The name of the game

If your husband came home and said, “Honey, I have a surprise for you,” what would you expect to find in the hand hidden behind his back? Flowers, chocolates, tickets to Cancun, a diamond ring?
How about a Standard screwdriver?
Would you be tickled or ticked with that? I expect I have little company when I say I’d be tickled, right?
That’s what happens to you when you move to the country, I guess. Life gets peculiar. Or maybe it’s because I’m strong-willed and just can’t wait for my husband to fix things—and he knows it.
Nonetheless, I’m quite content to be the wife of a man who knows how to please me with a tool.
Just the other day, he came home from a trip to town and uttered those words I long to hear: “I was thinking of you, honey, and bought you something.”
I put out my hand, pruned by the dishwater, and in it he dropped a brand new blue-handled, carbon-tipped, flat-end screwdriver. A big smile curved my lips.
“I love it—thanks, dear!” I said.
“Hey, how many wives do you think would be happy to get something like this?” I queried of the man.
“Only the ones who never get anything else,” he replied.
We both laughed, and off I went to squirrel the screwdriver away in one of the many tool cribs I have stashed around the house.
Meet the tool queen. I have at my disposal, in all corners of the house, nests of tools to rival the collection of any would-be handywoman.
My primary toolbox lies beyond the Tuscan room in my ensuite bathroom. It’s namely the bathtub, which has yet to be hooked up, and it provides the perfect breeding ground for my store of tools that have anything to do with painting walls and headboards, and those needed for the 10 pieces of used furniture I intend to re-upholster some day.
Of course, this lovely bathroom has yet to see a finished wall, toilet, or sink, so anything I put in there is fairly safe from the wanderings of the male of the species who rarely goes looking for a house project to complete.
I have another nest of tools under the kitchen sink that includes my favourite hammer, a selection of “star” and “square” screwdrivers, all sizes of allen keys, and a baggy of finishing nails.
In the laundry room, I have a cardboard box of more goodies. In fact, I think there’s enough electrical tape in there to secure my teenager to a tree, plus four glass jars of assorted nuts and bolts, six pairs of work gloves, and an assortment of pliers for pulling bobby pins out of the small holes inside the washing machine.
But my most prized hideout is in the hall closet. My brother bought me a tool box one Christmas filled with bits of this and that from the tool aisle in the hardware store.
I’ve added to it over the years, and guarantee I would win at least two competitions with what’s inside. One for neatness and organization.
And if “Let’s Make A Deal” was still on the air, I’d have it made by being able to produce anything Monty Hall asked for, including gear oil, a penknife, wire cutters, clothes pins, loose change, and a stick of gum.
In fact, just the other day I won.
Peter had spent far too long searching for an expensive drill bit he’d left lying around a few weeks ago. It had been shuffled from the counter to the kitchen table, to the top of the fridge, to a coffee can that collects stray items near the front door.
Then, to his puzzlement, it had disappeared.
“If you can find that drill bit, I’ll take you out,” he said, clearly giving up in frustration. I skulked away to an undisclosed location and removed the drill bit from my toolbox.
(Only the ones who never get anything else rule the nest!)

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