If you had asked me earlier this week what I wanted to spend my Saturday doing, my reply likely would have included a cool, rainy afternoon of chugging beer at Bockfest while waiting for the 2011 Sausage Queen to be crowned. However, as my mother often told me what I was young, “yeah, and people in Hell want ice water.” Left to my own devices, I’m sure that’s what I would have done, but as I have four mouths I’m supposed to keep warm, dry, and fed, my devices aren’t strictly my own these days. Honestly, that’s probably just as well, too. As it turns out, those devices of mine have demonstrated a keen ability to get me into trouble in the past. As it is, my head is very much appreciative today that I had other things to do yesterday.
Instead, yesterday was Household Project Day.
The goal was simple enough: accomplish a few things in the basement. Of course, as with every HPD ever attempted, ours started with a trip to Home Depot. Now, if you’re not a homeowner and have never had course to make a pre-project stop at the infamous Depot or its evil twin Sister, Lowe’s, allow me to let you in on a secret: something terribly wrong happens as soon as you enter one of those places.
Take our trip yesterday as an example. We wanted a small can of magnetic wall primer so the kids could have a magnetic wall area in the basement play room. Somehow, though, as soon as you walk through the doors, your brain flat checks out. An hour later you leave the store without the paint, but with all the materials necessary to put in an in-ground swimming pool, completely with a pool house, by yourself, from scratch. You vaguely recall spending time with a cheerful guy in an orange smock named “Chip” looking at a brochure that showed exactly to accomplish everything you bought supplies for in four easy steps. Of course, you don’t have the brochure anymore, but Chip said it was a piece of cake, and you obviously you can trust Chip, right?
Now that I think about it, though, I recall Chip having the kind of dead, flat eyes you seen in Ken dolls. I think he’s part of an alien race sent here to subjugate us somehow by keeping us busy with home improvements.
Long story short, we went in looking for a $20 can of primer. Somehow we spent $17,000 before leaving and now there’s a rented concrete mixer in my back yard*. There’s a second terrible secret, too. Once you’ve made a trip to Lowe’s Depot on Household Project Day, inevitably, a same-day return trip will be necessary. I’m never exactly sure of the how or why of that, but no matter how many times I’ve tried to complete a project in a single trip, I always find myself back at the same store two hours later. It’s like they inject some kind of homing beacon under your skin the first time you visit, and once activated, it just pulls you back in like a tractor beam.
At any rate, even with the nefarious home store visits, Household Project Day went relatively well. And in the end, I comforted myself over not spending all day drinking to the point where I couldn’t even say “bock” by slow braising a pork shoulder with sauerkraut and the beer in question. It was so tasty that I’m trying to figure out if I can trick Mom into letting me make it next year for New Year’s. Indeed, my German heritage was very well pleased by the meal, and, even better, I woke up today with a sense of accomplishment and a noticeable lack of wishing I was dead.
So I guess there’s something to be said for Household Project Day, after all.
Now then, who knows how to set rebar before pouring a foundation?
*Not really, but we did end up buying a bunch of other stuff.