Do you ever feel like your life is an elaborate ruse and everyone is going along with anything you say, even though behind your back, they have weekly group therapy sessions to talk about how you are obviously so unhinged that it’s best to humor you because who knows what might happen if your illusion of reality is shattered?
And do you think that the Lowe’s guy and the Home Depot guy would really agree to meet and hang out at all, even at a therapy session to discuss how to keep the ruse alive? It’s the only explanation though. The alternative is that these people truly think the things that P. and I say are normal, reasonable, and not at all cause to prescribe us drugs and monitor us carefully.
What I mean to say is that I have discovered that home ownership consists of saying completely outrageous things to strangers, and having them respond with thoughtful nods of their heads. Perhaps the employees of your larger home improvement chains have simply become accustomed to the crazed ideas of the new home owner. They’ve learned that it’s better to just agree with whatever the customers say and load them up with power tools and spackle, because why the hell not. It’s not like the employees will have to clean up the mess once the homeowner has gaping holes in exterior walls that let in not only spiders, but also opossums and small deer. They’ll just get to sell more spackle.
This was an actual conversation I had yesterday with an employee of a better-known paint store. It’s a place that claims it wants you to ask them things. They know things. They’ll tell you these things they know and you will become wise and handy.
“So, we have orange peel texture on our walls. And we’re scraping it all off and then sanding it, and then skim coating the drywall with joint compound. Then we’re going to sand it again and then paint and prime it. All 3200 square feet.”
Paint guy’s response: thoughtful nod as though this is a perfectly reasonable task undertaken by millions of people daily.
“Do you see any issues with this? Anything we should know about?”
Paint guy: “That should work fine. Just use a roller with a quarter-inch nap.”
I was tempted to keep going: And after that I’m going to bake a cheesecake that’s entirely fat-free but tastes better than Alton Brown’s. Sound reasonable? And then I’m going to try this Tour de France thing I keep hearing about and win myself a yellow jersey.
I think all this thoughtful nodding is making us a little too confident. Last night, we were looking over our day’s work, deciding what our next step should be. We have this hallway with a door right in the middle of it. You open the door and there’s just more hallway. It’s the lamest door in the history of doors. All the other doors in the house mock it while we’re sleeping.
“Look at lame-ass door over there. No room of his very own. All he’s good for is blocking the hallway. Hey dumbass! When’s the last time anyone closed you? Oh right. Never. Because you’re in the middle of a freakin’ hallway. ”
It’s embarrassing, really. We figured the best thing to do would be to just quietly relocate the door to a better home. Like the recycling bin.
So, P. and I were discussing taking out the molding or door jam or whatever the hell it’s called and then cutting out the six inches or so of wall on either side of the doorway so we had one continuous hall. And then we noticed that the wall before the doorway and the wall after the doorway didn’t line up. Huh. Well, that make things a little trickier. What the hell is the wall doing being all crooked like that?
P. went out to the garage. And came back with a hammer. Have I mentioned that he had a glass of wine in the other hand? He got ready to start pounding holes in the wall. Have I mentioned that he was on his third glass?
I wondered what the friendly Home Depot employees would have to say.
“So, we want to know why the wall on this side of the doorway is thicker than the other side. So, we’ve had a few glasses of wine and we’ve got our hammer. We’re going to just bash in the wall a little and see what’s behind it. Does that sound about right?”
P. looked at me. He took a sip of wine, raised the hammer.
“Maybe I shouldn’t smash big holes in the wall right now. Maybe we should figure out something tomorrow.”
I gave him a thoughtful nod.