Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tool Talk

I have a red wheelbarrow. I like it a lot. I don't need a blue wheelbarrow but if I did I'd go to Altadena Hardware, because last time I was there they had a pile of wheelbarrows.

I love hardware stores and we have many excellent ones in the Dena. Besides Altadena Hardware there's Crown City Hardware (specializing in antique and Craftsman stuff), the highly recommended Berg Hardware and Eagle Rock's beloved Tritch Hardware. You probably know of more you can tell me about. I'll be honest, Pasadena's OSH isn't bad, either--the staff there is knowledgeable.

But I like the small stores. I like aisles not quite wide enough to walk two abreast. I like shelves stacked from floor to ceiling with things I want but don't recognize. Shiny!

The best, though, is the language and the experts who speak it. "What you need, ma'am, is a consarn two. They used to come in two sizes but they don't make the three anymore, the two's standard now. How's your wingbrack? Threads still tight? Huh? Oh. Lemme show you. Here's a wingbrack. It's got this here hinge, and you just flip the spring--no? Okay, so you take the consarn two like this, and you jam it into the wingbrack until the flip nozzle opens..."

I will arrive home with a bag fully of shiny wingbracks, flip nozzles and consarn twos. I will love them and perhaps not remember what I learned about how to use them. I might regret not having bought the blue wheelbarrow, but I've still got my red one and that is one tool I know how to use.

28 comments:

Dina said...

What a fun picture.
I don't understand a word but you seem to have their jargon down. Enjoy your new stuff, whatever it is.
And Petrea, will you take me for a ride in your red wheelbarrow, please?

Chrissy Brand said...

A very witty photo and an interesting post

Shell Sherree said...

Llike Dina, I have no clue what that helpful hardware man said to you. But I'm impressed. I don't own a wheelbarrow but if I ever see one in a fetching pastel {especially aqua}, it's mine. {Might even name it. Champagne will be involved with its maiden voyage, of course. And I'll buy a wingbrack just for fun.}

Steffe said...

Fun shot. We call them Skottkärror.

dive said...

Mmmm … Wheelbarrows.
I have a rusty wheelbarrow with a wonky wheel that gets used about once a year.

We have a hardware shop here that you'd love, Petrea. Thorn's of Norwich is known to every male in the city as "Thorn's Porn" … Any male who gets dragged out shopping can be safely left in there like a crêche. There's a whole department in the basement devoted solely to screws. It's the kind of place where kindly old men in brown aprons will happily discuss what you need for half and hour and then sell you a single bolt. I love it.

Kate said...

The Red Wheelbarrow

so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens.

***************
...but, where are the chickens?!

jb said...

Love it!

Virginia said...

We have a little hardware store here like that. All the men lined up to help. I told them it was like having 6 husbands that I didn't have to take home! One muttered that nobody had ever said that before!

V

pasadenapio said...

Crown City Hardware is the nearest one to my 'hood. I never walk in and out with a mission of expediency; each visit begs a stroll down every aisle and a chat with staff and occasionally friends or neighbors.

The thing about OSH and other big-box chains is that they're
overly lit and impersonal, and I can't recall any time that a visit was anything to write home about.

Before "all this" happened five weeks ago, I had Crown City Hardware on my to-do list because I need a new mailbox. It will keep until I'm able to return. I long for the day when I can get in the car and run errands. The simple things in life...

Laurie said...

Love this.

Steven said...

Don't you just love the smell of those old time hardward stores. A combination of paint, rubbber hoses, plant fertilizer, and a thousand other smells. As you walk down the service road sifting through the nuts and bolts of life you know you will always find answers at the hardware store.

Bellis said...

Your conversation in the store is hilarious, but spot on. I love hardware stores where they talk to me like that, without being condescending. I'm still chuckling about Thorn's Porn in Norwich - what a great place to park a husband while shopping.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

Tip for the day: take close up photos of what your trying to fix. Show that to the salesperson. It cuts down on a lot of hardware speak you might otherwise not know.

Petrea Burchard said...

I had no idea how much response hardware would generate! Poetry, husbands, etc. Steffe, If I start calling my wheelbarrow a skottkärror I promise to find a recorded pronouncer first.

Next I must do office supplies.

I just remembered Virgil's in Glendale. Dive reminded me of it because it sounds very much like Thorn's Porn. John used to love going in there to find the perfect bolt or nut and have a thirty minute conversation about it with the pros.

Petrea Burchard said...

That's a good tip, PA. It's kind of like when John and I take pictures of the empty refrigerator to figure out what to put on the grocery list.

Desiree said...

Sheesh, I drive by there all the time and I didn't spot these-

Pascal Jim said...

Overlooked in the photo are those Beautiful Awnings overhead, Pasadena's Colorado Boulevard once had many, many awnings to provide shade for those window shoppers of yore.

Petrea Burchard said...

Desire, I think the stack is gone now.

Jim, that little stretch of Mariposa St. is so charming. I love the merchants there and how it all looks.

Irina said...

The photos of wingbracks and consarns photos could make my day, as I have no idea what they are.
I love to spend time in shops like that but they wipe off small shops and huge ones are sooo expensive!

Clifford Beshers said...

I have a garage full of little red wagons. Any day now the king is going to figure out what I'm sneaking out of the castle.

Ms M said...

Wonderful post, Petrea. And Kate beat me to the William Carlos Williams poem.
I don't have a wheelbarrow, but perhaps I should get one, a red one, of course.

Petrea Burchard said...

I don't know what wingbracks and consarns are either, Irina. It's nice to see you!

You be careful, Cliff. Don't get beheaded or anything.

Ms. M, it sounds like you're doing fine without a wheelbarrow. But what do I know?

Anonymous said...

Good advertising- the red wheelbarrow, GONE when I was there this afternoon!

Lucio said...

Your "eye" is maturing, Petrea.

Petrea Burchard said...

Anonymous, I'm glad it worked. Don't worry, there'll be another.

Thanks, Lucio. It had better, after all this time and all these pictures!

Susan Campisi said...

Can I borrow your wingbrack when you're done with it? I don't know what it is but I'm sure I need one.

Petrea Burchard said...

I already attached one but you're in luck! I bought two, just in case.

TheChieftess said...

Green...we got a green one!!! Found it at a quaint little hardware shop in Reno...Lowe's!!!