Under pressure

If my wife’s to-do list was somebody’s face, I’d be awaiting a bond hearing right now, because I beat the hell out of that thing in the past ten days. I put down an epoxy floor in the garage, painted all the walls, put up two brand new shelving units, and turned the two-car space into something out of NASCAR. My wife can actually park her car in there for the first time ever.

I put in bathroom fixtures. I changed a light fixture. I caulked, painted, and cleaned. I installed a motion-sensing security light outside. I put up window treatments on seven windows, for the love of all that’s holy. I even spent some time in the attic. In short, for an ever-so-brief week and a half, I was a man. It’s such a rare occurence, it’s worth pointing out.

Today saw me with the honey-do list basically empty. I’m sure if I’d asked my wife if she wanted me to do something, she would have invented a project that involved turning the utility closet into a space shuttle launch pad. Rather than ask, I just said I was going to do some cleaning outside.

If you are not a suburban homeowner, you won’t understand what I’m about to say. That’s okay. We can co-exist in a fashion that lets me continue to be emasculated and you a hipster city-dweller who has sex with supermodels and girls in horn-rimmed glasses.

There is nothing more special to a suburban man than his pressure washer. Let me tell you why.

It looks like a gun. The Second Amendment means we suburban men may keep guns in our home. Even if we wanted to, however, our wives won’t let us. I’ve always believed it’s because my wife fears she may accidentally shoot me in a fit of “wanting to.” So, no guns for us. The pressure washer is the adult version of a Super Soaker. What’s more, it will cut right the hell through a variety of solid objects and has a bit of a kick. If the wives won’t let us roll strapped, we can at least strafe the hell out of the squirrels in the sweet gum tree.

It’s phallic. Some men have their Porsches. Other men have their $30,000 watches. Middle class suburban men have pressure washers to battle their small-junk syndrome. If your driveway is sufficiently dirty, you can actually write your name on it with your pressure washer (and not just the first three letters, like usual…BRA). At more than two feet long, my wand can shoot a stream forty yards on a rope. Yet another reason it’s a good thing my wife doesn’t have access to firearms.

There is the potential for injury. There is a select group of suburban warriors who are actually good with saws and nails and stuff. Most of us, however, stand a greater chance of cutting the wheels off our cars than sawing in a straight line. Left wth that knowledge and further emasucation of being afraid of a bandsaw, we look to other power tools that can hurt us. The pressure washer is one of those things. Chances are, nobody is going to die, but at the right distance, a pressure washer can sting like a mother trucker. I’m just sayin’ , it’s not a good idea to pressure wash the driveway in loose-fitting shorts. Just sayin’.

Results. I love my wife. More than anything. More than my pressure washer. However, she can work on a home improvement project for four hours and I can’t tell that anything has been done. She says it’s because she is working meticulously and with a specific goal in mind. It makes her happy, but it makes me want to put my mouth around the business end of my pressure washer. I, a sometimes man, need results. The pressure washer provides. One pull of the trigger, and a black, moldy row of bricks becomes bright red. A sediment-ridden sidewalk turns sun-reflecting white. It’s immediate gratification such that when I do it, I immediately want a bottle of Gatorade and then a short nap.

Today, I spent two hours with my pressure washer. My hand actually hurts from using it for so long. When I was done with the cleaning project, I was actually a little sad. I walked around looking for other things to wash. I considered going over to the neighbor-lady’s house and asking if she wanted me to wash her driveway. Then I remembered she had borrowed my chainsaw to take out a bush. Last thing I wanted was her gunning up the chainsaw while I made things sparkley. I can only handle so much emasculation.

I took some extra time wrapping up the cords and disassembling the washer’s wand. I put it in the back corner of the garage in its special place. Much like the other important things in my life, I don’t get to use it very often, but when I do, it’s always special.

Brad Willis

Brad Willis is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Willis spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist. He has worked as a freelance writer, columnist, and professional blogger since 2005. He has also served as a commentator and guest on a wide variety of television, radio, and internet shows.

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7 Responses

  1. BJ Nemeth says:

    All of this, and you cut your finger while chopping ginger?!?

  2. Mean Gene says:

    I miss my pressure washer. I’m not sure if it’s at my parents or if my ex-wife has it. Good times.

  3. MGM says:

    Hmmm…I thought you were the guy who lacked in the “handyman” area. This is how you typically describe yourself, anyway. So, regardless of the size of your pressure wand, I’m impressed.

    There’s something about revving up chainsaws and big ass lawnmowers and heavy equipment that thrills me. We’re due for some power washing as well. I’ll prolly be fighting with the husband over who gets to do the job.

  4. Dr. Chako says:

    I just did the same thing, but I rented my heavy-duty pressure washer from the local Rent-All center. I admit I did the Tim Allen grunt a few times, and the dog won’t go near me anymore.

    It’s what being a man is all about.

    Now you’ll have to excuse me. The Wife reads your blog and will expect me to start knocking off her honey-do list, thankyouverymuch.

    Where’s that damn Rent-All center…

    -DrC

  5. Falstaff says:

    After I get the new windows installed, feel free to come up and pressure wash my siding.

  6. Da Goddess says:

    While the various buildings that make up our apartment complex could all use a nice power wash, California has pretty much put the kibosh on anything involving water that isn’t absolutely necessary. Sad, but true.

    Maybe you could hang out at a local car wash and offer your services there. I bet anything you’d be snapped up in an instant.

    As for your wife’s attention to detail, it’s a chick thing. I just spent 8 hours editing photos and have barely made a dent in my collection. I’m getting there. Just slowly. And mostly happily.

  7. Buckeyetimmy says:

    Dude. DUDE! Welcome back. We missed you. Glad to see that you picked up a few skills along the way.

    Uh…would you happen to know how to frame an addition using a block wall as your base?

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