The Home Depot is to Macho Guy as the Godiva Chocolate Shop is to me—a candy store. He walks through that big ol’ box store salivating over tools, lumber, and plumbing devices the same way I drool over dark chocolate truffles. The female do-it-yourselfers stride down Home Depot aisles with a sense of purpose. The male do-it-yourselfers stroll down Home Depot aisles with stars in their eyes. I suspect worshipping construction supplies is a guy thing.
Nothing pleases MG more than dragging me through Home Depot, with the occasional side trip to other big box stores such as Lowes and Menards. Visiting these shrines to do-it-yourself home improvement bores me no end, mainly because I have no dark chocolate truffles to show for that time suck when we pass through the exit doors. Now, if big box stores gave out free chocolate truffles at the door to the hapless wives of would-be Bob Vilas, I’d still wish I were somewhere else but I’d be a lot happier about being bored.
So it was with some trepidation that I listened to MG announce that he had a home improvement project in mind. Every married woman knows that such a project is yet another skirmish in the battle of the sexes. MG’s announcement was a call to arms, his taste vs. mine. I girded myself for war.
We are our 37-year-old home’s third owners. For years, MG insisted we didn’t need to update the outdated dark brown fixtures in the additional bath in the bedroom wing. About a week ago, MG did a one hundred eighty degree turnabout. He decided we should give that bathroom a minimal facelift but on a fiscally responsible budget—in other words, on the cheap. Handyman that he is, he proclaimed that he would be his own contractor. Stark visions of filling station restroom decor flashed before my eyes. O joy.
First off, the tub/shower’s dark brown porcelain surface is dull, faded, and nearly worn off in several places like skin peeling after serious sunburn. The layout of the bathroom prohibited removing the tub and installing a new one. In order to remove the tub, we would have to knock out the tiled wall behind it, yank it out, update the rest of the bathroom, install a new tub, and then replace the wall and retile it. Not in the budget. No way. No how. No kidding.
MG proposed a viable alternative; have the tub resurfaced. The available colors were pure white, off white (biscuit), and farther off white (bone). I voted for the pure white since it isn’t subject to passing fads, never goes out of style, and the matching bathroom fixtures would be less costly in white than in color. I also pointed out that chrome faucets and tub/shower trim would also be more cost efficient compared to other finishes. My cooperative, sensible, thrifty approach surprised, pleased, and impressed MG.
Trust me, there was a method to my madness, a method developed over years of dealing with MG’s refusal to spend more money than necessary on anything that didn’t have wheels, didn’t have a motor, and didn’t go vrrrroooooommm!
Choosing the less costly white and chrome freed up funds to buy higher-end, more attractive fixtures, and to update more than just the tub, toilet, and sinks. I wanted to ditch the ugly old almond countertop. MG didn’t, said it was too expensive to do. I secretly hoped we’d save enough on the white/chrome decor that I could persuade him to add a new countertop to the update. I didn’t tell him this, of course. Prying open a tight-fisted spouse’s wallet is all about strategy, stealth, and reverse psychology.
MG fessed up that he already made a reconnaissance mission to Home Depot to scope out the possibilities and wanted to show me what he found to get my input. Ohhh-kay. We’re going on a trip to HomeImprovementLand, what fun. I can hardly wait. ::sigh::
Instead of going directly to Home Depot, MG had me go online to homedepot.com to have a look at what was available. I perked up and gleefully searched for toilets, sinks, and faucets. My mind reeled when we found a white on chrome waterfall sink faucet we both liked. We both liked it? How was that possible? It had to be an aberration.
I scrolled through webpage after webpage for sink and toilet designs until I had a very revealing aha moment. Apparently, I’m not the only one who is capable of using psychology to gain desired ends. MG knows what a computer nerd I am. He got me. Sneaky, underhanded devil.
On to Home Depot where my mission was to prevent MG from selecting anything that even vaguely resembled restroom fixtures at an interstate rest stop. The actual expedition to Home Depot was fairly painless. We had a good grasp on what we wanted ahead of time, and a very knowledgeable associate helped us chose what would best serve our needs. We bought a sleek, one-piece, high-end toilet for much less than its list price. [Yes! More money for the countertop!] We agreed on the same tub/shower trim set, picked out glass shower doors we both liked, and we ordered the previously chosen faucets.
The situation was becoming frighteningly surreal. We were in agreement on just about everything, an outcome that previously seemed improbable, if not impossible. This could not go on forever. I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming or that I hadn’t been transported to a parallel universe.
We went online again to search for sink designs. I resorted to the use of propaganda to remind MG of how much money we saved and to convince him how much nicer new sinks would look with a new countertop as well. He responded with non-committal grunts. Typical.
The next day, I discovered that my propaganda campaign had succeeded. MG said he felt we could increase the budget slightly to include a new countertop since we saved on everything else. He called a countertop establishment to inquire about materials and prices, and we went to the shop to browse the selections. We managed to agree—again—on a white on white all-in-one countertop with sink bowls, and we placed the order.
The home improvement war was over. I won the last and most decisive battle, and I mentally went into my happy dance. Sweet victory was mine—and without spilling blood. The mind boggles.