UPDATE: There’s a lot that has happened since I last wrote. I got married, got a dog, stopped complaining to people on the internet and instead used my husband as an outlet (he would like that to stop soon because he doesn’t care). But most recently, I bought a house. And with that house comes the false sense that I am, in fact, Chip and Joanna Gaines morphed into one perfectly capable, handy human that can for sure do shit myself and it will be spectacular. So took my first trip to Home Depot. And this is how it went down.
I approached the parking lot in my sleek, white Jeep Compass fresh out of 2012 and a child’s soccer game and I was immediately overcome with anxiety. First, because for the love of all things good and well, there is never a good parking spot when you need one. Second, because I know the journey on which I am about to embark and I am terrified for both myself and my wallet.
In my mind, Home Depot is like Costco. Only there are no snacks to hide behind, just the shame of my ineptitude and the fact that I didn’t realize the dress code for entry required a tool belt, or at the very least, a back pocket tape measure. Nevertheless, I decided to treat my newfound homeownership the same way I treated purchasing wholesale groceries – with an empty cart, a half-baked list and no plan for how I will fit everything in my trunk.
So I parked and hesitantly approached the orange sliding doors. There was still time to turn back. No one would know. But that’s not how I roll. I do things solely because I can film them for Instagram and make people think I am cool, edgy or in this case – handy as f*ck. A short mental pep talk, a quick slap to my own face later and I enter the vibrant-and-not-in-the-slightest-case-pearly orange gates to home remodeling heaven. The ceilings are tall, the aisles are big, the signs are signing, and OH MY GOD EVERYONE IS WEARING MATCHING ORANGE APRONS.
Home Depot was like a choose my own adventure. And I was on a quest to do something amazing. Only where to start? Bathroom? Garden? Lighting? Hardware? The opportunities were endless and I was only limited by my own incompetence and the fact that they were closing in 15 minutes.
Ignoring the fact that I severely overestimated how many middle-aged men who consider Home Depot to be their personal Lord and Savior would judge me – literally not one human, man or woman, looked at me in any way shape or form – I made my way to the lumber section because everyone who is anyone knows every good project starts with, that’s right, lumber. I had a rudimentary sketch and an idea in my head of what I needed, but there I stood at a crossroads between four different aisles, full of different kinds of wood and I had absolutely no idea how to navigate this sea of pine and walnuts.
But the man in the orange apron did. His name was Johnathan and he was my home reno sherpa. Johnathan told me about quarters of inches, types of plywood and all of the things my dad probably wanted to tell me when I was younger but I was too busy not being interested in learning practical skills at 14.
Johnathan didn’t care that I didn’t know that screws and nails aren’t interchangeable. He didn’t bat an eye when he asked what kind of wood I wanted and I replied with, “Whatever is the cheapest.” He just cared that I was there and literally trying my best to look like I belonged. Or he just wanted me to leave so he could close up, the jury is still out.
He looked at my rudimentary sketch and knew exactly the kinds of things I needed. He even cut the wood to size before sending me on my way with a cart full of stuff and no idea what to do with it when I got home.
Because what I came to realize is that, Home Depot truly is like Costco. While everything may be disorganized and the things you need aren’t ever really in the place they’re supposed to be, the people are helpful and at the end of the day, do any of us really know what we’re doing? No, right? Please tell me it’s a no.
About two hours and 147 wrong turns later, I said goodbye to Johnathan and his orange apron, checked out at the orange cash register and walked my orange cart full of stuff out the two orange sliding exit doors to my car and felt like I had just experienced something amazing.
But really I think I just inhaled too much sawdust.