Friday, November 24, 2006

If I Was A Carpenter, But Then Again….

During a moment of madness, perhaps called a ‘senior moment’, I decided to add a shelf in my bedroom. ‘The’ bedroom in this erstwhile establishment, you understand. The following day, I asked my dear son-in-law if he had any discarded pieces of wood that would be suitable. He did indeed, and after assembling his wonderful electric saw, I ended up with my 33 inch shelf, with fingers intact. In faux wood exterior, chip board interior – the shelf, not my fingers. It also required a small one inch wide piece of wood to bolster one bracket. Doug also managed to provide that. On Monday morning, I visited four stores before I found the right size brackets. I returned home all excited. Unfortunately, one of the needs when putting up a shelf with brackets attached is screws. So, I re-fired up the trusty steed, and took off to buy screws. Another senior moment. I’d forgotten that there is a Home Depot about 3 miles away. I hunted high and low for screws, and found some in Walgreens. Returned home. I discovered that all the screws were the wrong type. All of them had heads that were not big enough to ‘hold’ the bracket. Should have bought a few politicians if I wanted big heads.

I remembered Home Depot, and the trusty steed was fired up yet again. For those who do not know this wonderful place, it is a massive area with every conceivable ‘thing’ that you could ever need for ‘home improvement’. It also permanently echoes to the sound of incessant ‘beep-beep’ of electric trucks being driven backwards. I have no idea why this is, but the staff takes great pride in annoying me with this noise. I blame Ralph Nader – he was the one who introduced this idea, so that trucks can be heard reversing in California from Florida.

I digress, so back to the plot. I needed six half-inch screws, and four one inch screws. During my deliberations, a rather rude young man demanded to know where hinges were kept. My obvious reply did not amuse him. The idiot actually thought I worked for the store. How he worked that out is beyond me, but I strongly believe that his parents should have been restrained in the bedroom department.

I ended up buying six one inch screws – the lowest number they sell in a package, and 12 half-inch screws. All in nice sealed little plastic bags. After waiting in line for a while (called queuing in some countries), I presented my screws to the check-out lady. “$685.43” she said. “For 18 screws?” I retorted, immediately regretting my unintentional innuendo. Seems that there was a numbering error in the bar-code. I was actually on the brink of buying a two-speed mower! Wow! Unfortunately, the only ‘cure’ for this mistake was for me to buy the mower, and then take the receipt back to Returns for a refund. I would then be allowed through the check-out to buy the screws, but hopefully not the mower. Did I wish to pay cash, check or credit card, inquired the check-out lady. I commented on the farcical situation, while enduring wild stares from other home improvement aspirants standing in line behind me. A manager was called. He assured me that it was vital that I paid for the said mower, and then I’d be given the refund; it was a ‘computer error’. I tried (in vain) to explain that computers do not make errors, only humans who used them. The alternative was for me to leave the store.

I did, and went to Lowe’s. Another emporium of home improvement gizmos. The only difference in the end result was that I did not have to purchase and refund a mower. They also have the stupid beep-beeps, and in addition, Christmas music…. Sorry, to be Politically Correct, ‘Holiday music’. All I can say is Bah humbug!

The shelf is now in place, and is a treat to the eyes. The moral of this story? Always plan before embarking of anything in the home improvement arena.

Here endeth today’s lesson.