Why is the Government in my Shower?

I told my daughter to wash the dogs and she lifted a headphone long enough to say it was too cold. This is one of a litany of ridiculous excuses, but I let her get away with it until the dogs smelled so bad I could pinpoint their location when I pulled into the driveway. At that point, something had to give. “This is Georgia”, I ranted. “It’s a mild fall! They have fur to keep them warm!”

Unconvinced, my animal rights advocate negotiated the use of my shower for the canines. They got washed and I got a nice slugtrail of dog water from the bathroom to the porch. Great.

After she emerged, she had the audacity to question the water pressure in my shower. I told her it was weak because that’s where the government lives. Her eyes grew wide for just a second while she considered the implications. But as with most things I tell her, she quickly sized it up to poppycock and trudged off to interact with actual intelligence of the electronic variety. She didn’t believe the old man, but it is true.

Like mold growing over cheese in the back corner of the fridge, the government is no longer content with mattress legislation and has steadily crept into our collective bathroom. I’ve already had a fight with them over the anti-scald valve – a fight I am proud to say I won. A snip here and a tug there and I bypassed their foolish legislation so that my wife can enjoy a steamy winter shower to her heart’s content. For at least that day, I was her knight in dripping armor. But now they have forced shower head manufacturers to reduce the flow of water in my shower to a measly 2.5 gallon per minute trickle! Is nothing sacred? I’m past fifty now, I know all about reduced flow but there are some things that can be helped.

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This is the same government that finally heeded the request of veterans to issue ID cards. Yes, rather than carry your DD-214 in your wallet (which bears your social security number), congress forced the VA to create a better identification system in 2015. That was two years ago. The government has all of my information and issues ID’s for everything, but it took over two years for them to create the framework. I want my discount at Denny’s without opening myself up to identity theft!

The mandated deadline for creating the process was November 2017. On the last day of the month, the system opened… and promptly crashed. It is dead as a doornail. I assume it will take another two years to fix it. After all, they are too busy tinkering with my shower.

This discontented and unidentified veteran has a wrench. I took the nozzle off and found it clogged with calcium deposits. A quick internet search led me to a baking soda/vinegar concoction that didn’t work. A second search told me about water pressure restrictors. I don’t like restrictions! Why is the government obsessed with my shower?

All it took was needle-nose plyers to remove the governmental interference and the first test blew out enough calcium to meet the National Institute of Health’s yearly requirement for a lactating woman. It’s like standing under a pressure-washer. This morning I lost three freckles and part of a tattoo, but it was totally worth the price to live free from government tyranny.

If I could only get 25% off a Grand Slam breakfast, I would be swimming in liberty.

Dear Lou,

Dear Lou,

You don’t know me. You might recognize my face because you’ve been helping me fix stuff for probably a decade. I figure we have an open relationship; you help other customers, I ask for guidance from other orange aprons. To you, I’m probably another face in a sea of customers and I get that. After all, you see a lot of people in a day.

Despite what sounds like a full-on Yankee accent, you are awfully good at making me feel welcome. You also don’t make me feel stupid when I come in grimy from whatever I’m fixing – even though you know I broke it despite my lies to the contrary. I appreciate that.

I doubt you’ve noticed, but lately when I see you across the store, I almost always duck down an aisle. It’s nothing personal. We’re still on good terms, you and me. You have no way of knowing what happens in my life when I leave Home Depot #6978. Although I’ve managed to keep my home and yard in a relatively good state of repair, my life’s been more of a challenge to fix. You might point me to adhesives in aisle five, but they haven’t made one strong enough yet.

IMG_1883When my youngest daughter, Kylie, was little, I called her Dr. Stoopandfetch because she loved to be my helper. She also loved to come to your store with me. One Saturday, we were walking through and heard hammering that piqued our curiosity. We followed the sound to the lumber section where you were instructing kids on building birdhouses. Because every space was full, we were about to leave… until you saw us.

You approached her and said that there might be one more kit if Kylie wanted join the group. It was as if you’d been keeping one in reserve, just in case. You dug it out, found a spot, and caught her up to speed. Kylie had a ball. She was so proud of that little birdhouse because she made it herself. I wish I had taken a picture of her with it. I wish I could show you her smile. But I didn’t know then just how precious the memory would be.

That’s the problem with life. When we’re living the good times, we have no way of knowing that they might actually be the best times and their supply may be finite. If only we had the foresight to see those times as they truly are… to place the appropriate value on the moments that matter and squander nothing.

We lost Kylie to cancer two years ago. My supply of memories is limited to the twelve years she lived: the best of times. Those memories are little nuggets that keep her with me – trips to the zoo, wrestling matches in the den, songs sung at inappropriate levels, and a surprise Saturday morning birdhouse class.

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Her apron hangs on a nail beside mine. Every time I see it, it reminds me of running errands to Home Depot and that day when there wasn’t room for her… until you made a place. You fabricated that memory out of some pine, a little glue, and kindness. Thank you for that.



That’s why I dodge you sometimes. Because when I see you, I remember. And while it is a good memory, it hurts a little too. I don’t think I could express just how much it means without a disintegrating into a blubbering mess. I’m guessing they discourage that kind of thing at the Home Depot. But hey, at least aisle three has plenty of mops and paper towels to wipe it up.

Thanks for that memory,