I finally have a better understanding of Tim Allen’s shtick from the early 90s nearly 20 years later, and by extension, the male fixation on tools and home repair shit. Owning your own home where the work never seems to stop will do that to you.
I love this house, but compared to our condo, it’s about 10x the work. We’ve already painted nearly the entire goddamn house (well, Kristin has), we’ve installed a new vanity, we’ve removed our railing and all the posts leading downstairs so that we can actually get furniture down there, and done more here in 3 months than in 3+ years of living in the other place.
Then there’s the biggest time suck of them all: The yard.
One of the main reasons we moved into the condo and happily paid over $220 in HOA fees every month, was so we didn’t have to take care of the yard. I’ve never had the gardening impulse. I don’t particularly enjoy working outside, and gardening strikes me as a cutesy poo euphemism for arduous manual labor you have to do in the ungodly heat of the summer.
But we bought this house, and I take pride in my home, so I went all in on it. Our yard is shit. It’s nothing but weeds. So I mow the weeds. I trim the edges. I pull the vines. Kristin and I curse the sumac we can’t get rid of, but we fight everyday to beat each plant back. I pull more weeds from our mulch and rocks. Weeding is endless, and if there’s a hell, my own personal version of it almost certainly sees me pulling them for eternity while forced to listen to Lynyrd Skynyrd cover bands all day.
It was at some point during one of these interminable weeding sessions that I noticed the tree in our front yard had a branch that hung down over where we parked. I got out our shears and struggled to cut through this surprisingly healthy, bastard ass branch that was undoubtedly ruining the paint job on our cars.
So I thought, “I need an axe.” Then I thought an axe would be helpful in dealing with the sumac, but I would also need a good shovel. Then I noticed the grass clipping from mowing the lawn were littering my sidewalk. As I swept those, I thought, “It might be easier to just use a blower here.” Once that’s over, it might be good to drill some holes in my brick garage, so I can hang all this shit up. But I need an electric drill for that…
And before too long, I’m buying belt sanders and wood lathes and Hey, what are you up to back there, Wilson? Jill said something confusing to me because I’m a man and I don’t pay attention. Argh argh argh!
I suddenly got why dudes are into tools and obsess over their lawns. I didn’t give one rat’s ass about lawns before buying this house, but I actually apologize to my neighbors for the shape it’s currently in when I talk to them. Who am I?
The truth is, I’ll never enjoy this shit, but I’m a dude who knows that my home is my castle. I want to treat it as such. And if that means I start accumulating tools, so be it.
About a year into our relationship, Kristin and I went to Home Depot to buy plexiglass for the Beirut table we made with Jason. At that point in my life I had spent roughly the same amount of time in a Home Depot as I had on Venus, and acted accordingly. As Kristin led us toward the back of the store, she said to me, “Y’know, one of these days, I’ll turn you into a good husband for someone and show you how the stuff in here works.”
My response: “Y’know, one of these days, I’ll turn you into a good wife for someone and shut you up.”
I laughed again while writing this because only one of us has actually succeeded at what they promised the other one that day.