Forget premarital counseling. Before couples are allowed to marry, they should be required by law to complete a home improvement project together. If both parties emerge with all their limbs in tact, then that’s a good indication that they can tolerate being married, having kids and having their gall bladder removed without anesthesia.
I met Antique Daddy in the fall of 1996 and as it happens in the fall, the leaves had fallen off my trees and my neighbor’s tree and all the trees in Arkansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma, and into the gutters on my house. Being a childless person at the time, I had more time than sense and things like scrubbing the grout around the toilet and removing leaves from the gutters were on my To Do list. Now my To Do list includes things like brush teeth, bathe, sleep. I am all about goals these days.
One day when Antique Boyfriend was over at my house, I mentioned that removing the leaves from my gutters was on my To Do list and that I thought I would buy some gutter covers so that I wouldn’t have to clean my gutters every year. His eyes lit up as visions of power tools danced in his head. So off we went, hand-in-hand to Home Depot in search of true love and gutter covers.
When we got to the gutter covers department, as luck would have it, I saw — gutter covers! And I was elated. And like the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8:36 who said, “Here is some water! Why not be baptized now!?” I said, “Here are some gutter covers! Why not buy them now!?” And I put them in my cart and skipped happily toward the checkout lanes. There’s nothing a girl loves more than a cart full of gutter covers!
Cue sound of a needle dragging across a record – Skreeeech!
Antique Boyfriend is not like the spontaneous Ethiopian eunuch, who by the way, was probably a lot more fun to take shopping. Antique Boyfriend needs to study, analyze (notice the root word “anal” in analyze? I don’t think that is a coincidence), read the fine print, go to three stores to comparison shop, take measurements, read up on how gutter covers are made, talk with gutter cover experts, make a spreadsheet and then return to the original store and stand in the gutter covers aisle with arms folded while scratching his chin for three additional hours or until I try to remove my gall bladder with a gutter cover.
In the middle of Home Depot, we had a “discussion” about the proper way to purchase gutter covers and I may have even cried. In the name of Bob Vila, was it too much to ask to buy a girl some gutter covers? I think because he wanted to win favor with me because he hoped to eventually sleep with me, Antique Boyfriend acquiesced and we ended up leaving the store with the original gutter covers upon which I first laid eyes and fell in love.
We went home and attempted to install said gutter covers together, a simple process which involved a ladder, a box of Band-aids, a bottle of Cabernet and more tears. They did not fit or work worth a flip and then I got aggravated, stomped them into an abstract environmental sculpture and then threw them into the garage along with all the other ghostly remains of home improvement projects past.
Yet we married anyway, because we learned so much about ourselves and each other in the process. We learned that a home without gutter covers is a happy home. We learned that Antique Daddy should be in charge of purchases requiring anal-yzing – cars and gutter covers and that I should be in charge of purchases requiring impulse – gum, lipstick, shoes.
And we learned why you never see Bob Vila’s wife on the show.