Thursday, February 7, 2013

The full measure of a man

Our most recent visit to our beloved home in Galva has been, as always, both wonderful and typical. We've loved seeing the friends and faces we always miss when we're not here. We've quickly gotten back into the swing of our regular hometown activities, like basketball games, trips to the library, meetings, and lunches and get-togethers with our favorite folks.
That's the good news.
The other news. which any experienced husband or other poor home-owning sap can easily confirm, is that there's always something to do around here, a universal situation that has existed ever since that first stone-age wife turned to her hubby and said, "We really need to do something about this cave."
It all started this time when she set her sights on a couple of rooms that even I, the king of procrastination, will admit have been sorely neglected in the decades we've lived here.  One is an upstairs laundry room that had been the kitchen of one of the garden apartments that were once located in the back of our home. When we bought the place, we converted the downstairs apartment into a family area, and the upstairs set of rooms into a sort of suite that now includes a bedroom, a small bathroom and a cozy sitting room. The tiny galley kitchen was easily converted into a handy laundry room by replacing one kind of appliances with another.  It's always been a dream come true having a washer and dryer conveniently located near the bedrooms where--back in the day--our sons constantly shed and ignored clothing like a pair of fast-growing reptilians slithering out of their skins.  A coat of paint, a touched-up floor and some new shelving pretty much put paid to that project, releasing us to pursue the crowning jewel in this latest round of home improvements, a small pantry located just off our kitchen. I'm not sure if one of the former owners of our home was prone to wild hallucinations, burdened with colorblindness, or just endowed with a total disregard for taste, style and color selection, but the space was remarkable in that it featured pink-painted walls, mottled pink-and-grey flooring, narrow brown-and-white contact-papered shelves and crazy pink-patterned linoleum wainscoting on all four walls.  For years, we pretty much ignored the ghastly little room, using it to store cooking and baking supplies and essentials like cereal, flour, crock pots and canned goods. But with an upcoming kitchen remodeling plan in the works, we felt like something--finally--had to give. After a shared round of pink-hued demolition, she painted, while I measured and planned for the new floor, light fixture and shelves I would install.
That's right. Measured.
You know, I've always kind of admired those guys who have well-ordered workshops. You know, those tidy little spaces where there's a place for everything and everything in its place.
I am, suffice it to say, not one of those guys.
But as I grow a little older and wiser, I have begun to see some point in trying to organize it all into some semblance of order.  So as I worked on my portion of the ugly little room project, I also embarked on the halfhearted sort, pitch, gather and store process I grumpily pursue every time I'm confronted with my work bench and the piles of stuff that surround it. As I did, I discovered that I have quite a marvelous collection of tools and trappings down there, including the following:
Seven hammers, 39 screwdrivers of various styles and sizes, nine pairs of pliers (I'm not counting the wrenches), four staple guns, including an electric stapler/nailer that remains encased in the plastic package it came in many years ago, adequate extension cords to allow me to plug into my rented beach home in North Carolina, which is 1,027 miles away, and enough miscellaneous bolts, screws, staples and nails to sink a ship or build a boat. Easily.
But the biggest bit of overabundance that baffles me the most is due to my apparent life-long love of tape measures.
My recent dig through my tool collection revealed that I've got eight of them. And I can't really be sure there aren't a few more tucked away here and there. I suppose it's just one of those things. I probably bought a couple of them because I really needed them. The rest were possibly gifts or panic buys when I wasn't sure if I could really find one at home. The good news is that its all a part of a wonderful inheritance awaiting our two sons someday. I mean, I can rest easy in the thought that they'll never lack for a hammer, screwdriver or--you guessed it--a tape measure.
But in the meantime, the next time you need to know how long, wide or tall anything is, or anytime you have anything to measure at all, think of me. Give me a call, even.
When it comes to measuring, I'm your man.

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