My husband loves duct tape. And not just in the plain old “I love duct tape because it is so handy” sense. He loves it as in, “I would have sex with this duct tape if the cardboard tube weren’t so scratchy around the edges.” His belief in the power of duct tape is unflagging. I have seen so much duct tape used over the years, since we have been married, that I scarce believe that there is another way that duct tape can be put to use. And, yes, I know about the Apollo space mission.
My husband and I live in one of those snotty neighborhoods that has a Homeowner’s Association that dictates that you cannot keep cars in your driveway instead of in your garage, and you can only put up white lights at Christmas. How I managed to move into one of those neighborhoods, I don’t know. I blame it on the house. The house was love at first sight. Both my husband and I loved this house over all the other houses that we looked at, in all the different neighborhoods. This house is COOL. I’ve never seen another with a floor plan like it. It has three stories, with a spiral staircase in the middle of the house that goes to all the floors. I wish it had an elevator. There are all kinds of little nooks and crannies, and tray ceilings, and transom windows, and just neat stuff.
The problem is, this house is a MONEY PIT. Immediately after we moved in, we discovered that somehow the previous owners had concealed a major roof leak from the inspector. I suspect they paid him off, after we discovered the buckets hidden in the attic. Then we discovered that the back porch (second floor widow’s walk) was sliding off the back of the house. If he could have reattached it with duct tape, I think he would have. That was thirty thousand dollars to fix and it was fixed while I was home nursing our daughter, so I was constantly hiding my boobies from the contractors milling around on the back of the house.
Mired in frustration, my husband did the only thing he could do when the house started falling apart – he broke out the duct tape. When we discovered that the dimensions of our wood-burning fireplace were incorrect, and the chimney didn’t draw but send smoke boiling throughout our house, he rigged up a hood out of aluminum foil and yup, you guessed it, duct tape. I admit, the chimney started to draw, but it looked like SHIT. I am one of these “form above all” kind of aesthetic types, and my husband is of the “who cares if it looks like shit if it works” school. I was utterly depressed by the fact that the duct tape was melting onto the mantle and leaving indelible brown adhesive stains. My husband was completely unperturbed.
When the drains off the eaves on the side of the house fell off, and failed to drain properly even before they fell off, my husband broke out the duct tape. He went to Home Despot (a deliberate typo) and bought these gawd-awful black dryer duct-looking pleated tubes, duct taped them to the side of the house, and trailed them across the side of the yard so they would drain away from the house. Again, the damn things worked, but our whole house looked like shit. You could see the duct tape and the black accordion tube-thingies from the road – they were HUGE. Our house looked like a giant bouncy castle with the air inflation tubes coming out the sides. And not in a good way.
When he decided to duct tape over the drain in the mud room, I lost it. I exploded. “You are turning this house into a giant trailer! I do not want to see any more duct tape on anything! ANYTHING! Do you hear me??” I may have mentioned divorce. My husband must have been truly alarmed by the vehemence with which I made this statement, because he has not used it to put together anything visible since. I think I broke his heart.
The sad thing is, I actually feel guilty now. I took his duct tape away from him. I think we went through a period where we actually had none in the house, although I think perhaps he hid it in the garage with the porn. Afterwards, I bought him a little sign that had some cute phrase about duct tape on it, and he looked at it sadly. I bought him a book on Duct-Tape-Agami, which shows you how to make anything from a wallet to a cooking apron out of duct tape. He put it away. I think I even bought him some camouflaged duct tape as a sort of peace gesture.
We are just now again able to speak again of duct tape. While he was cleaning out his office today, he found the duct tape sign and the Duct-Tape-Agami book and we were actually able to smile about them. I am glad he is regaining his sense of humor about his duct tape, because I actually miss his creativity with it. However, I do NOT miss the look of his cleverly rigged repairs. I’m delighted that I’ve finally convinced him of the use of the contractor in doing repairs, so that the work is actually done right. The problem is, I’m pretty sure the contractors use duct tape too.