I’m a softie what can I say. Or should I say my wife and I are softies.

Today was a typical Friday. I worked on my minimum wage project for most of the day; finding some time to network a little too. While I did that the spouse went grocery shopping and stopped at Lowe’s to pick up door knobs for the cabinets in the laundry room.  While she was there I got a sad little text from her:

wife: Lowe’s has 5 river birch clumps and a japanese maple on clearance for $5. they need TLC.

me: I’m fine with the birch. no maple. how big are they?

(Lowe's garden center clearance aisle.)

(Lowe’s garden center clearance aisle.)

wife: taller than me. not sure they’ll fit in car.

me: ok we can pick up with trailer later.

wife: ok, all paid for and set aside.

wife: maple looks sad all alone now without his friends.

me: i don’t like japanese maples. that’s what people who don’t know anything about landscaping put in their yards because their neighbors have one. they plant them right before they clean out their immaculate garages and go golfing.  I don’t like japanese maples.

wife:  😦

So eventually she came home, I finished up my work and we ate dinner. We loaded our boys in the RAV4 and I hitched up the trailer. Off we were to Lowe’s.

This is what we came home with:

These guys followed us home today. Five river birch and...

These guys followed us home today. One, two, three, four…..five river birch and…

.... this guy.

…. this guy.

C’mon….do you honestly think I’m a complete monster? The little maple was so pathetic. Our birch trees were all loaded on a cart by the check out.  Way, way, way in the back in the clearance section was a pathetic 4′ tall japanese maple tree, lying on its side, roots exposed to the world. How the hell am I supposed to walk all the way back there and just leave it there.  They would have probably thrown it out after closing time.

So I reluctantly peeled off six dollar bills and exchanged it for sixty-seven cents, a receipt and one japanese maple tree.

This totally goes against my better judgement and everything I was ever taught by anyone who taught me anything in my nearly 40 years on this planet. The chances of any of these trees living is slim and none. So we watered “slim”, “none” and their four friends when we got home and we’ll plant them tomorrow morning. Why I feel compelled to try to save things that are basically dead already I have no idea. First it was the bee on my door last week, now this maple tree. And this coming from a guy who once had to shoot a deer a half-dozen times before it’d die. I wouldn’t wish being me on anyone. No way could someone handle my self-imposed lunacy. Heck, crazy people get weirded out when they’re around me….I make them uneasy.

Still in the back of my mind my thought is to only hold onto the maple until I can nurse it back to health. Then on a dark, moonless night I’ll swaddle it in a burlap bag and drive out to some well to do suburban neighborhood and leave it on someone’s front porch, with a note that reads something like:

Please see to it that this ornamental tree finds the love and attention it deserves in your kind, caring, lacking (we noticed you’re the only house on the cul-de-sac without a japanese maple) landscape. Do not attempt to find us. It’s for the best that he think you are his one and only family. 

I’ll eye dropper some salt water tears on the page for effect.

Back inside the house I went up to the wife’s secret beer stash in her studio fridge and grabbed two Buds. I thought about three but then my brother would be sending me AA pamphlet in the mail again. Upon reaching the foyer I had a choice: A) go lay on the couch, open one of the two Buds, and scuttle all hope for today…there’s always tomorrow right? Or B) put the door knobs on the cabinets in the Laundry Room.  I sighed audibly three times to myself, put the beer in the Kitchen fridge, then walked into the studio and grabbed my drill.

I measured the knob placement on the office cabinets and then took a look at the Laundry cabinets. I like to center the knobs left to right on the vertical trim of the door. In this case half of 1.5″…so I measured over 3/4″ and made a mark. Up and down wise? I apparently like to line them up with the inside edge of the flat part of the trim. Take a look at this pic to see what I’m talking about:

I like to put the knobs halfway on the vertical trim and line up with the inboard edge of the horizontal trim.

I like to put the knobs halfway on the vertical trim and line up with the inboard edge of the horizontal trim.

Then just find a drill bit that is a slightly larger diameter than the knob screw, and drill the hole. Oh, open the door before you drill unless you like the dimple look on the inside cabinet frame like this:


From a practical standpoint though, this dimple mistake is good because it gives the wife a tangible source of resentment going forward, as opposed to some sort of underlying emotional neglect thing that costs hundreds, if not thousands, of therapy dollars to unearth during football season.

After all the holes were drilled I used my trusty utility knife to break out the knobs and their mounting screws. It’s kinda weird, the little screws are in a bag inside the knob bag. Ugh, two bags to cut through. Well that doesn’t sound efficient to me (after all it’s nearly eight o’clock on a Friday…who’s going to drink that beer if I’m spending all night putting knobs on doors?).

So I decided to cut both bags at once…you know, half the time right? Well one bag is tougher than the other. Sure enough the outer bag cuts open and the tougher screw bag launched out, carried by the tip of my utility knife. Next thing I know the screw bag darts across the washing machine, through the giant hole in the wall and falls straight down into the abyss:

What are the chances?

What are the chances?

four year old: “Dad whatca doin’?”

me: “Um I dropped something” (As I drag the dryer out, crawl on top of it and shimmy down the back side)

four year old: “Did you drop it in that big hole?”

me: “Um maybe bud.” (Yeah, it’s definitely in the big hole….no way…it’s totally g-o-n-e)

four year old: “Mom! Dad lost the screw for your knob so now you won’t be able to open one of your doors!” (like…he says it as loud as you can imagine, btw)

me (mumbling to myself): “We really need a policy on tattling in this household. I mean seriously…a comprehensive ‘when is it right’, ‘when is it wrong’ policy.”

Well turns out it didn’t matter that I lost the screw. The lone drawer requires a longer screw that did not come with the knobs so “neener, neener, neener….I didn’t need that dumb screw anyway“. I found a longer screw from a previous job and it worked like a charm. The lost screw also adds thermal mass to the wall; Joe would be proud.

We now have really nice looking chrome knobs on our Laundry Room cabinets. The knob monkey was not on my back for very long at all. He didn’t even have time to unpack.

Knobs on cabinets. Also note the ceramic goose decorations are out, after sitting in a box for over a year. We're finally moving in and making our house a home!!!

Knobs on cabinets. Also note the ceramic goose decorations are out, after sitting in a box for over a year. We’re finally moving in and making our house a home!!!

That’s it.  Nothing else really happened today. So we learned I’m somewhat inept, crazy and I have a soft spot for plants that really should just be thrown out. I guess there are worse traits in life. It’s Labor Day weekend peeps. Stay safe, have fun, enjoy life.

3 thoughts on “Softie

  1. Great post, Chris! Very funny – a very good tutorial on knob installation. The soft touch story of the trees was a nice lead in to the real meat of the story – it makes you seem more well balanced! Have a great holiday weekend.


  2. Pingback: Mother Nature Hates Me | nine apple trees

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