I ’m approaching a stop sign when a loud thud resounds from somewhere in the back of my car, followed by a sharp clanging of metal. No, there isn’t a body back there and pieces of fender aren’t falling off. I just have half of Home Depot in my trunk.

I’m convinced that the many projects in our house only reach a certain stage because the tools Spouse has accumulated fill up the space he would need to actually work on anything. I’ve tried to hide the hardware store fliers and have considered slipping onto his email to delete the sales promotions for anything that sands, saws or scrolls. You know of the 3,000 unread emails he has, those would be the ones he’d notice absent.

Too often, we’ve entered the hardware store for what I’ve been led to believe will be a quick trip for a few things when I hear, “Oooh, I need that (fill in with item on display) for the (fill in the project that was started in 2004) I’m working on.”

Keep this in mind – nothing good ever comes out of “Oooh.”

Once these items are purchased, they don’t always make it into the house or garage in a timely manner. It usually happens when we’re about to put something else into the back seat or trunk and we discover our box-store booty, often accompanied by a bag of bottles to be recycled.

I don’t begrudge Spouse’s need for the right precision tools that will create our kitchen cabinets, bolster the bathroom floors or mend the molding. He does have an eye for the most efficient way to start a home improvement undertaking – it’s taking on the actual work that needs a little help. I don’t know what half these things are, but I know someday they’re going to make my house look spectacular. Then I can happily point out that my very handy husband put it all together. In the meantime, I just say he’s in training for tackling his list of projects.

Of all the equipment we have for working on the house, there may be one or two things that I would have the slightest idea how to use. The benefit of this is that my mate doesn’t ask me to try, which has likely saved our marriage more than once over the years. The disadvantage is that it slightly increases the possibility that Spouse is really purchasing a flat screen television hidden within the confines of a cleverly designed storage chest, or maybe a personal coffee brewer for the garage disguised as an air compressor.

I am heading out of town for a week and I’m not so secretly hoping to come home to a new bathroom floor and no bloodshed from an ambitious better half. You may think that’s selfish and I should be here to help. I think that’s asking for trouble in a bathroom that’s barely big enough for one person and occasionally a curious cat.

We’ve invested quite a bit into our projects, but I know it’s worth it. If we blow our budget on all that preparation, just watch for signs plastered on my car windows. We’ll be selling home improvement supplies out of the car trunk.

— Janine Talbot lives in Saco with her husband Chuck and their dog and cats. She writes about adjusting to the empty nest and not voting her spouse off the island at www.momofmanywords.com. Contact her at [email protected]


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