Talking Smack

I’ve never been one to be confident of my electrical, plumbing, or carpentry skills. 

When we first got married I changed out a light switch and couldn’t sleep that night thinking the house was going to burn. Everyone knows my wife Jenni is the ‘handyman’ in the family.  When our grown sons need advice for home repairs they call mom.

So it is with great elation I tell you that I was talking smack at the local hardware store a few days ago!

I’ve mentioned before that we are learning new skills doing this van conversion.  We rarely watch Netflix or any network shows anymore; we spend our time educating ourselves with YouTube videos on van buildouts.  One of the major debates in van forums is HOW to attach ‘things’ to the walls and ceiling.  I say ‘things’ because there is a separate huge debate about WHAT you should be attaching to your walls and ceiling.

One of the more popular fasteners to use is a Rivnut—or rivet nut, sometimes called a Plus nut but not to be confused with a cross nut. It’s essentially like a rivet that goes into a hole in the metal beam.  With a special tool, you compress it leaving you with a threaded screw hole in which you can now thread a bolt.  Trust me, I didn’t know any of this a few weeks ago.

So I went looking for some of these ‘rivnuts’ at the local True Value hardware store.  The man behind the counter greeted me and asked if I needed help.  Of course, the proper manly response is to say no and spend 30 minutes aimlessly wandering through the aisles picking things up, grunting, and putting them down.  But I dispersed with social protocol and told him what I was needing.  He didn’t understand or recognize the name so I whipped out a screenshot on my phone.  Now I had him hooked.

What was I trying to do with the so called rivnuts?  I went into great detail about how they work and what I was doing with them.  Turns out he had been visiting a few van conversion facebook groups and was getting the fever too!  We had a great conversation clad in our pandemic face masks.

I’m not sure if I’ve ever talked with such authority and conviction concerning something mechanical.  I felt alive.  It helped that I had a ‘student’ of van conversions in front of me.  In fact, I was so pumped when I walked out that I went across the street to the auto parts store and bought a wiper blade AND installed it MYSELF!

I’m already looking for an excuse to go back to the hardware store. 
It doesn’t take much.


  • David, you sure there wasn’t a pot belly stove somewhere around when you two were having your sit down?I can remember the discussions my Dad had at Williams Hardware,when I was a kid.Oh the stories I heard. You are a gifted writer, among other things(photography)

    Donna AIKEN
  • David, this is priceless; you are a born story-teller!

    Helen H Ammons
  • David, this is priceless; you are a born story-teller!

    Helen H. Ammons

Leave a comment