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Brenda has been writing since grade school. She attended journalism school where she majored in professional writing. She loves to decorate, garden, read and spend time with her Yorkies.

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Who Knew There Were So Many Screws In Lowes?

Yesterday I went to Lowes before my mammogram. 

Well, before that I went to the vet to get the dogs their food, to be precise. (I tend to like to be precise.) Their delicate tummies can't eat anything else. 

At Lowes I stood on the aisle that had hinges on it. The sideboard I've painted (yes, I let that slip didn't I?) was pretty beat up. The screws fairly fell out of the doors.

My first thought was to simply not put the doors back on. And that may happen if what I got today doesn't work. But I thought surely I could find a couple of hinges with appropriate screws.

No dice. They don't make these hinges anymore. Well, of course not. Corporations don't want you to be able to replace things. They want you to just chuck whatever it is and buy all new things. 

Just fill up that landfill and keep right on chucking.

That wasn't going to happen. I hauled this sideboard all the way from Tyler, Texas. Then again across town. 

I got a wild hair a year or so ago and painted the red sideboard bright orange. Many of you will remember that. And probably sigh at my unfortunate decision to paint over the red. 

I think I've sighed quite a few times over it myself.

It was a temporary wild hair when I suddenly became enamored of the bohemian style. 

It was short-lived. 

Anyway, back to the hinges and screws. (Told you my life isn't the least bit exciting.)

I asked a man in Lowes to help me. He wasn't much help a'tall, as my granny would have said. 

So I see an older man (father) and younger man with him (son) just down the aisle about ten feet, and I approach them.

Then I had three men looking for screws that would work with the hinges I already had. 

I had no idea (none a'tall) that it would be so darned hard to buy screws. I guess I thought they had bins and you just found the size you needed and put them in a little sack and bought them that way.

Like we did penny candy. Does anyone remember penny candy?

No, corporate America would not stand for that. You must buy them in odd-numbered packets (5) and then of course you have to buy more than you need to get the appropriate amount. 

Like I need more screws. (I hope that didn't sound distasteful. I didn't mean it to (a'tall).

Either there were screws that were too short. Or too long. Or they had weird heads. Who knew there were so many kinds of screws? 

I said, "Don't they just make regular old flat-head screws like I took off of this thing?"

Well, no one could say. Why do these things have to be so difficult?

At that point my ankle is hurting and I sit on whatever is handy and let the three men (Lowes employee and father and son) hash it out. 

Finally got that squared away. I can't recall which kind of heads they unanimously agreed on. And I haven't checked to see if they will work or not. Crossing my fingers. 

Because I simply don't think I can go back in there and stare at hundreds of different packets of screws. None of which appear to have a flat head like the ones I took off. 

I head across town for my mammogram. 

There was a real character in there. Think he was having something done due to his diabetes. He was not much older than I am. I know because he said. 

He had this weird beard that went halfway down his chest and was sort of tied or twisted or something. I didn't want to stare at him too long to figure out the strange configuration of his beard. I just know you could barely see his mouth.

The lady next to me was fool enough to encourage him and he told all of us women sitting there about his rich uncle who had taken him to Vietnam and all over the world. 

Said he was a traveling man. Didn't like to stay put.

Then he told us all about how he lived for four years on a boat tied up to some marina. Then went on to say that when one decides he no longer wants to live on the boat, that they haul it off somewhere and sell it for more money. 

And then someone else gets to sit in the sun in the mornings with their coffee and watch the geese just like he did. 

He was the security man for this lake, he said, which I guess paid for his monthly house boat fee. 

Had a real deep gravelly voice. Mentioned that diabetes took half of one foot. And then explained exactly where your pancreas, kidneys and liver are. And which would probably be the one to go out first.

My name is finally called. The strange character has gotten whatever he needed done and is long gone.

Then I head for the grocery store. Because you know I'm going to try and get everything done in one fell swoop so I don't have to go back out into traffic any time soon. 

I went all over this store because it wasn't my usual Reasor's grocery store, but it was on the way home from where I was.  

Darned if I didn't have to go from one end to the other and then do it again to find what I needed. I think I may have passed myself a couple of times. (My feeble attempt at a joke.)

I got the fixings for a meat loaf, and I hope I can either figure out how to cook it in the Breville or the crock pot. 

Oh, someone asked how I'm liking my Breville after almost two and a half years. And it's still doing its job, I'm happy to report. And I use it most every day.

Then I had to pick out a birthday card for my daughter. And it was over near the pharmacy. 

I had read online that you can clean your computer screen with half distilled water and half alcohol. 

That stuff you buy to clean them is quite expensive. So I'm making my own. You mix it in a spray bottle. I'll let you know how well it cleans. 

My eyes just wouldn't land on the alcohol, so I asked the pharmacist. Well heavens to Pete, he comes around and says they aren't selling it yet. 

