Published: Sep 25, 2012 06:00 PM
Modified: Sep 25, 2012 05:37 PM
September is National Preparedness Month.
Officially, its the month youre supposed to prepare for natural disasters with emergency kits and the like. Instead, Ive interpreted it as the month to make sure my husband, Jerry, is prepared for the home improvement project that I have somehow convinced him to undertake.
Im not sure how I did it. I think he was as sick of our backyard as I was. Over time, as the shade has taken over, grass refuses to grow and the backyard has morphed into a muddy pit littered with old basketballs and lightsabers.
Every time I walked out there to grill something, Id sigh.
Then someone gave us some stone, and we were playing around with it, setting it here and there. Wouldnt a stone patio look nice? And a nice retaining wall? Definitely.
One thing led to another, and a few weeks later we had two tons of stone delivered. Oh, and did I mention I have a bad back?
So my idea, largely. Implemented by his effort. Bless his heart. Cue guilt.
I was convinced I could help him build the retaining wall, initially. But, you know, rock is heavy. Really heavy. I have repeated that sentence so often these last few weeks that I think my husband is convinced he married a moron.
I just didnt know it would be this heavy, I explained.
He shook his head. Its cement block, not LEGOs.
If I couldnt help with the labor, I could help him be prepared. Actually, my real motive was simply that he not quit. I didnt want the magic spell broken that was propelling his handiness and his willingness.
As a result, I have been on errand runs to Chick-fil-A, the grocery store and Home Depot. Usually all three multiple times each weekend day.
I have explained to the Chick-fil-A lady that all these sandwiches arent for me.
And I have bought things I am largely unfamiliar with, including an ax, twine, stakes, construction adhesive and a caulking gun. I made an embarrassing request one Saturday morning for a tramp tool that was actually called a tamp tool. And I argued about it. I was sure I was right.
It, too, was heavy. I lugged it to the car, listing awkwardly to one side.
I have been misdirected countless times in the home improvement stores, largely, I suspect, as a result of misinformation on my part about what I need. From aisle two to aisle nine to aisle six, its like Im looking for the restrooms. I have come home with the wrong items and resolutely gone back to stand in the returns line and try again. Lately, Ive learned how to cajole the employees to leave their stations to find my items.
Im absurdly cheerful about it. I am even cooking without complaint. And the project is coming along beautifully. It survived a fit of mild cussing that I thought might mean calling in a pro.
But now the patio is finished, the retaining wall nearly so. Just a pathway leading up to the gate needs to be completed. Its fantastic.
In the meantime, the garage door has stopped working, and we just discovered a water pipe thats been leaking for months. And the door knocker, inexplicably, is missing.
For all our preparedness, the house is conspiring against us. Dont they always?