25 Oct If I Had a Hammer
If I had a hammer, I could muzzle my father’s harangue, which bounces around my head like a pinball every time I look for a lost tool.
I am sure my siblings remember all too well, the loud laments of my father: “Where is my hammer? NANCY!? I need the boys to come out here and find my hammer right now! Richard? Greg? Who has seen my hammer? WARREN? Did you and Nicky leave the hammer in the treehouse again?”.
Try and imagine a very large man yelling at you to find a tool that you most likely lost. Very large, very mad…red-faced ranting, rummaging through the shed like a grizzly that just came in through your fishing cabin’s window looking for peanut butter.
My brothers and I would run out the nearest door, and head right for the treehouse, our “happy place” (also the hangout for Dad’s missing tools).
Fast forward 40 years….now I’m the one missing hammers….the problem? I’m losing them myself.
The other day I was standing on top of my tractor, changing the spotlight on my garage and what do I see perched on the top of my garden cage? My rusty hammer. Missing since the Fall of 2013.
I then cleaned out my shed, always a fun experience.
I found 4 hammers, plus one in the garage, and the one on top of the garden, that makes 6.
What else did I find? At least 6 cans of fix-a-flat, 8 flashlights and enough extension cords to light a lamp in Lesley’s house.
More redundant inventory:
Four hose nozzles, 4 plug adapters, 6 different duct tapes…….5 tape measures…..ok, what’s my point?
Why so many of the same thing? I’m in a hurry, and when I complete a project, either the tool stays where it was used, (Farm, back of car, on tractor, near woodpile, shed, garage, basement), that I declare it Stolen next time I need it, and head down to the hardware store to buy a new one.
The guys at Feinsod’s must think I am giving away tools for birthday presents.
I just counted 8 chainsaw chains. It’s quicker to buy a new one, $22, than to pay them to sharpen the old one, $12.
I do the cost/benefit analysis at the counter of my tree management company:
“I can stay here and wait while you sharpen this, or, I can buy this one and leave now, for $10 more? Give me three. You lost me at WAIT”.
“And I need some bar oil, and a case of pre-mixed chainsaw gas”
A “helpful” man overhears me and says:
“Why don’t you just buy a chain file and sharpen your chains yourself? They’re $2”
I turn and look at him:
“Do you know how many of those files I own?”
So, I run out to my idling car like a bank robber, jump in, and announce to Warren and Liam, ‘let’s go!”
I have limited minutes, limited gas, limited battery.
Gotta get it, and GO.
Back to the hammer. I have trouble shot my problem with myriad solutions:
I have spray painted handles fluorescent orange so as to better reveal themselves, I have put hooks on the wall of the shed to always keep it in a safe place… the problem with that solution is sometimes it doesn’t land on the hook when I toss it from the door, and once something hits the floor? It bounces off paint cans, fishing nets, deflated basketballs, other hammers, and isn’t seen until the annual cleaning.
The other day I was squirrel proofing my wooden garbage “locker”, (the first one was eaten through in spite of all sorts of defenses ranging from plumbers’ mesh, duct tape, coyote urine) and there I was, using my kitchen hammer, cursing, barely able to hear myself over the din of my father’s yells.
The kitchen hammer? That’s the one small enough to fit in your suit jacket pocket, and barely large enough to tap in a small nail to hang a picture. The head has a beautiful bouquet of flowers brightly painted on it.
The day before that? I used the back of my dull hatchet to tap in the nails on my new woodpile shed. (I could have used one of my 10 tarps but I swore off tarps as last January’s new year’s resolution).
Today? I am going to throw away the 10 different half empty cans of white paint, consolidate and locate my tools, and walk into Feinsods and say: ‘do not let me buy any more hoses, bags of grass seed, or clippers!
Then I’ll head over to the fishing tackle store and yell at them.