I have no earthly idea what he's talking about. And I can see from looking at his face that I have managed to miss something. 

Well, he was waiting for me to figure it out and get the joke. Which you know I won't ever get even if I stand there till the cows come home.

Finally he looks rather earnest and explains about this bill that was on the ballot about wine going into the stores. I don't know which way the wind blew on that because I don't drink and furthermore don't care. 

"Oh, it was a joke!" he says.

Socializing with people I don't know is hard enough (and even with people I do know), but when they start out with a joke, I just want to go home and pull the covers over my head. 

Maybe I should wear a sign around my neck that says I do not get jokes. So please spare us both and don't bother to test those waters.

I won't know the punch line. Ever. I will stand there and stare at you because I am clueless. 

If I ever meet any of you in person, please do not tell me a joke. 

Other than telling me a joke, I'd love to meet any of you. I wouldn't mind that a'tall. Surely there is someone out there who remembers some relative that said this.

I promise it isn't a joke.
Brenda Pruitt
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  1. Before I try and replace vintage or specialty screws that no longer hold tight, I try this little trick.

    Dip the tips of some toothpicks in glue and jam them into the screw hole tightly. Break off the excess toothpick close to the cabinet surface. Once dry, the toothpicks give added traction to the original screws in the original holes.

    Hopes this keeps you from having to repeat the dreaded screw aisle visit!

    1. Well, that sounds mighty smart! I'm surprised I didn't run across this trick on Pinterest at some point. Thank you!

  2. if its a large screw you can break off a match, larger yet a golf tee, works everytime. you dont have to fuss a lot. just jam whatever you use in the hole. put the screw in. ta da. I would omit the glue.

    1. Thanks for the tip! My first husband had a ton of golf things...

  3. My grandpap used to say a'tall and arse for a--. Funny little man. Miss him

    1. I had forgotten all about a'tall. And then it just came to me as I was writing this. You know what they say about not remembering what you ate yesterday, but memories come up from long ago.

  4. Well some people who feel the need to tell jokes right off the bat can't tell a good joke either! I've been caught a time or two by someone who wants to tell a stupid joke that I either don't get or don't think it's funny and all I want to do is go home!

    I would definitely try that trick that Lisa shared first! Can't wait to see your finished sideboard :o)


    1. I've got two pieces of furniture painted. Just got to let that paint dry good.

  5. Oh my since I use to buy all those screws I do know what you mean. If you have an Ace Hardware in your area, you can still buy just one screw at a time, so you might check that out next time, and yes the above toothpick trick does work.

    1. Shoot. I have one right around the corner. Should have gone there.

  6. Ha Ha! Don't feel bad Brenda, I also have had my experience with screws and I do miss the days when you simply looked through bins to find the one type you needed and you could only purchase one if that was all you needed.

    And I also do not understand jokes usually. I hate how they have to be explained to me, it is painful for both of us.

    1. And think of all the little plastic packages that wouldn't need to be made and used?

  7. Thanks for the memory trip. Yes, a'tall was used by several members of my family. Those were special days.

    1. Sometimes those old sayings just drift into my speech.

  8. Completely agree on the joke thing. I think I have a sense of humor, but sometimes jokes just go right over my head! Especially if they are "dumb" jokes. LOL

    Can't wait to see everything you've painted.

  9. Brenda, this post just made me smile. I was looking for something at Lowe's one day and there were so many types of screws, nails and items but not what I wanted! Geesh. Glad you got your mammo and your groceries done. Can't wait to see the new paint job! Hugs.

    1. Check in tomorrow! I'm disappointed with the sideboard...

  10. Well, whether you think you have a sense of humor or not---this post is just downright funny! Hysterical, really. From the bearded man to the joking pharmacist...funny. I am happy you got so much done in one day and I am a'prayin' that you didn't get screwed on the screws (little joke there-but I don't think I have to explain that one) Have a great day, Brenda. xo Diana

    1. I got screwed on the screws, Diana. Oh, I have a sense of humor for sure. I just don't get jokes.

  11. This post made me smile. After 3 trips to Menards in the last week to get electrical supplies for my hubby and standing in the aisle not having a clue about any of the stuff on my list, I can so relate to the screws story. I never knew there could be so many types of fittings, etc. Each time I've had to hunt down someone to help me.
    Did you get the meatloaf made yet? Hope it turned out good. Have a nice day and weekend!

    1. Guess I'll cook it in the crock pot tomorrow. Anyone ever done that?

  12. I am going to add to the "how to fix the screws you have" contributions. In a case where the screws are just a little loose, evidently not your case this time, I dip the screws in glue or even use a glue stick to spread glue around the screw area, then wind sewing thread around and around until I think it is thick enough, let it dry and screw it in. Enjoyed your post about what is going on in your life. Have you met the new handy man yet? Is he going to be helpful to you or not?

