Tough as nails

You might not remember this, but when I was a kid there was a Sesame Street skit where a little boy is sent to the store with a list he memorizes by repeating to himself, “I’d like a quart of milk, a loaf of bread and a stick of butter.”

Well, that’s what it’s like for me when the Carpenter sends me to the hardware store for a box of nails. 

“I’d like a box of nails, two and a half-inch galvanized ardox nails, please” (hands up if you think my being able to say that makes me totally sexy).

This task was so exciting for me. The Carpenter trusted me to handle a solo expedition to the hardware store, which puts me one step closer to getting my own tool belt and actually being allowed to use the power drill or, hope upon hope, a circular saw; I just know it.

I was so paranoid I’d screw this up that I actually emailed myself the specifications, just in case. I could not afford a mistake. The Carpenter would enjoy that too much. I had to get this right.

So, I strutted into my local hardware store all nonchalant-like and pretended that I didn’t have to read the clearly marked signs at the end of each aisle.

I was channeling my masculine side, my inner Carpenter. There was no way I was going to ask for directions. I had this under control.

Unfortunately, I forgot my glasses at home. I stood there, squinting like I’d seen daylight for the first time, trying to find the box of nails that said two and a half-inch galvanized ardox nails.

How hard could that be?

Perhaps this is where the expression “tough as nails” comes from, because I stood before an entire row of nails, some in boxes, some loose in big bins, none of which were labeled properly in the words I needed.

Have you ever stood before a buffet of nails? Don’t even get me started on the selection of screws behind me in the next aisle, but that is probably the best definition of how I felt standing there, determined not to ask for help and even more resolute to find the spiral nails that would not only secure some loose boards at my home, but also hammer in my self respect. Right?

I searched every box, but I could not find galvanized ardox nails. I didn’t dare ask the men who were touring around the store. Nun-uh. I’ve got this, I told myself.

Size matters, that much I knew, so I eventually found the right size of the ardox nails, but they were missing the key word: galvanized.

What the heck; two out of three ain’t bad, I decided (I saw you just slap your forehead there). I grabbed the box and strutted my confident self out of the store.

I had succeeded in my mission. Yep, I nailed it.

And then I returned home. I was pleased as punch to present my bounty.

To his credit, the Carpenter received my folly with a sweet smile as he explained that these were not the proper nails. Apparently galvanized matters. Geesh.

To his credit he said he could use the nails I bought for another project. He was lying. I knew it.

And that is why I adore him. 



Kelly Waterhouse