I currently have something I never thought I’d have: a toolbox. For tools.
Because I already had a toolbox, only it was filled with medicine, almost all of which expired in 2007. When we became foster parents, it was required that we have all our medication locked up and secured. Looking for something to do just that, my wife and I stumbled on a traditional ol’ toolbox. I said, “This will work! Plus one day maybe I can actually use it for tools HA HA HA this will be for medication.”
But the joke is on me because now I have a tool-toolbox. We were in the process of going through some house junk, and I thought it would be a good idea to go through the medicine toolbox and throw out the ear drop medication my wife brought to Arizona from New Jersey seven years ago and a huge box of DayQuil that only had one DayQuil in it that was four years expired and also everything in the box. Staring at the empty toolbox, I took a deep breath and with a lump in my throat said to myself, “Now is the time.”
I knew the day would come; I just didn’t expect it to come so soon.
But listen, I want to be clear—I didn’t do this for me. I did it for the manly men I am related to who come to our house occasionally to visit but also to fix things. It used to be kind of funny when, having asked my dad or father-in-law or my wife’s uncle to fix something in the house, they would say, “Where does Mike keep his tools?” and we would laugh and laugh and laugh.
But all of a sudden that stopped being funny for some reason.
Uncle Paul: No, seriously. I cannot do this without tools.
Me: Random tools are scattered throughout all four corners of the house and also in the garage. I typically leave them in the spot I last failed at fixing what was there, so it’s probably nearby.
Uncle Paul: I just need a socket wrench—where do you keep that?
Me: I am honestly unsure if you are joking and making fun of me or if a ‘socket wrench’ is an actual thing. But to answer your question: no. I mean, I don’t know. I mean, what?
For the benefit of being able to continue having things fixed, I figured consolidating tools would be a good idea. And I was surprised at how many tools I had considering I have never purchased a tool in my life. Every tool I own—save for the mini screwdriver I was forced to buy to replace the batteries in a pink teapot that plays music—have been purchased for me as a means of goading me into learning how to do stuff, despite the fact I am 36 and have resisted this long. I think I had four straight birthdays where my father-in-law’s gift to me was a set of tools, all of which have remained in plastic except for the ones my father-in-law himself was forced to open when we asked him to fix something. “Oh, I see you’ve enjoyed the socket wrenches I got you in 2005.” (In my defense, you need a tool to open those things!)
ANYWAY, it’s all in the there now: screwdrivers, a hammer, measuring tape, some screws (for the screwdrivers), a thingee, pliers, electrical tape, a whole bunch of nutbolts (?) or something that apparently go with a tool I either don’t have or can’t find, a stud finder that I keep forgetting to put on me and make a beeping sound to make my wife roll her eyes, and a bunch of stuff that looks tool-y even though I have no idea what it is.
Now nobody can complain when we invite them to our house for the sole reason of fixing stuff as I pretend to watch and learn while instead managing my fantasy sports teams on my phone. I am 36.
Note: This column appears in the 8/28 issue of The Glendale Star and the 8/29 issue of the Peoria Times.