I bought a house a few years ago and the ad said “needs nothing” which I thought mean I wouldn’t have to do anything. It's a good thing because I never really was that handy and my forehead still hasn’t healed from the last time I tried to hang a picture.
As an apartment dweller, I was the guy who is handy but doesn’t have to prove it. Once I bought a house, it was hard to fake repairs being that I had three thumbs, eight pinkies and a tool box with comic books in it. That’s when I reached for the yellow pages.
I had tried the home improvement thing myself but when trying to install a spice rack trusting that I could hammer a few nails into a wall, I ended up in the emergency room with my arm in a sling and WD-40 in my hair. My therapist, along with my insurance company, decided I needed to hire a professional. I hired a contractor and made sure he was all licensed up and fully insured. The insurance and the licenses come at a cost; the more of these the guy has, the more he’s going to charge you and the later he arrives and the more of a favor he thinks he’s doing for you when he does decide to show up.
I thought I had no place to turn; that was until I found about The Home Depot. The commercials make everything seem so easy. And all I needed was a little help.
At The Depot, as we handy guys call it, it wasn’t hard to spot the trained professionals who were there to help. The orange aprons do stand out and it makes it easy to find a Home Depot associate in a crowd. The one thing that bothered me was the apron itself. I just couldn’t imagine any cool profession, outside of being a chef, which required a grown man to wear an apron. When most of us were kids, we wanted to be doctors and firemen and school teachers and astronauts. Not one of those people wears an apron. Never bring this up with a Home Depot associate. They have access to tools that could make the filming of Saw XII possible in the hardware power tool area or in the garden department for that matter.
When I go to The Home Depot, I never pop in and pop out. I make sure it’s at least for a few hours. And The Home Depot has the motto “You Can Do It. We can help.” And I think it’s great because The Home Depot has helped people to do jobs that they would have previously hired that expensive contractor for. What it has also done is made people believe they can tackle projects they have no business even attempting; people like me.
The first time I walked into The Home Depot, I thought I was walking into one of those areas that was only designated for employees. I felt like I was behind the scenes in a storage warehouse. I think it’s funny that The Home Depot will help you fix up your house and put on the finishing touches but the stores don’t seem done themselves. The ceiling is exposed metal beams, the walls are cinder block and the floors are concrete. Maybe they could take that wood flooring again begin to do some home improving themselves.
And when something isn’t on the shelf, they don’t keep it in the back. The ceiling was twenty feet high and the extra merchandise was on top of the racks up near the ceiling. I realized this because what I came in for wasn’t on the shelf and I asked one of the associates to look in the back. He told me there is no back. It’s all in the front.
My friends tell me that The Home Depot is a great place to meet women. If a woman has a boyfriend or a husband, she sends him. If she’s there, she must be single. Sometimes I wander the aisles looking for a cute girl. Then I’ll look at something next to what she’s looking at and I’ll talk to myself as if I know what I’m saying. “I wonder what size nails I’d need to mount these bathroom tiles.”
I know I’ve completed my shopping when my cart is full and I realize it’s time to shave again. Then I roll up to the register with something like a bag of paint rags, a house plant, a toilet plunger and a 4” x 8” piece of sheetrock. The register lines are usually clear across the main aisle and the only thing free is the self checkout which sounds great until I try to drag the sheetrock across the scanner. The cashier manning the self-checkout is more interested in texting than helping me and the sheetrock that has slid off the scanner and has me pinned to the floor. Plant hanging from my belt loop and dragging the sheetrock across the lot, I shuffle to the car wondering if the plunger came with a set of instructions.
The Home Depot has made home improvement like a haircut; it’s gotten so expensive to pay someone to do it that you try getting it done yourself. In the end it costs twice as much for the real professional to fix it and you need the paint rags to stop the bleeding.