Wednesday, August 15, 2012
“After work I’m going to The Home Depot,” Mr. Wonderful said as I debated which shoes to wear to work.
“Didn’t you go there yesterday?” I said.
“I need drill bits.”
“Didn’t you buy drill bits there. Yesterday?”
“I need some for the kitchen.”
“Didn’t you buy drill bits there. Yesterday. For the kitchen?”
“I need more!”
Before we moved into The House; before we bought The House; before the doctor pulled him from his mother’s womb, Mr. Wonderful was going to The Home Depot. And Lowe’s and the Do-It Center, Orchard Supply Hardware, Anawalt Lumber, Koontz Hardware and every Mom and Pop’s Super Duper Home Improvement store in town. If the joint smelled of cut lumber and its male employees wore aprons, Mr. Wonderful was there roaming the aisles, looking at plumbing displays and examining wood grains with a microscope.
I wasn’t using the term lightly. I knew how serious this was. The dictionary stated: “Addiction (noun): having a practice that is habit-forming, which gives so much pleasure to the habit-former that he forgets his wife and dreams of wearing his own orange apron.”
It was true. Mr. Wonderful was going to the home improvement store after work, on his lunch break, on Friday nights and staying there 'til the wee hours in the morning. In his mind why waste time going to a club, eating dinner out or watching a movie on NetFlix? When all he wanted to do was go to the HD and weigh the value of plastic tubing over copper.
And just like that I became a proverbial home improvement widow. Before the proverb became my reality, I had to address his addiction or lose my husband to drill bits. I ran to my computer and typed in “Alcoholics Anonymous 12 steps”. I adapted them to fit Mr. Wonderful’s situation, in advance I extend my apologies to AA.org.
1) Mr. Wonderful admits he is powerless going to home improvement stores and buying materials for new projects.
2) He has come to believe that his wife is right. Again. Like always.
3) He must follow his wife’s advice exactly as SHE WISHES HIM TO FOLLOW IT.
4) BEFORE going to any home improvement stores, he will look in his tool shed to see if he already owns 14 Phillips screwdrivers.
5) He will take his wife to dinner and a comedy show.
6) He will tell his wife what a great lady she is. (I swear she’ll really like this).
7) He will humbly ask for her forgiveness by giving her jewelry. Rings are nice but anything sparkly will get his point across and make her very happy.
8, 9, 10) Repeat Step 7.
11) He won’t complain when she buys another pair of shoes. (This step has nothing to do with his addiction but it would make her life much easier.)
12) Having had a spiritual awakening because of these steps, he will carry this 12-Step message to others similarly afflicted. And he will thank his wife for being such a great gal.
That night while organizing my shoe closet I broached his home improvement addiction and how he had to stop spending money on these House projects.
“My addiction isn’t any worse than your shoe shopping.”
“I wear all of my shoes.”
“And I use all of my tools.”
“When did you last use that Channellock Crescent Swing Wrench thingy?”
He grabbed a shoe from my closet. “When did you last wear this pair of hot pink pumps?”
“Three years ago with that pink dress I have with the—” He raised his hands.
“Okay,” he said scratching his head. “I’ll stop going to home improvement stores and buying stuff if you stop buying shoes.”
I raised my hands, scratched my head and had a spiritual awakening in the form of my own 12th Step:
12) I liked both our addictions just as they were. And I’ll say “Thanks” to Mr. Wonderful for being such a great guy!