Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Tao of Home Depot

Last weekend my wife asked me, “Is there anything you need at Home Depot?”

I laughed heartily and noted, for the record, that this might have been the funniest thing she had ever asked me in 26 years of marriage. Although my wife was not as amused.

When I relayed this exchange to Madeleine, my youngest daughter, she said, “Mom asked me that once too. It was followed by a very awkward silence. I don’t think we spoke the rest of the day. We never speak of it, really.”

Like father, like daughter… neither of us being particularly handy around the house.

In my defense, I’ll vacuum, mow a lawn, tinker with anything electronic. I’ll even attempt to clean the gutters, although this invariably leads to every woman in the household running outside in hysterics to hold the ladder steady. But NEED anything at Home Depot? Yeah, like a fish needs a bicycle.

Fast forward to Monday, and I’m at lunch with a sales vice president. He’s just told the story of the house he planned and built himself and now lives in with his family, and how he even secured it from being damaged by Hurricane Sandy. He turned to me and said, “You know, every man should build his own house. It’s one of those things you have to do at least once in your lifetime.”

Last night, in the cold rain, I drove warily past the low-slung, brooding Home Depot that anchors the mini-mall in Hackensack.

Heaven help us, Madeleine. I swear it was mocking me.