Wednesday, September 06, 2006


We own a house. We own a 53-year-old house. We need a lot of tools.

When we moved into this house, way back in 1999, we had a handful of tools. We had a little hammer that unscrewed at the base to reveal a tiny screwdriver set hidden in the handle. We had a socket set in the back of Accountant Boy's Honda, and we might have had some Elmer's glue. Not too sure about the glue.

We now have a 5 1/2' tall toolchest full of screwdrivers, wrenches, saws, pliers, tape measures, levels, hammers and mallets, a Dremel set and a drawer full of utility knives. I know what's in there, because I'm a big dork, so I labeled every drawer. Ironically, the label maker doesn't fit in a drawer, so it's thrown into the top bin of the chest, which is where we throw all of the uncategorized tools.

The shelf unit holds all of our glues, solvents, oils, paint strippers, wallboard joint compound and tape, light bulbs, batteries, our safety equipment, a circular saw, a jig saw, an orbiting sander, a corded drill, a cordless drill, a pipe snake, a caulking gun, the 'big box o' plumbing' and a couple of extension cords.

There's stuff on there that I can't identify. I don't know when we ever used it. For example, what did we ever do with this stuff? It's been on the shelf for probably six years. I didn't buy it, and I don't remember either of us ever using it. I asked Accountant Boy, and he doesn't remember it, either.

"Then how did it get there? Magic garage elves? 'Heeheeheeee! They'll never know if it's cool to throw this shit away!' Friggin' garage elves..."

"I think someone's been spending too much time out there. Why don't you throw that stuff out and come inside."

"Nah. I'm kinda scared to toss it. What if we need it again?"

"We'll buy more."

"Why would we do that when we have already have a jar of it. Right. Here."

That sums up the tool situation right there. We don't know where half of it came from, and we use half of what we do know about.

I do have favorites, though. Putting aside my obvious love of the hammer and prybar, this is my favorite tool. It's an ergonomic paintbrush, designed to fit the contours of a right-handed painter's palm. I bought it to paint my parents' living room, and it somehow made its way back to Concord with me. Imagine that.

Coming in a close second are these shoes. They're not supposed to be work shoes, but I've worn them on every big job we've undertaken on the house. They're Doc Martens, and they weigh about four pounds each. I wear them to stomp debris down into the bed of the work truck. I wear them to Home Depot and prop sheets of wallboard up off the ground across the toes. I don't wear them if I'm climbing a ladder, because they're not the least bit flexible. They're my heavy work shoes. No matter how much grime and muck and clay I cake onto them, they still polish to a nice shine, and I can still wear them to almost any casual event. I've had them for ten years, and they're not showing any signs of wear. They make me feel tall, yet steady on my feet. You know, maybe they ARE my favorite tools.

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