Thursday, June 21, 2012

Honey, I'm Going To Home Depot!

The other day, Mr. A called out to me, "Honey, I'm going to Home Depot!"

I hear this and my stomach drops. I cringe.   Again?  Really?  Dare I ask?
"What do you need now?"  I am sure the now sounds drawn out and whiny.

Before I explain what Mr. A needed and why, let me first explain something else.

Mr. A is an engineer.  If you live with an engineer, you will understand this post.  If you are an engineer, you will find zero humor in it.

Mr. A is an engineer.  I am not.  Mr. A is Type A, anyalytical, precise. He is a perfectionist.  Even a bit anal.   I have some of that, but I am more free spirited with a teensy bit of fly-by-the-seat-of-my pants thrown in.  I throw a  lot of caution to the wind.  This drives Mr. A nuts.

In many ways, our polar opposite personality types give balance to our marriage.  Most of the time, our differences are an asset that work in our favor.

The exceptions?  Home projects.

The other day I was taking a shower.  As I was giving my hair a deep condition, I looked up and noted that the paint on the bathroom ceiling was beginning to peel.  I reached up and pulled a piece off.  And then another.  And another.  It looked terrible and something needed to be done.

Today. Now.

Once dry and dressed, I fished a scraped out of the garage and scraped off the peeling paint.  I sanded the ceiling.  I went to Home Depot and bought ceiling paint.  Since I was painting the ceiling, I might as well paint the walls.  And since I was painting the walls, I might as well get a new shower curtain and bathmat.

The bathroom was muted shades of grey, brown and tan.  It was drab and subdued and certainly needed some brightening.  I painted the walls a pale blue and bought a bath mat and towels in lime green.  The new shower curtain was a school of tangerine, lime and fuschia tropical fish.  Perhaps not something to grace the glossy pages of North Shore Living, but it certainly popped!

By the time Mr. A returned home from work that evening, the bathroom was done.
He looked at it, thankfully okay with the end result and asked, "It's did you just wake up and decide to do the bathroom?"
I nodded.
"I see" he says, rubbing his chin.

This is how I tackle home projects.

Now let me get back to the point of why Mr. A was going to Home Depot.  Again.

Miss J celebrated her birthday in early May.  One thing she was hoping for was a tetherball set.  Her grandparents agreed to get her one and I searched online for a good model.  Miss J was thrilled when she tore the wrapping off the gift.  She turned to Mr. A, "Daddy, can you set this up for me?!"

I had picked this particular model because 1.  It had the best reviews and 2. It was described as having "easy set up."  Set up consisting of screwing the pole into the ground, attaching the ball and playing.

Mr. A mulled over the directions.
"No, " he sighed.  I don't want to put it in the ground.  It will ruin the grass.
Mind you, we have two small children and two dogs.  Our lawn is played on.  Heavily.  I anticipate a small window of time after the kids move out and before grandchildren arrive that we may possibly have lush, green, enviable grass.  But right now, we have family grass.

"Yes," he tells me, "I'm going to have to modify this."
Here we go.  I sigh.
"I'm going to Home Depot."

Mr A returns with a five gallon painters bucket, several bags of playground sand and a bit for the Dremmel. He tells me he is going to fit the inside of the bucket with a piece of wood with a hole cut out for the pole.  Then he will put the pole in the hole and fill the bucket with sand.  He gets to work on this project.

And then he decides this will not do.

"I have to go to Home Depot again" he announces. "And I have to get a tire."
He returned with a tire and several 80lb bags of cement.  And a trowel.  And a blade for the saws-all.  He is also in a great deal of pain because he has pulled his back lifting the cement bags.

"I am going to fill the tire with cement and sink the pole in it.  I have to saw off the bottom of the pole.  This will be better because we can just roll the tire wherever we need it do go."   He motions to me to hold the pipe steady so he can saw off the bottom foot of it.  I sigh.  Audibly.  I pull on safety goggles and grab the pole as the saw rips through the metal.
Then he hands me a level.
I am confused.  "What is the level for?" I ask.
"Well, I want to be sure the ground is level when I pour the cement into the tire.  So go out and find a level spot in the driveway."
With exception of subtle dips and variations, we have a pretty level driveway.  I must have rolled my eyes a bit because he adds,
"And make sure you check it in two directions."  He makes a "+" on the ground to show me.
I go out and find the most level spot in my driveway.  My neighbors are working in their yard and see me roaming in the driveway with a level.  The give me a curious look but do not ask what I am doing.

Mr. A and I mix the cement and fill the tire. He pulls out the new trowel and smooths the cement to perfection.  "Like frosting a cake" he tells me. We place the pole into the cement and I assume we are done.

I am wrong.

"Get the level. We need to check the pole."
"It looks straight to me" I tell him.
He is clearly annoyed with me.  "Just go get the level."
Once he is satisfied, we anchor the pole so that the cement may cure.

Miss J is excited and cannot wait to play.

The next day, I pull into the driveway and see Mr. A at the tetherball set.  He is running his hands through his hair, a gesture I have come to understand means that he is annoyed. He is grumbling under his breath.
"It is too wobbly.  This isn't going to work.  I just got back from Home Depot with a piece of PVC pipe."
I am confused.  "PVC pipe?"
"I made a sleeve.  For the pole".  I glance at the pole.  It is wound with duct-tape and is enclosed in a PVC sleeve.
He sighs.  "I thought this would work to steady it, but it won't.  I need to go back to Home Depot."

"WHY?" I bark at him.  "Why do you need to go to Home Depot AGAIN?"

"I need a pole!" He exclaims.
"You HAVE a pole! In the cement in the tire!"
"It isn't sturdy.  I don't like it.  I am just going to get a steel pole and another tire and more cement and just do it that way."
"WHAT?  Are you kidding me?  Are you serious?"

Mr. A looks at me, shocked.
"Yeah, so?"

"So basically you are telling me that you are going to Home Depot for the FOURTH time for this stupid thing and that basically the only thing we will be using from this BRAND NEW tetherball set is THE BALL?

"I just want it done right" he tells me.
I go inside in a huff.  Engineers.
The box, with promise EASY set up.

A few days later I complain to my friend about how we still do not have a playable tetherball set.
"Just go buy the same set, screw it into the ground and be playing it when he gets home from work" she suggests.  I laugh.

I laugh hard.  I laugh and know that I will still laugh in the years to come about this stupid tetherball set.  Perhaps Mr A and I  attack our projects in a quite different manner, but somehow, we make it work.

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