I shop at a lot of hardware stores. Home Depot, Menards, Lowes, Ace Hardware. I worked for Ace Hardware Corporation for 16 years. Kind of know the territory. Usually know what I want, where it is, how it works. I might not know specifically what it’s called, but I know what I want. I carry a tape measure with me at all times. Get the picture? Kind of comfortable around tools.
The nearest big box hardware store to Tír na nÓg is in Morris, Illinois, which is about ten miles away. I don’t go to the store without carefully thinking about what I need because I don’t want to go back again. Basically, I’m on a mission, and I have a list.
This particular foray required the purchase of foam insulation for the outside air conditioner tubing. Please note – the outside, central air conditioner unit. Not the window air conditioner…The outside central air conditioner. The big-ass fan thing that sits on the patio. (I’m not always good with the names of these things.) This insulation is basically a foam sleeve that fits around tubing or piping. It really is pretty common.
I visited my local Home Depot, and the sales rep led me straight to the foam insulation that is used for window air conditioners. No dice. Totally useless. He had no idea what I was talking about, and I got the look. I really hate that look. Obviously, he didn’t see my tape measure.
So I thought that maybe I would have better luck at the Menards in Morris. The first thing I noticed when I pulled up to Morris’ Menards were the camo hunting towers displayed in the parking lot. We’re not in Lombard anymore, Toto. This population takes hunting seriously. Very seriously. I knew I was in for more looks. So with tape measure clearly and confidently displayed, I sallied forth into an unknown Menards that served a very different population than I am accustomed to dealing with. (This Menards sells hunting equipment!)
A sales rep asked if I needed help. I described what I wanted. He took me to the window-air conditioner insulation stuff which is totally useless for my project. Just like the guy at Home Depot, and I got the look. Obviously he didn’t see my tape measure. I thanked him and started wandering around.
I decided that the aisle where pvc pipe is sold might be a place to start. Maybe someone over there would know what I was talking about. Guess what? I found someone who knew what I was talking about! He didn’t give me the look. He even told me he couldn’t understand why it was so difficult to understand what this kind of insulation is, and that many of his colleagues don’t know that it exists. Oh…and this kind of insulation has a name. And the name is FOAM PIPE INSULATION!!!! A NEW VOCABULARY WORD!!!
I wonder if he saw my tape measure.