My views on software, programming, Linux, the Internet, government, taxation, working, and life.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

My Horrible Day

This is my horrible day. I got up, kissed the wife in bed, and looked over at her. It was our wedding anniversary. The night before, she said, "What are you going to do for me on Saturday?" and I had not answered it. I felt strongly compelled to do something for her. It was our eleventh. We showered up early and got the kids up, then waited on them to get ready. We were going to Lowes. I told my wife that I would agree to hardwood the floor with her in the TV den. The carpet was shot, you see. I was not a fan of hardwood floors because they are so hard to put down, they carry noise too much, and they are uncomfortable to me. I also made mention, "Yes, but this is where the TV is. It will be noisy." However, my wife holds a polar opposite of that view, I knew, and this was our anniversary. So off we went to Lowes. I first stopped and got a nice cup of coffee -- at least this was going to be something I could appreciate just for myself.

It took us about 45 minutes in traffic and the long drive there because we live in a very remote, rural area. When we got to Lowes, all of a sudden she completely changed her mind. Meanwhile, I was sold on the fact that some kind of new flooring was there that would somehow make all this easy. Knowing that my wife usually says one thing and then changes her mind just when I agree to it, especially when it comes to something about our house, I felt upset when she suddenly changed her mind as I had predicted. So, she wants carpet. We look at various kinds but then I went back and harped on how easy this new kind of flooring would be to put down. It didn't require glue, was glueless, as it says on the box. It snapped together. We even tried a sample out of the box and indeed it seemed to stick together easily. The pieces were bigger, so there was less that could go wrong. It also looked natural. Pergo, the main manufacturer of this kind of thin flooring, had a look that seemed too glossy and too fake. This flooring, made by Armstrong, was new to me and was more realistic and with less gloss.

My wife went back to the carpet again. Oh no, here it comes. I walked off and said, "I'm going to check out some other things while we're here. Why don't you pick out a carpet that you like." However, when I came back, she was powerless to make a decision on anything. She had still not decided on the carpet! I harrumphed this a little and then pointed at something almost randomly. I knew I didn't want berbour (sp?) because it snagged pretty bad and wasn't something that I had ever used. However, just as I did this, suddenly the carpet cutting machine busted pretty bad and we were faced with either the decision of driving across town to another hardware store, or giving up and going home. I went back to this hardwood floor thing, saying that's what she wanted, anyway.

She was a hard-sell on her own, initial idea, but I finally got her to decide. We had wasted perhaps 5 hours between this, a short lunch at a Japanese express, and then a short stint in Wal*Mart. On the way home, she stopped and we got some fresh vegetables at a small farm market and drove back home.

When we got home, she insisted that we instantly go to work. We pulled a huge, heavy piano out of the TV den that nobody in our family ever plays and which I pretty much wish we never had. It was her piano, however. She pulled up the carpet with my daughter and I helped a little, but they seemed to have it pretty much under control. I was saving my energy for the flooring task.

Anyway, with that up, we finally had a chat about the part of my floor that had sunk. We have had some house settling issues and finally the house has stopped settling. I said that this would be an excellent opportunity for me to nail down a new subfloor on top of a really low spot. I would use mitreboard because it was just thin enough to not cause a big bump and yet raise it up in the low spot just enough. I knew that we would put a padded barrier down anyway on top this subfloor before placing down the hardwood floor. Unfortunately, my wife, again, was cranky about this and it took some convincing that I knew what I was doing. Finally, however, I convinced her and I had returned from a very small hardware store we have in town with two big sheets of the stuff. It was perfect. I glued it down just right and put in a lot of nails. Unfortunately I hammered my thumb pretty badly about 3 times in the process, cursed up a storm with my face turning very red with anger, and ripped a blister in my hand. However, when it was finished, we stuck a level on it and it was perfect. We were very pleased with the results.

However, the pain and suffering returned when we got out the Armstrong flooring. First, we put it down and in the short class we had at Lowes they said nothing about the fact that to make this look good, you must stagger it. That means you have a lot more cutting to do with it. Unfortunately we had already suffered through putting down 2.5 rows already, our patience had grown thin with each other and with this flooring, and we had to pull it all back up again to do this the proper way. That's when I read on the box that you're supposed to stagger it, backing up my thoughts. Next, they give you small, black, plastic spacers but these have no mildly sticky glue on the black and they slide out of place. Also, because they are black and because the plastic underpinning sheet is black, you cannot see these very well. Meanwhile, when you put this stuff down, the pieces either get damaged when being hammered, or the whole mess shakes apart because there's no glue. Many pieces won't even fit together no matter what you do. In our dream of having this all down by 8pm, we were pushing 9pm. I decided to throw up my hands after messing up one too many pieces with the hammer. I went to take a short nap while my wife continued. Finally after about 30 minutes I returned and asked how it was coming, but she said, "You're right. This is a mess. We're going to have to bail, take the unopened boxes back if they will take them, and get carpet." So I wasted my whole beautiful Saturday on this mess only to fall back upon the one thing I wanted in the first place, carpet.

Still, I insisted that we get installers to put the carpet down, but she reminded me that we don't make enough money to pay for carpet AND pay for someone else to put it down. I also watched her measure the room to write down what we need as far as carpet. I had to correct her on that because I told her that if you measure a room for carpet, you essentially need to draw a square on paper and measure it at least 6 times -- 3 times on one side, and 3 times on the other, using front, middle, back, then turn, then front, middle, and back again. I said that no room is perfectly square that I've ever worked in. So, she said she would do this in the morning. By then, it was 11pm.

She whipped up a small dinner that my very young son had already started. It was a vegetables and noodle meal, zucchini and onions with soy sauce, and a side salad. My stomach hurt from the stress, so I was pleased to eat light. I took a prilosec pill and was plumb tired. My wife zonked out in bed. I came upstairs to work in my lair. I knew I had to return to my startup company project with software that I'm working on. I knew that I would be up all night and that I would probably upset her the next morning by not joining her in church. As I walked upstairs, she knew that I needed to do this. She said she loved me and I returned the message. I knew it was painful for both of us but it was real when we said it.

In retrospect, I left my wife with a sad feeling about this year's wedding anniversary and the only thing we got out of it was a lesson in leaving some work to contractors. Oh, and at least I got a chance to level a section of floor.

So this was my very bad day. How was yours?


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