When I see hashtags, I think of home improvement. Maybe it’s because social media really took off the year that we worked on our new house. Suddenly # was no longer “the pound sign” on the landline phones of my youth (remember, I’m old). Instead, it became a marker that people used to look up conversations/ events on Twitter, or #CatsofInstagram.
Other people use hash tags to convey particular (usually snarky) emotions, or an action expressing disbelief. Like #facepalm, when reading any of Donald Trump’s tweets. About anything.
I found hashtags handy when hunting for window treatment ideas or paint colors.
Here my hashtags: #tiles #bathroomtiles #greytiles #pedestalsink #velvet #velvetcurtains #chandelier #chandeliersfromVienna
Here’s Andy’s: #poor
Sometimes, hashtags don’t help you find what you’re looking for. Like when your new garden is torn up repeatedly by squirrels, and you look up #squirrel and find pictures of the fattest squirrels on the planet. And you think you might recognize a few, posing with peanuts given to them by the sweet old lady down the block.
Peanuts that you keep finding buried WHERE YOUR UPROOTED FREESIA BULBS USED TO BE.
My gardening hashtags evolved: #freesia, #gladiola, #holes, #whatisdiggingholes #squirrelholes #squirrelseatpeaches #squirrelseateverything #hatesquirrels
Andy hated the squirrels even more than I did. His hashtag: #bowandarrow
Sadly, no #fatsquirrels were harmed in the making of this video.
We worked on home improvements for over a year. Our weekends of dancing became weekends of paint and polyurethane. We did most of it by ourselves. Which didn’t bother me until various sisters of mine started posting Facebook pictures showing their DIY kitchen remodels…with their in-laws as unpaid labor. No, worse than unpaid labor. Those in-laws paid for the privilege of helping; they flew all the way across the continent, Eastern Seaboard, or just drove 8 hours to spend their vacations putting in cabinets and counters.
“Must be nice,” I muttered.
Andy looked over my shoulder and agreed. “Yeah.”
“Your dad is a retired engineer. But your parents never offered—”
“Thank God! Remember, I learned how to be handy around the house by watching my dad do everything wrong.”
I sulked as I returned to paint brushes and turpentine.
Home improvement took forever. There were delays. Missing toilet tanks. Our new dog in our new paint. A trip across the country to help my very pregnant sister in-law when she broke her ankle. A detour to Colorado after that to say good-bye to my dying grandfather. A week re-sodding and landscaping the backyard after a resentful doggie digging spree during my extended absence. A cat in the paint. A rat in the garage eating the baseboards, despite all the so-called predators in my house. The dog in the paint AGAIN. Or maybe it was glue. Or cement. Or all of them.
But one day, the work was done. The new sod had taken hold in the backyard. A new fountain burbled in the new landscaping. We had a new bathroom. The dining room had its new chandelier and curtains. Three-fourths of the house had new paint and matching refinished furniture.
I had lower back spasms on a regular basis. #advil
Andy had torn a meniscus in one knee. #surgeryawaits
We sat on a new swing (with a multitude of icepacks) and watched our dogs wrestle in the backyard.
I asked, “What are the travel plan this year? I saw my family already. Do you…want to see your parents? I know we have no money, but we might be able to use miles.”
Andy said, “Oh, um, no. No need to visit them.”
The sky got a little bluer. A bird sang above the fountain. I wouldn’t have to plan another trip. We could enjoy our new place for a while. Just the two of us.
We rocked on the swing, content.
For five seconds. Then Andy cleared his throat. “Didn’t…didn’t I tell you?”
“Tell me what?”
“Well, um, my mom already got the tickets. My parents, um, want to see the new house. They’re coming next month.”
Sometimes, existing hastags do not fully convey the depth of one’s emotions.
#Facepalm is not enough.
#Facedesk is not enough.
#Facedirt it is.