Times are tough and we’re trying to save wherever we can. The other day I discovered that if you separate the two-ply toilet paper, a roll will last twice as long. But we can split all the Charmin we want and cut paper towels in two to double the life, but when it comes to certain household projects, most are better left to the professionals. We had a bedroom that needed new carpet and I was hellbent against paying someone who actually knew what they were doing. No Sir. This was my job. Get out of my way, let me strap on the tool belt and watch the magic happen.  I was confident of success but, truth be told, up until now my knowledge of carpets was limited to vacuuming them.

I would, by no means, consider myself a handyman. I remember when we first moved in to our townhouse three years ago, I painted a door and the celebration didn’t end for a week. I think I’d probably have to rank myself somewhere between ‘deceased grandmother’ and ‘Golden Retriever,’ on the handyman scale.

I ventured into Home Depot with the obligatory pencil behind my ear in an attempt to fit in and was immediately approached by a very helpful apron clad employee with the name “Joe” written across his weight belt. “Hi, Joe. I’m looking for one of those thingies that pounds nails into wood. One end is like a handle where you would hold it and the other end is an odd shaped piece of steel.” Joe scratched his head and asked, “Do you mean a…hammer?” “You got it, Joe, that’s it. The name escaped me for just a moment. Do you like my pencil?”

The day of reckoning had arrived and I felt good. I think the pencil behind my ear gave me a big psychological advantage. I quickly kicked the roll of carpet out flat and began smoothing it out as per the instructions in the How to Lay Anything book.

One hundred and twenty-seven staples later, I spotted a pesky, little bump in the middle. At the same time, I noticed that the little Kleenex package I had in my shirt pocket was gone. Crap! I could either pull the entire carpet back up, retrieve the tissue and start from scratch or smash it to smithereens. I’ve had to make some tough decisions in my life, but this wasn’t one of them.  After a few minutes of pounding, the bump was virtually gone. This was to remain my little secret.


I stood up straight and proud, arms folded; sweat dripping from my forehead admiring the job I had done. I did it. I really did it! My only other experience that could even come close to rivaling this proud moment was when I won the highly coveted Paperboy of the Week honors in Deerfield, Illinois a number a years ago.

When Michele got home, I was brimming from ear to ear. “Honey, come on upstairs. I want to show you something.” Michele was truly amazed. “This looks great, sweetheart. You did this all by yourself,” she asked?  “Of course, I did. I even used the Benjamin Moore thing over there.” She looked puzzled. “You mean the…yardstick?” “Yup, that’s it. I’ll show you how to use it one of these days,” I told her. She gushed and hugged me and said, “I’m so proud of you. Oh, by the way, when I was coming in, I found your Kleenex pack on the floor downstairs. It must have fallen out of your pocket. By the way, have you seen the parakeet?”






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