Lowes and Home Depot: stores I previously dreaded walking into. Now, I'm greeted by name due to my previous week's escapades. I've written before of my woefully lacking handyman skills, but I decided early this year to conquer that weakness and learn more.
For those who haven't seen the Facebook pics, my wife went home to Indy for a work trip and took Little Miss to the see the grandparents last week. I opted to surprise them by transforming our dirty, rock-filled backyard with a newly landscaped lawn.
Great idea, Galv, I imagine you thinking. Shouldn't you have been writing Taken With A Grain of Salt? How dare you leave me hanging at the end of Salted, sir!
To that I say you're correct, but I apparently have an affinity for punishing myself.
When I shared the idea with my parents of the surprise to come, as well as my plans - moving this tree here, switching out plumbing station heads, digging new irrigation lines, etc. - Dad gave a short response: "I think you got a big project."
"Naw, Dad," said I. "It won't be that bad. It's just hard work and I can do that."
Dad: "I think you got a big project, son."
Ten points to Gryffindor if you guess which of us was right.
This nightmare took me nine full days to complete and even then was only accomplished thanks to a friend who took pity on my ridiculous ambition.
God only knows how many times I walked through the Lowes and Home Depot doors while transforming my backyard. I do remember one day I made at least five trips inside my local stores. Things I heard on the reg from the employees/my new best friends were:
"You ever plan on laying that sod?"
"See you again in a couple of hours, Aaron."
"Back again already?"
You get the gist.
Anywho, I had a random 'what the heck' moment in Home Depot. Standing in line for the returns counter, (another frequent occurence), I hear a song I've become all too familiar with thanks to Little Miss.
Is Home Depot really playing 'I See The Light' from Tangled?
Then I felt weird that I actually knew the name of the song and all the words. Crazier still? They played When Will My Life Begin right after, so they were going through the whole soundtrack. I'm thinking someone in charge is a big fan of Disney animation...
The best experience I had came later though.
Little background: by the time of this story, I'd experienced a bit of the learning curve in that at least I now knew what kind of piece - male or female, threaded or unthreaded, etc. - I needed for my irrigation/plumbing purposes. I'm wearing the same torn up and muddied camo cargo shorts I've worn all week, dirty sleeveless t-shirt, and sweat-stained ball cap. I stink to high heaven, skin's tanned, and I have more than a few new cuts running up my legs, arms, and hands.
In short, I'm all that is man...or at least looks like it.
The other good thing is that because I've been in the store three times already that day, I know what aisle I'm bound for and the part needed. This, of course, furthers that I'm all that is man, (or at least looks like it), because knowing the exact aisle and piece you need is what real men do.
I turn down the aisle and see this guy. He's wearing khaki shorts, (clean, not a speck of dirt on them), a pressed red polo shirt, and sandals.
*Aaron shakes his head*
This guy is mystified at the sheer number of parts in varying sizes and shapes before him. He hears me coming, turns his head, and you know what he sees?
All That Is Man....(or at least looks like it).
His attire aside, I know this guy is me three days previous. The best part though was when he and I locked eyes. It's like I could read his mind.
Oh crap, thought he. That guy knows what part he needs. I'll bet he could tell me which of these six pieces I have in my hands I need and which I don't...
Except he doesn't ask me.
He turns and walks away, sure to come back later after I've left.
I reach for the part I need and pick it out of the box. That's right. Get outta here, Newbie. Come back when you're a real man.
Only later, once I'm home, do I realize I grabbed the wrong part again.
Author. Actor. Rascal.