Every man cringes at the following comment from his beloved significant other.
And by significant other, no, I don't mean the cat. Or the dog. Or, God forbid, pet tarantula. They don't know how to form words. Good thing, otherwise they would soon be jettisoned out in the streets out of fear that our pets would ask us to do things. We menfolk like our critter companions mute, don't ya know.
The twitch-inducing sentence I speak of goes something along the lines of "You know, honey, I was thinking..." The rest of the phrase doesn't matter. If you hear the first part, RUN AWAY! Run like there's a legion of burning squirrels intent on harvesting your acorns! Sprint furiously in the direction opposite from the spoken words' source, all the while yelling back over your shoulder "What?! I can't hear you!" as you fade away to an infinitesimal speck on the horizon. Even then, don't risk looking back. You will, from that point on, lead the life of a nomad. It was going to happen at some point anyway; it was unavoidable from the start.
However, if, upon hearing that blood curdling phrase there are no immediate exits available to you (i.e. your loving spouse is blocking it with arms spread out to both sides of the door frame in anticipation of your surprise egress), then feign a medical emergency.
Strokes are believable enough, but upon bouncing back from the initial shock your better half will craftily hook up a hammer to the side of your wheelchair and promptly direct you to wherever picture frames will need to be hung throughout the house. It's best to just go for the gusto and fake up a nice convincing heart attack. Of course there is the slight problem of then having to keep up appearances for the rest of your life by being very much dead and moving as little as possible (shoot, that's actually a pretty good Saturday for me). Oh yeah, and your "corpse" would probably get thrown out about a week or two after not bringing in any income.
Well, then, uh... ah, forget it. Looks like you're boned, destined for a weekend of unpaid manual labour, a mindless tool with the single directive of carrying out your wife's relentless bidding. But we're not talking about you, are we? This is about me, dammit.
I wish it were about you, though.
So, before I know it, we are on the road with a truck and trailer to the Big City (enter your local Big City name here to make this article more relatable to you) to get various supplies to make our home better! And is there any better way to improve the value of a home than by cosmetically altering it to make it more visually appealing and not by actually making any functional changes? Nope! Which is why we are throwing ourselves into changing all our upstairs doors and closets to something more modern looking and less grimace-inducing. Our place is a forty year old house that has already been nicely updated throughout, save for the original fake-wood room and closet doors, material which could best be described as "copious layers of thin cardboard and tree shavings sandwiched together at ten thousand pounds then covered in clear varnish". It was the most distracting thing to me when we originally viewed the house as a possible residence, so really, I am looking forward to having the upstairs done to match the more modern basement. I'm just not completely enamored with the idea of spending all my time off doing the actual work.
But I do enjoy a good trip to Home Depot, yessiree Bob! Makes a man feel good about himself, being able to hold up a hefty bag of nails in one hand, a hammer in the other and say proudly "With my hands I will build a spice rack worthy of God's own kitchen!" Striding confidently, I ignore the cashiers' weird stares and make my way down the aisles knowing that I am about to embark on a daring quest they can only dream of.
First stop: tools. Oh what fun it is to have a new play toy. With careful deliberation I say to my darling wife "Tanis, I need a new cordless drill, my old one won't hold a charge anymore", which is actually entirely true. "Sure, no prob" she says. Hmm... It's a trick. My defences go to DEFCON Level 4. No woman ever agrees to the purchase of a power tool so easily.
Wait a sec...
This wouldn't really be for me at all! If I get a tool to get a particular job done, afterwards my delicate flower will put me to work every chance she gets! Soon I'll be hearing things like "Get the drill and build those bookshelves today please", or "Now you can put up some drywall in the bathroom", or even "You can use the 'high torque' setting to stir this cookie batter."
Well, I'm onto her little game.
"Uh, nevermind, babe," I say. "I'll just keep using my old drill. Charging it for several hours every time I want to put in a single screw is kind of a nice feature, don't you think? Helps me pace myself."
Her reply: "Nice try, mister. Pick up that drill. No, not that one, the pink one. That's a good boy."
Anyway, seasons changed when we were at Home Depot shopping around. The Hale-Bopp comet came around twice in that time, and my old drill battery made it up to half-charge. But we got what we needed. Closets and doors and lumber, oh my! Followed by a nice three hour journey back to Moosetown, where, at 10:00 pm, our little guy was finally let loose in the basement to expend all his pent up energy from not being able to crawl around all day long. You remember that introductory scene in Roger Rabbit where he flies around the kitchen in a circle with smoke trailing out behind him, defying gravity? It was just like that with my kid, only without the long bunny ears. The tail was the same.
But it was the next day I was looking forward to. As much as home improvement projects intrude on my personal time, I do love the excuse to whip out the power tools and make grunting noises in my oh-so-roomy garage. But first thing was first (goes without saying, really). I needed to build some work horses so that I may provide professional-grade finesse to my handy-work, or at the very least allow me to slice away at my new doors without churning up chunks of concrete floor in the process. The missus and I have had various projects with our old homes in other parts of the country which warranted the usefulness of work horses, but until now had no place to store them. Now we have a nice garage which can easily be converted into a stable to keep our lumber ponies out of the rain.
Built four of 'em. And of course, we had to name them. Helps build that special workman/workhorse bond you read so much about in Equestrian Quarterly. I named the first two, Trigger and Sea Biscuit. The wife named the other two Buttercup and Clyde (she thinks it's probably short for the Clydesdale horses on a subliminal level - she just likes the name).
They are all fine steeds, really. Bred for hard work and long days standing up. So far they haven't eaten very much, and that works with my budget. I am a little worried about Buttercup, though. Her hind leg is a touch shorter than the others.
I may have to put her down.