Hammer Me, Baby!byAmerican_Knowbody©
My buddy, Khai, the full time surfer and part time dentist, called me the other day. "Hey, man. How's it goin'?" he said when I answered the phone. "Haven't heard from you in a while. Was beginning to think something had happened to you."
"Yeah, I guess you could say something happened alright. I remodeled my home."
"What?! You're kidding, right?"
"Nope. Afraid not."
There was a pause. "Dude! What the fuck made you do that?"
It was a good question. Why did I decide to remodel my home? What latent sadomasochistic tendencies drove me to abandon reason, common sense and financial liquidity? What twisted government conspiracy had tainted my water with mind altering drugs causing me to make so many trips to the hardware store that I could cash in my credit card reward points for a round-trip tick to the International Space Station?
I mean, come on! I survived without a refrigerator for the first nine months I lived in the damn place. I can go weeks at a time without turning on the stove or dishwasher. Seriously. And until now the closest I ever got to redecorating was changing the background image on my computer screen.
So why all of a sudden did thoughts of stainless steel appliances, glass top vanities and recessed lighting fill my mind? How did the choice between Dove Feather white and Aspen Powder white become so monumental that it required more input from friends and family than the decision to buy the house in the first place? And the toilets! The toilets! What sick force of nature pushes a man to spend endless hours searching for the perfect commode as if it were some sort of porcelain grail?
The answer, of course, is sex.
At some point in life home remodeling replaces thick hair, ripped muscles and fast cars as the number one mating call of man. It becomes, in short, suburban foreplay. In the absence of hair and in the presence of love handles remodeling becomes the means by which men can express to their mates their desire and suitability to do the nasty.
"Look at me!," says the hammer swinging, paint brush stroking, checkbook wielding remodeler. "I am strong in credit rating and virile in home equity. Let's get it on!"
Of course, men wouldn't be rushing to learn the finer points of spackling unless the effect that remodeling has on women was undeniable. There is something about hearing a man discuss the merits of crown molding or seeing him hang a ceiling fan that causes a woman to swoon. I have even heard stories told in the seedier corners of the plumbing supplies aisle of women bursting into spontaneous orgasm while watching granite countertops being installed.
I, myself, have witnessed the aphrodisiacal affect of remodeling first hand. With my girlfriend, Samantha, it seemed that during the entire remodeling process even the most innocent and tedious of tasks could suddenly erupt into sexual serendipity.
"You know, Hon," I began one evening as we were halfway done flipping through a small mountain of wallpaper sample books. "I've changed my mind. Let's go with that Georgia O'Keeffe floral pattern you like so much for the master bath."
Her eyes lit up. "Really? You mean it?"
For a moment her eyes gazed at me with deep affection. The next moment they devoured me with a look of pure lust as her face turned flush and a dangerous smile crossed her lips. With a purr she moved to straddle my lap and laid a toe curling kiss on me. "I want you. Now!"
Suddenly the crippling second mortgage I had taken out seemed totally worth it. I picked her up in my arms as her legs wrapped themselves seductively around me, and made for the bedroom as her lips danced across my neck to my ear.
"Bring the samples," she whispered breathlessly.
What a wild night of kinky, postmodernist sex that was! I'm not sure, but I think at one crucial point I actually yelled out, "Who's your interior decorator, baby! Who's your interior decorator!" Enough said.
Of course, remodeling isn't all window treatments and bondage. It has its darker side as well.
Men are by nature competitive. It is both our gift and our curse that we can make a competition out of anything. Drinking? Done. Pissing? Done. Seeing who's made the most trips to the emergency room for injuries sustained while performing a dare? Done and done. No surprise, then, that remodeling projects can quickly become battles of manhood pitting neighbor against neighbor, friend against friend, fool against fool.
Not two weeks after I started my remodeling project, my neighbor, John F. Bastard (not his real name), started his own remodeling project. It was obvious straight away that the only reason he was doing it was to upstage me and take away my newly found remodeling mojo.
"Did you see the size of John's hammer?" Samantha said walking through the front door. "That thing is huge!"
The Master Carpenter 1000 Titanium Edition. Oversized titanium head with SweetSpot(tm) technology, counter balanced carbon fiber handle with bullet proof Kevlar wrap and optional Bluetooth-enabled MP3 player. Yeah. I had seen it.
"Hey! It's not the size of the hammer but how you swing it that counts," I retorted.
"Awww, does someone have tool envy?" she teased, pulling me close. "You know I love your hammer, baby. And I love the way you swing it. In fact, I got something you can nail right now ..."
Samantha's hammer-loving ways not withstanding, John had laid down the remodeling gauntlet and I fully intended on picking it up and bitch slapping him with it. The ensuing war was fast, fierce and color coordinated. It was also expensive. Very, very expensive. If I put in recessed lights, he put in recessed lights with motion sensors. If he put in a bidet, I put in a bidet that could tell you if your fiber intake was too low.
The knockout punch came in the final stages of our respective kitchen remodeling jobs. Having secured the favor of an inside informant—specifically his talkative 8 year old son with a penchant for ice cream—I had learned that John intended to install countertops made from granite quarried in the most remote mountains of China where it had been cut by eunuch monks and hand-polished by vestal virgins.
"That bastard!" I fumed, banging my fist on the checkout counter. "How am I supposed to top that, Duke?"
Duke, as a point of clarification, is the owner and namesake of Duke's Hardware & Plumbing Supplies. It isn't the biggest hardware store around, but what it lacks in selection is more than made up for by Duke's sensei-like knowledge of all things remodeling.
"Oh," started Duke, who started a lot of sentences that way, "I might have an idea or two."
"Really? Like what?" I asked with guarded hope knowing that Duke could have a somewhat cruel sense of humor at times.
He leaned forward and whispered his idea.
My eyes grew wide. "No way! Are you serious? I thought that stuff was illegal?"
"Oh, I have a few connections to the remodeling underground."
The element of nefarious danger only served to heighten my interest. No telling how kinky Samantha was going to get when she heard about this!
"How much is it going to cost?"
"A fair bit."
In Duke speak a 'fair bit' meant that I could kiss off buying a new car anytime this decade. Still I didn't even hesitate. There was no way John F. Bastard could beat me with this.
"Okay. Let's do it."
While Duke's friend, Lenny "The Contractor", made it clear I am not to discuss the details of my latest remodeling addition, suffice it to say I won. The victory was so crushing, in fact, that John almost had a nervous breakdown and had to be placed on antidepressants. You can't put a price tag on results like that!
The best part is Samantha and I continue to reap the rewards of our efforts as I had the good sense to record the whole project from demolition to unveiling. Now when the lights are low and we're snuggled on the couch for a night in, all I have to do is start up the video and play the part where the granite countertops are being installed and next thing you know it's, "Who's your interior decorator, baby! Who's your interior decorator!"