    1. Yes, I met him. All I know so far is that he sure can spit far.

  13. Brenda, I totally heart you, even for me, that I'm always getting myself into lots of woodworking projects, finding the right screw is sometimes quite an experience, so many choices! And yes, no jokes for me either!

    1. Well, the new screws were a total debacle...

  14. My sweet hubby used to have a saying something about a'tall man or a short man,lol
    Of course he had to do it in his imitation Irish brogue.
    My MIL was born in Ireland,my hubby was born in NYC.
    I miss them both.
    BTW,I don't get the screw situation either and have you seen the price of knobs?????
    A small independent hardware store probably still sells them loose by the pound...

    1. Yes, I had to get four knobs because what was on there completely fell apart. At least I only had to get four. They were under $3 each.

  15. Finding something at Lowe's in the hardware section is a nightmare. When I was growing up there was a little hardware at the end of our neighborhood which did have those bins with nails, screws, etc, for customers to fill in a little bag. Just like penny candy as you said. And, I do remember that too. My dad loved that little hardware and it stayed open till he passed away. I think ACE hardware still sells this way. The big guys have to make it difficult.
    I got a kick out of the man in the waiting room. These folks will talk forever if you encourage them, and I often tend to talk back with them as my friendly self. haha. He was probably very lonely and enjoyed the audience.
    Nice catching up with you this afternoon. Have a nice weekend.

    1. Well, where do retired men go if there aren't any old-fashioned hardware stores anymore? I thought that was where old men gathered to shoot the breeze.

  16. This post brought many smiles to my face and a couple of good guffaws! Yes the Ace Hardware and smaller hardware stores do still have the bins or little drawers of single screws. I always have to take one in with me to find a matching one, as there are so many different thread types, length, widths, heads, etc. What a nightmare! I love all the ideas for making a too small screw fit a too big hole.. will have to jot those down. I find that in Lowes or Home Depot, it is almost impossible to find just about anything.. I always have to ask someone and I love that you even had two guys helping who weren't employees of the store! Another tee hee.....

    1. The screws were a disaster. There weren't any flat heads, and so the ones I got didn't work quite right. Aside from breaking on me. Will tell about that tomorrow and show the furniture I painted.

  17. This is a funny post, Brenda. You might not get the punchline of a joke, but you still have the ability to laugh at yourself, and make your readers laugh too. Did you ever read anything by the late, great Erma Bombeck? She had a syndicated newspaper column from the late '60s into the '90s, and had some books too. She wrote about everyday events at her household and was very funny but could also be poignant, philosophical and a hell-raiser. You have a lot in common with her!

    Since I live in Kentucky, I certainly hear people say things like a'tall. Such as y'all! I love colloquial speech. Some of my favorites are "I reckon," and "I'm a'tellin' you." My son is engaged to a young woman from deep in eastern Kentucky, and she says something that you hear in states farther south, but not in central Kentucky where I live. It is, "I don't care to..." Such as, "I don't care to do those dishes." That actually means, "I don't mind doing those dishes." But it sounds like she's saying she doesn't want to do them when she says "I don't care to." Took me a while to catch on to that one!

    1. I LOVED Erma Bombeck, and I was so sad when she died. She was one of my heroes. I've never heard of the saying your son's fiance says. That's a new one to me. I don't know how many times I've said "I reckon." Lots.

  18. You are a funny lady who inspires me very often. I am sorry for your hard time with screws but it was a pleasure to read. Cannot wait for pic of finished piece.

  19. oh Brenda the TITLE just cracked me up before even reading the post. LOL I have wandered around in Lowes and Home Depot in the screws etc ailse in the past entirely befuddled so I knew this post was going to be hilarious and it was.

  20. My whole family said "a'tall" and sometimes pronounced it "A(long a)'tall." Of course, they were all from Alabama, so they may explain it. "I reckon" is used not only all over the South but in Australia, too, I discovered, as I have become addicted to Aussie TV. I certainly understand your frustration in the search for screws. They are also very poorly made now, in case you haven't noticed, breaking off every time you tighten them well.

  21. My husband is the ultimate Mr. Fix guy and I have literally spent hours with him the screw aisles at both Home Depot and Lowe's. I get it.

  22. Great story Brenda...also great replies to your comments..."All I know so far is that he sure can spit far" IT!

  23. You really have such a talent for writing, Brenda - only you can make a trip to Lowes make me laugh!! Even if you DON'T get jokes, you're very funny!!

  24. Is there an Ace Hardware near you? I think you might like shopping there. The staff is typically very knowledgeable and there's more of a "small town" atmosphere in their stores. And, they carry a lot of items that I've not found in Lowe's or Home Depot. Just a thought! :)


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