Manly Men at the Man Store

My son and I recently took the manly pilgrimage to the Home Depot to pick up a few items for our new home. Now, I would like to start by saying I am no master craftsman. My home maintenance skills could be described as basic at best. Most of my projects end with language not suitable for a three-year-old audience and a call to a professional to fix what I have done.Thankfully when you walk into a hardware store that doesn’t matter. Nobody in the store knows that including your son, who still thinks you’re the best at everything.

When I initially asked my son if he wanted to go to the store with me I jokingly referred to it as the “man store.” I can hardly imagine the images flashing through a three-year-old’s head when presented with the idea of a man store. And sure enough as we turned into the parking lot I looked into the rear view mirror and saw a look of confusion come over his face. He scanned the parking lot and stated, “I thought this was the man store, I can see girls.” I had to explain to him that I was just joking, and that girls and boys could shop here.

We decided to leave the cart behind and walk in man and little man. The doors parted before us and we stood in awe of the open space, bright lights, and endless towers of shelves filled with everything you could think of. It reminds me of walking through the tunnel and out into the stands of a baseball stadium, its overwhelming size and the feeling of excitement and possibility. As we moved forward, heads up and eyes wide, we were instantly pulled in every direction. There were grills in front of us, maybe they are on sale. To my left I see snow blowers and it is almost the season. To my right I see the power-tools, lumber and hardware. The possibilities really are endless, a man’s (or woman’s) wonderland.

We stick to the plan and move forward, looking for a face plate for a power outlet. Once located, we added it to our basket and moved on. We turned the corner and a light shone directly on the shelf which housed shovels and other snow removal products. The first in the row was a child-sized, extendable, deep blue shovel that if I didn’t know better was designed just for my son. I had to hold back the desire for the “Boss” shovel that stood like a giant next to the small blue one. But that was for a different day; we grabbed his and continued on. (That day did come, eventually)

We spent the next 20 minutes just walking the aisles, talking about what was in each one. He had the questions and I had the answers — or I made them up. We waited in line, paid, walked out, loaded the car and started our drive home. We were returning as champions with our spoils. We would use our new purchases to create, repair, and build. We went to the store to simply buy a product, a very practical need, but in the process we will spend time together, teaching and learning from each other. This is perhaps the real magic that came from our trip to the man store.