat lozenges
  • Eye drops
  • Styptic pencil

Other Repairs
  • Tampons
  • Deodorant
  • Toothpaste
  • Breath mints and/or gum
  • Nail clippers
  • Scotch tape
  • Duct tape/electrical tape/gaffer’s tape (in a theatre setting, this is generally already on hand, usually in every color of the rainbow)
  • Small screwdriver set
  • Tweezers
  • A pen and/or a pencil

With this kit, you can fix any emergency from smudged lipstick to a torn hem to an allergic reaction to a blister to someone being locked in the bathroom. You can sew someone into a costume or rip them out. You can soothe their throat and soothe their nerves all at the same time.

You, too, can Be Zen and Fix Stuff!

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