Monday, February 08, 2010

The Definition of Stressful... going to a home improvement store.
For me, it's right up there with Chinese Water Torture.

When I was a kid, I remember how much my oldest brother loved shopping for tools.
He was giddy when we went to Sears.
I"d accompany him on these trips, and I remember loving the smell of hot mixed nuts (they used to have a candy counter in the middle of the store, and they'd roast nuts. The aroma was heavenly).
Today, he feels just as giddy about Harbor Freight or Home Depot.

I'll admit that even I can enjoy a trip to Harbor Freight.
Home Depot...not so much.

You see, the contractor guy is scheduled to be here at my house on Thursday to put trim around the doors and windows.
Currently, this house has no trim anywhere.
(note that wood door is going to be painted white)

I think new, taller baseboards, and a trim around the doors and windows will look more finished.
In order to save money, I'm doing some of the stuff myself on this project.
Last night I pulled up the carpet and padding, and the wood flooring is now sitting out acclimating to the room.
The walls are also old-school plaster (note the lack of trim on this window).

Yes, I did paint that bright green focal wall.
I've gotten used to it.

The other three walls are a pale green--almost white.
I removed and discarded the old baseboards months ago.
The more I can do myself, the less money I have to pay the contractor.
Hence going to the dreaded home improvement stores this week, and buying trying to buy the trim boards.

The contractor gave me all the dimensions I needed, and said both Home Depot and Lowes carried environmentally sensitive wood.
With trepidation, I walked into the lumber area of Home Depot.
Four or five employees were standing in a group shooting the shit.
I attempted to figure out what I needed by myself, but it was overwhelming...all this huge vertical feet of board--how the hell am I going to deal with that?

Finally one guy asked, not too enthusiastically, if I needed any help.
Me: "Which of these are FSC certified?'
Employee: (deer in headlights)
Me: (questioning look)
Employee: "Go over there and ask, and (whatever name it was) will tell you"
Me: Where's "over there?"
Employee: (turning on his heel and leaving) "To the left, and there's a window"
Me: (after turning left and seeing no window, and having no clue what he meant, I thought, you know what? Never mind)

and I left.

I mean, it totally sucks.
I don't know what I'm supposed to do.
It's like trying to talk to me about repairing a car--I glaze over.
Ditto here.
I grew up with three brothers and a dad who did everything for me.
I have no desire to get up and go.
It is what it is.
It's just not my personality.

Note to Home Depot: if you're offering FSC wood as a sales point, um, maybe you ought to tell your employees about it.
Just sayin.

I had had a previous experience with Lowes that was even worse than any I've had with Home Depot, so I vowed to never go there again.
But those boards need to be purchased and painted and ready to go in a couple of days!
What to do?!

I figured La Mesa Lumber would be a good option because it's a small business and maybe I could get some actual customer service.
Only problem is...they close at 4pm (though their website, ahem, says 5).
Kind-of a problem when I get off work around 3pm, quite a few miles away.

So I decided to try Dixieline.
I walked in, and there was an actual customer service desk in the center of the store.
There were sample boards of available baseboards and casings.
Employee: (without my having even asked him anything) "Do you need help with anything?"
Me: (in the state of shock) "huh?"

Wow, what a concept.

I wanted pre-primed, and they only had mdf, but at this point I didn't even care.
Mdf isn't the best quality or best environmental choice, but I took the service over that.

Three employees came up and joked around with me and were really cordial as they wrote up the order.
I was able to drive up to the back and another employee (also nice) loaded the boards in my car.
Like I said, what a concept after so much incompetence lately.

It was an interesting drive home.
My car was a kabob ;)

I hope the contractor likes what I picked out, seeing as I got a taller baseboard than he suggested, and got the only 2-1/4" casing they offered, though I liked a 2-1/2" one better (the space is too tight).
Too many choices, and stress brain is ragged.



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