Shopping, TRAVEL

Home Improvement Wars

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So, what’s  your home improvement shopping spot?  Lowe’s? Home Depot? Walmart?  You know what’s funny?  I remember when we used to just call them hardware stores.

Handy Dan’s

The first Home Improvement Store I knew about was Handy Dan’s.  We had one on Garland Road, over in East Dallas.  The place was a wonder to me.  Wikipedia says the founders of Home Depot were fired from Handy Dan’s.  Talk about an error in judgement!

I can tell you this though.  Home improvement has improved a lot since old Handy Dan’s.  It really was just a glorified hardware store.  Home improvement stores have retained a lot of that warehouse-ish look, but they’ve greatly expanded the scope of items carried.

Lowe’s or Home Depot?

This family prefers Lowe’s and you want to know why?  We hate self-serve check-outs.  It’s like the darned things know we’re coming.  Fifty people could have just gone through the self-serve without a hiccup, but if we walk up, the whole system breaks down.

We do occasionally darken the Home Depot doors when Lowe’s doesn’t have what we want, but if Bill gets up to the front and there’s no one there to check us out, he’s been known to lay down whatever he was going to buy and try again later.  If you know someone at Home Depot you might tell them.  (Lowe’s also lets us bring our doggie to shop with us and Home Depot doesn’t!)

Put That in Your House Beautiful

Back when we were shopping at Handy Dan, most do-it-yourself-ers depended on the written word.  There were all kinds of hardback how-to books at Handy Dan, but most of us learned how-to in magazines.  I know Better Homes and Gardens and Southern Living were staples on Mom’s coffee table.  When it came time to redecorate, she’d have several magazines folded back to particular pages and we’d spend our time haunting wallpaper stores, furniture stores and such to replicate the look in our own home.

Nowadays, we just turn on HGTV and soak in the home improvement.  You don’t just get steps one, two and three.  You get to watch the whole process from design to reveal.

The Ooops Factor

Still, trying those D-I-Y steps at home isn’t quite as simple as they make it on TV.  We’re constantly running into situations that TV has no answer for.  You can have all the right tools, but a break down in communication can put a real dent in your project.  Sort of like this:

How It Looks on TV

Wife:  I think we should do “X” home repair.

Husband: I agree, let’s make a list of what we need to complete the job and then go to the big box store.  By next weekend we should be ready.

Then together they make preparations to do whatever home-repair needs to happen, embrace the job together, and then stand back to admire their handiwork.

How It Looks at Our House

Me: Honey, what are you doing?

Mr. Metrosexual:  I’m touching up the paint on the ceiling.

Me:  Shouldn’t you use a scaffold or something.  That ladder doesn’t seem very stable on the stairs. And what about covering the furniture?

Mr. Metrosexual:  I’m just touching up a few spots.  I’ll be through in a minute.

That’s when the gallon of paint dove off the ladder, spilling all over a leather chair and our mauve carpet.  The room smelled like turpentine for years.


Mr. Metrosexual:  Sweetheart, have you seen those black gaskets I set on the counter?

Me: Gaskets?

Mr. Metrosexual: Yes, they came off the air conditioner.

Me: Is it broken?

Mr. Metrosexual:  No, I was just checking something out.

Me: Well, I don’t think I’ve seen any gaskets today.

Mr. Metrosexual:   I laid them there a couple of months ago.

Me:  A month or so ago?

Mr. Metrosexual:  I’ve told you not to move my stuff around.

After the ensuing argument and a dose of repair bills, I don’t move parts on the counter anymore – even if that means they lay there for months on end.


Me: Why are we stopping at the big box store?

Mr. Metrosexual:  I need to pick up a bulb for the outdoor lights.  Come on in with me.  It won’t take long.

A couple of hours and several hundred dollars later we’re back at home with supplies  for four different odd jobs I didn’t even know we were considering, but no parts for the outdoor lights.  That’s OK, because, over the next week or so, we’ll be back returning or exchanging most of the things we bought.

So What’s a Girl to Do?

This girl just shakes her head and shrugs her shoulders.  Stacked up to the competition, nobody beats Mr. Metrosexual in all the categories that matter.  Obviously, home repairs ….Oooops, I’ve got to run.  Mr. Metrosexual has climbed up on the roof with his air compressor and I have no idea why.

(The bulk of this article first appeared on Yahoo Voices in 2014.)

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