An Innocent Enough Question


Standing at the checkout line of one of our local mega home improvement stores several years back, for what seemed like the hundredth time since starting our “little” project, I was tapped on the shoulder.  A very nice looking medical professional looked at my purchases and asked me what garden application the items in my cart had.  Let me back up to set the scene.

My ex-husband and I decided that instead of taking a little vacation, we would build a patio in the backyard.  It sounded like a great idea, especially when my son-in-law signed on.  He said it would be his gift to me, but I think after so many years in this family, he knew that if my ex and I were to work side by side for a week, the feathers would fly.  After putting pencil to graph paper, the heavy lifting part of the job was upon us.  There were hundreds of pounds of gravel and sand to be picked up and put on carts, then picked up and loaded in vehicles, then picked up and carried to the back yard to be tamped in to the area before we could even start on the final touches that are the best part of any project.

My favorite part has always been accessorizing, but once back in the store, I quickly became overwhelmed by the different options, colors, chairs, pillows… The employees were always so friendly and helpful that I was beginning to feel that I knew some of them well enough to invite them over to see the final outcome.  All of a sudden my ex made room in my cart next to some awesome pillows and planting pots for six toilet plungers.  Now, right away I was confused, because I knew we only have four toilets in the house, and none of them were backed up.  He gave me his classic huge grin and told me they were for his new patio.  I was unsure of what purpose they would serve, but on an up note, the attached sticks were bright yellow and matched the flowerpot I had just chosen.  After pushing on through several more aisles, I finally got him to tell me that he intended to use them as beer bottle holders.  He had some long involved story of how he had heard about this, but all I could do was stare into the cart as his voice became that noise that the teacher makes on those Charlie Brown cartoons.  This was not something that I envisioned as part of my new patio and at that moment I was trying to remind myself that it was his new patio too!

Which brings us to the tap on my shoulder in the check out line.  Once asked the question of the garden application for the six toilet plungers, I proceeded to attempt to throw my ex under the bus, rolled my eyes dramatically and told this friendly lady that my ex thought he was going to use them as beer holders on our new patio.  What happened next still makes me wonder where this woman went wrong.  She smiled at him and said, “Red Green? I love him!!”   It was like my ex had finally found his soul mate.  They were still talking as I pushed the cart out towards the car.  Her final question to my ex was, “Where does the duck tape go?”




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