“... and climbed up corporate ladders. We've broken through glass ceilings-we just never learned how to fix them!

Why? Well, we have a theory: if a woman sees a bug in her home and knows a man is within screaming distance, she'll yell for him to kill the bug. But if a woman sees a bug and there's no man around, she'll smash it, stomp it, flush it, and do a victory dance. It's the same thing with home repairs-women can do them, we've just used to writing honey-do lists, waiting for dad to drop by, or calling the super.

We cooked up Dare to Repair out of sheer frustration. Things weren't getting fixed around our houses because our husbands were never home and we didn't have the money to hire contractors. We wanted to do the home repairs ourselves, but the do-it-yourself books on the market were written for tool-belted men, not for female repair rookies like us.

We knew we weren't alone in our situation; four times more women than men are heads of households. Women also make up 60 percent of all people living alone, have become the fastest-growing segment of home buyers, and are the driving force behind increased sales in hardware stores. Women want to be do-it-herselfers, but they haven't had the right home repair book. Their wait is over.

Dare to Repair fills the tremendous void left by other home repair books by providing basic repairs written in an easy-to-follow format with illustrations of women from all walks of life (finally, women who look like us and not the Barbies in our attics!). Each repair is introduced by an anecdote or pep talked intended to inspire you to read on. The information, compiled from government agencies, national institutes, trade associations, manufacturers, and our own experience is accurate and up-to-date. We did every repair in Dare to Repair ourselves, so when we tell you it's easy, it is. Neither of us was born with a silver hammer in her hand. We started doing home repairs out of financial necessity. You may have a different reason for needing to do the repairs yourself-maybe you're afraid to let a contractor into your home, or you can't take off from work to wait for one to arrive. Perhaps you need to spend your money elsewhere, or you just like a good challenge. No matter the reason, what's important is that you do whatever it takes to get started. If this means having a friend stand by to hand you tools along with moral support, do it. If you need to share the repair with a neighbor, do it. If it helps to keep a journal of your successes, do it. If you start to panic and freeze with fear; stop, take a breath, and get over yourself! This isn't rocket science. And if this is the hardest thing you've ever done in your life, then sister you haven't lived.

Think back to a time in your life when you challenged yourself, when you changed a flat tire, or asked your boss for a much deserved raise, or cared for your chicken-poxed children while your husband was overseas. Each of these victories counts as a notch in your success belt. Making repairs counts as a notch, too. Hey, it's the only time when adding notches to a belt is a good thing, so revel in it.

Our goal in writing this book is not only to teach you how to do home repairs but also to inspire you to pass your knowledge to others. When you learn a new repair, share it with someone else. Go to a neighbor and show her how to perform garage safety tests. Visit your grandmother and secure the rugs in her home with double-sided tape. Install level handles in your mom's home to make opening doors a little easier for her. Demonstrate to your sister how to use a fire extinguisher. Use your knowledge as a tool for improving your life as well as the lives of others.

Dare to raise the bar for what you can accomplish. Dare to pick up a wrench and tighten the toilet handle that's about to fall off. Dare to level the washing machine that's been rockin' and rollin' for months. Grab a screwdriver and dare to install a new smoke detector. Dare to Repair!