My husband has a girlfriend. She is not a secret.
I know that she is much bigger than I am, favors the color orange and shares my husband’s interest in electrical wiring. I also know that he is usually with her on the weekends, when I am otherwise ABSORBED WITH RAISING THE TWO CHILDREN I GAVE THE MAN AND MAKING HIS SWEET LIFE A LITTLE SWEETER.
What does she give him that I don’t?
He sheepishly, sometimes self-righteously, lists things to me like “time to think” and “room to roam” and aisle-upon-aisle of “pressure treated lumber.”
Yes, my husband is having an affair with Home Depot.
That little w[r]ench is a home-wrecker hiding behind faux-wood blinds. I’ve spent years trying to bust the whole thing up. I’ve forced us to live in small apartments that allow for limited DIY projects. I’ve hired a contractor at the first whiff of home renovation. I’ve faked enthusiasm for Lowe’s. All I have to show for those efforts is a credit history and some lawn furniture I never even liked.
Recently, I decided to beat my enemy by confronting it. I’ve been tagging along on my husband’s Home Depot trysts. And it’s killing me.
I know a lot of you are into DIY when it comes to your nails. But have you ever been to Home Depot? Erase from your catalogue of memories the times you’ve gone with a significant other for the sole purpose of proving that you can hang or that you’re quirky or that they don’t restrict the bathrooms to paying customers only. Answer the question by counting the times you’ve been to Home Depot because you actually needed to buy something like spackle or PVC piping for an actual project that actually required your doing it in your actual place of residence.
The head-nodders/hand-raisers have now been reduced to a paltry few. The rest of you are wondering what could possibly be so bad, with some insisting that the one time you went with Boy Wonder to learn each other’s favorite colors by looking at paint samples is such a warm and fuzzy memory that you can’t ever imagine not enjoying a reenactment. You stop that right now.
You enter a Home Depot to be greeted by the commingling smells of cement, polyurethane, potting soil, and disappointment. You hear only the beeping of an indoor-forklift and the stacking of 2×4’s. You see spots, as you have been rendered legally blind by your stroll through the Lighting & Ceiling Fan section. You taste nothing but sawdust and lead poisoning. You feel the cold, hard laminate of a counter-top display, groping for some sharp edge that would inflict the puncture wound you soon see as your only way out.
All you end up doing thanks to Home Depot is fighting. Fighting with your partner about whether you’re more of a chrome or nickel finish kind of family. Fighting with the salesperson over who is better suited to lug a roll of fiberglass insulation to the check-out station. Fighting with yourself against the rising urge to enter a life of crime with the aid of that chainsaw over there. New motto, Home Depot: “You could have done it. But we made you fight.”
If women like me are to save their relationships from the come-hithers of Home Depot, changes need to be made. We can no longer be expected to hall-monitor in an environment that bills itself as a store for enhancing your living circumstances but really only makes you want to end them. The changes, Home Depot, start here:
1. Lose the orange aprons. They look like prison jumpsuits that went to Home Ec class. Store employees are already identifiable by the bored/contemptuous look on their faces.
2. Place sofas at the top and bottom of every aisle. For sitting and watching the let-down that has become your Saturday from a comfortable perch.
3. Provide long-distance tasers that can be deployed every time your life partner reaches for an item that looks suspiciously like the future component of A Project That Can Only Go Wrong.
4. Plant an IOU tree at each exit, from which hang ideas for the present or reward your mate must purchase to offset the pain and suffering you just endured.
5. Give every tag-along a mask with a patient, smiling, supportive face on it.
You want to help me, Home Depot? Go ahead and do THAT.
No pressure. Only my marriage depends on it.
Image via Home Depot