Friday, July 29, 2011


Ah, Home Depot.  My new home away from home.  Since I moved in to the Frankenstein House, rarely has a day gone by that I haven't needed to stop by Home Depot.  It's like all of the sudden, I'm being extortioned.  Extorted?  Held captive to a supplier of a particular service, for the protection and enjoyment of my very house and home.

So today-- because why should today be any different?-- I went to Home Depot.  Among other things, I wanted to get a chimney cap.  

exhibit A: chimney cap.

Because if your chimney doesn't have a cap, why-- it's just a giant exposed hole in your roof, isn't it!  And if there's one thing I know, it's that things with holes at the end that stick up out of a roof need to be capped.  See?

exhibit B: a chimney, before and after capping.

I'd seen chimney caps on the internets, so I figured they were a common thing people needed.  I'd just pop by the 'chimney stuff' section at Home Depot.  I looked where I thought they might be (near the vent caps-- because now I know what those are!), but alas, no luck.  

Finally, after wandering the aisles a bit, I decided to ask the nearest salesperson, a lovely-seeming, teenage-looking boy who was stocking shelves in the bathroom fixtures aisle.

Hi, excuse me, do you know where I'd find a chimney cap?
--Bathroom Boy:  [startled look] Um, I you know, I don't think we carry those, but if we did, it would be in the garden section.
In the garden section?
--Bathroom Boy:  Yeah, with all the outdoor stuff.  Like with the barbecue stuff, for cookouts.  But I really don't think we sell that thing that you said.
OK, thanks.

Fine, maybe I shouldn't have asked Bathroom Boy.  He is just a boy.  In the bathroom aisle!  What does he know about the world of chimney headwear?  I'll find someone else.  

The next someone else I see is a lovely-seeming, pregnant-being young woman stocking the cleaning products aisle.

Hi, excuse me, do you know where I'd find a chimney cap?  
--2nd Trimester: [confounded look] Um, I think it would have to be in the appliances aisle, or the home goods aisle.
Chimney caps are in the appliances aisle?
--2nd Trimester: I mean yeah, that's the only place I can think of.  Everything else is in a different aisle.

...well...that is...not untrue.

At this point, I'm sensing an incipient decline in the chances of mission success.  Mission: Cap That may fail, it seems.  But!  I think.  But!  Maybe if I find someone who looks over 30?  Somehow, being over 30 seems like it might be correlated with knowledge of chimney capping.  Yes.
I approach another employee.  He is plausibly post-30, and wears a wedding ring; I'd be intrigued if I found out he were married to a woman.

Hi, excuse me, do you know where I'd find a chimney cap?  
--Piccadilly Palare:  [wide-eyed look] Oh, you know what,  maybe in building materials?  
--Piccadilly Palare:  Well, but you know, I don't even have one and I never have rain fall down my chimney or anything!  But my house was built in 1906 so it's an old house so maybe it doesn't need one because that's how those houses were built then!
--Piccadilly Palare:  Yeah, you know, ask my guy Enrique in the building materials aisle.  And here, let me get you a cart for all that stuff you're carrying!

He dashed off and came back with a cart.  Which was very nice.  I went off in search of Enrique in the building materials aisle, who, when asked about caps for chimneys, made a low whistling sound, looked left to right (in search of an answer?), and said:

 Oh man, I don't even know.  I think maybe in gardening?  But really I don't know, I never even heard of that.

Mission: Cap That, part 1 = fail.  But, in a way, it's comforting.  Sometimes, I feel so unfamialiar and inexpert and generally unknowledgeable about the Universe of the House.  Now I know that, at least on some things, I'm not the only one.



  1. I am so proud and amazed of all the times you asked for what you were looking for. I am also convinced that those people are aliens who did not know the words coming out of your mouth.

  2. And on the home depot website, they are in building materials/fireplace and hearth. I'm so annoyed with those people!