Friday, January 12, 2007

Somebody in Home Depot has a screw loose!

My husband and our son Scott are building a cabin on our lake lot. Scott came down for several days between Christmas and New Year's Eve, and they were able to get all the beams and joists attached to the piers. They also started running the plumbing, and since I was going to town anyway, would I stop at Home Depot and pick up a few things for them, so they could keep working?
I said sure, I didn't mind at all, I was going anyway.
Then, when I got to Home Depot, my cell phone rang.
"Honey, while you are there, get us some screws."
Now to me a screw is a screw.
But to a builder, apparently, there are hundreds of kinds and sizes of screws.
Just to add to the complications, there are also bolts, which are different from screws.
And there are washers.
And nuts.
And hex head.
And flat head.
and slotted.
and of course non-slotted.
And let us not forget Phillips head.
In addition, each of these items comes in a wide variety of lengths and diameters.
In fact, Home Depot has an entire wall devoted to screws.
Screws in bags.
Screws in boxes.
Oh. my. word.

Obviously, I was going to need help with this errand.

I called my darling back and asked him to tell me again the kind of screws he needed.
"Quarter twenty flat head slotted one and a quarter screws."

Now I ask you. Does that sound intelligible?
Yes, the words are in English, but what the heck does it mean?

So I asked a passing person wearing an orange vest and a preoccupied expression.
He told me he was on his way to load something for another customer, but would be right back, and to please wait for him on aisle twenty.
Well, I can do that.

So I go to aisle twenty and wait.
And wait.
And wait.

Finally, another person in an orange vest walks by. I told him what I needed. He pulled a four inch bolt from a box and handed it to me.

I said, "but I need a quarter twenty flat head slotted inch and a quarter."

He said, "Well, it has a flat head."
And kept walking.

So I waited some more. Finally, the first guy came back, this time loaded down. He glanced at me, noticed I was still patiently waiting, and said he would be right back as soon as he loaded this order.

I waited some more.

Finally I began to examine the thousands of packages of screws and bolts hanging on the wall. Each package was neatly labeled by size and description. But somehow I could not figure out the organizational pattern. Surely there was a pattern. Well, I am pretty sure there was. The problem was that I could not see it. I could not figure out what the pattern was.

Three more phone calls to my darling, thirty more minutes of waiting, watching for an orange-vested person, and I finally began at the beginning, and looked at every package.
Every single package.
Every single package of the hundreds and thousands hanging on the board.

Finally, I found it.
"Quarter twenty flat head slotted inch and a quarter."

Only it was actually inch and a half.

So I called again. He said yeah that would do, and oh by the way, he also needed washers and nuts to fit.

At that point I had a fit.

Then I noticed that the nuts were in the package. I told my darling that he would have to find his own washers, because my head was about to explode. He graciously agreed to find his own washers on his next trip to Home Depot.

By the time I left Home Depot, I was exhausted, and forgot why I had come to town in the first place.

But by golly I can tell you where to find any screw Home Depot carries.