Frequently Blinded

This little ray of sunshine goes out to the consortium of home improvement centers which have perpetually ensconced themselves into the lofty conspiracy to liberate electronic funds from my bank account whenever I darken their door and swipe my credit/debit card in the reader at the self check out.

It’s not like I would ever use cash in those places.  That would imply that I’m adhering to spending limits set by the number of dead presidents and statesmen in my wallet.  In all reality, I should clarify that it’s usually dead presidents who occupy my wallet.  Pictures of the first and sixteenth come to mind.

Back in the 70’s error (I did that on purpose) when my age wasn’t weighted down by more than one digit,  the TharpSter Dad would drag me and my little brother off to Pay & Pak on occasion with the mission of obtaining some sort of gadget to complete whatever project he had going at the time which would further entrench him into the status of “Weekend Warrior”.

I hated it and so did my brother.

Just as a side note, you may have noticed my assault on good manners in my grammar when I made reference to my little brother.  Specifically, the offense was listing myself first.  About that, I will say this.

I was born first, and as such I’m the older brother.  That’s the way it is.

He won’t take too much offense to it, as he will be the first to tell you that he doesn’t read my blog or anything else.  It’s not that he can’t; he just chooses not to.  It’s such a passionate stand on his part that if this great country of ours ever undertakes an anti-literacy campaign, he’ll be the one holding the banner littered with subject verb disagreements, malaprops, and comma splices.

Pay & Pak was the one home improvement store we had access to in Casper, Wyoming during my formative years.  By the time Dad started patronizing them, they had taken up occupation in the old Woolco building.  Back then, we didn’t have places like Home Depot or Lowe’s.  The Casper economy was just not sufficient to support places like that.  Even if it had been, I doubt they would have survived back then.  I’ve got to think that hardware stores and the like were designed for those who knew what the hell they were doing in those days.

Nowadays, any idiot (such as myself) can watch something on cable or find a YouTube video to generate that wild hair of do-it-yourself confidence to build or fix just about anything.  Today’s home improvement centers exist in order to enable such short sighted behavior.  If a buck can be saved by refusing the training and experience of a professional, doing it yourself appears to be the way to go.  Home Depot and Lowe’s are there to nudge you further in your ignorance, and continue to exploit your Peter Principle as it applies to home improvement.

Of this, I speak with experience.  When I replaced my water heater two years ago, I made no less than 10 different trips to two different Home Depot stores over a two day period in order to procure the right tubing and fittings to insure the supply of hot water here in the compound wasn’t leaking into my bedroom.

Don’t laugh.  I did it for a third of the cost and I have hot water.  The only smell of gas outside of the closet where the heater is stored is typically emitted by my son or one of the dogs.

As much as I hated when Dad hauled me and my brother off to Pay & Pak when I was young, I now refer to those places as the Toy Store.  It was boring back then.  Tubing, fittings, joint compound, primer, horse power, grit and gauge were worthless terms to us which had nothing to do with more important matters like laying assault on the family’s border collie with our Evil Knievel toys.

Things have changed since then.  Namely, Evil Knievel and our border collie are no longer with us.  All of those little doo-dads, gizzies, and gadgets which used to drive me nuts with boredom make sense to me now.  At the same time, my own kids hate to go with me whenever I have a mission to fulfill.


“Yeah, Dad?”

“I’m going to the Toy Store.  Do you want to go?”

“Not this time Dad.  Ask me later on today when you have to go back.”

Here at TharpSter.Org, a trip to the home improvement center isn’t successful until you have to go back.

Speaking of going back, it looks like I’ll need to do exactly that.

As you can see in the picture, the windows here at TharpSter.Org are littered with blinds.  I hate them.  Most necessary evils are meant to be hated.

Based on what I’ve been able to gather from Faith, the TharpSter TreadMill, the blinds provide no real appeal (aesthetic or palatable) to high strung Labrador-Jack Russell mixes who thrive on separation anxiety.

Look a little closer at one of those sets of blinds.  Notice how the strings just hang off of it and it has no bottom liner?

I had to cut the bottom portion off because it no longer maintained a parallel mentality with the rest of the blinds.

Such an assault to geometry can be attributed to Faith this last week for no apparent reason outside of the fact that when we left the house, we let her roam outside of her kennel.  She had free reign of the house that day to where she could have played Guitar Hero, or just kicked it on the couch.

Instead, she chose to jack with our “window treatments”.  She’s done it before, she’ll do it again.

It’s not like she was beset with a siege of Evil Knievel toys.

Now, I get to go back to the Toy Store in order to procure a replacement set.  The one benefit is that they have a wide variety of brands which range in price from “cheap enough to pay out of my wallet” to “There’s no way I’m going to pay that much for that thing, only to have the dog destroy it.”  Naturally I go with the ugly, low end blinds.

Even still, I pay with the debit card.

Randy Tharp

TharpSter is a husband to one woman, a father to two kids, a master to two dogs, an occasional cubical occupant, and unable to make up his mind on an adequate theme for this website.

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