(This is a true story. Some names have been changed to protect the innocent.)
All I wanted to do was make a trellis for my pole beans.
It all started that Saturday afternoon when I watched gardening videos on YouTube.com. A woman demonstrated how she created a trellis for her cucumbers by tying together two lengths of something called “ladder mesh,” which isn’t mesh but more like a bendable, “H” frame, aluminum grid.
It’s actually a stabilizer for brickwork and masonry, but this clever person had figured out a way to use it in her garden. She claimed it was inexpensive and easy to find at any hardware store.
So, masks at the ready, my husband and I set out to find ladder mesh. We started with our favorite home improvement store, which shall remain nameless, but it rhymes with “Bows.” We went to the masonry supply department.
No ladder mesh.
“Let’s try the other end of the aisle,” my husband suggested.
“Maybe they stuck it with the fencing,” I said.
A quick run to the fencing section turned up a lot of expensive materials, but no ladder mesh. So I suggested, “Let’s ask somebody.”
My husband looked offended. One of the unspoken rules of manhood is, apparently, that you NEVER ask for assistance in a hardware store. Men are just expected to know where things are. But I wasn’t a man (still not) and so with a cell phone image in hand, I approached a team of associates that was sort of lingering in the electronics aisle.
“Excuse me,” I said in my best customer voice, “but I’m looking for ladder mesh?” I showed the first guy the image on my phone.
“Hmm,” he looked at the picture for about five seconds, then turned to his partner. “Hey, Joe, take a look at this.”
The two of them studied the image on my phone. There was a lot more “umm-humming” before the first guy said, “Yeah, I’ve never seen anything like that before.”
When I explained what it was and what I wanted to use it for he said, “Oh. OK, well, that would be back in masonry.”
My husband took me by the elbow. “We’ll just go take a look,” he said.
When we were out of earshot he whispered, “They don’t have a clue.”
We tooled on down the road to the next hardware chain, (the name rhymes with “Rome Repo”). Nada. We fared no better at an actual building supply store where the desk man said, “Sure, that’s for masonry work, and we don’t really carry that kind of stuff.”
Back at home, I switched on the computer and started a new search of the local “Bows” website. Sure enough, there was a picture of the product and the notation: “This item is currently out of stock. Enter your email address, and we will notify you when this item is available for pickup.”
I’ll keep you posted.