On Monday, while driving to our new-old home, I was listening to a radio program about negativity in social media. Some communications professor was touting his latest book, of course. It reveals how users of social networking sites like Facebook or Blogger are losing the ability or willingness to be forthright or honest with other people. We don't want to offend or drive people away, i.e., lose followers. They might think we're ranting or grumpy if we say something negative about someone or something. But what if it helps someone else avoid making a mistake? Here's a tile tale. You decide if it's a rant or something helpful:
Last week, SAM and I came home (yes, we're back in our own home--for good, I hope) to bring some stuff we didn't want the movers to handle: paintings, mirrors, glass tops for tables, SAM's fragile minerals, my German china... We park the stuff at the house and head to Pensacola for another item on our to-do list: new floor coverings. Our first stop is a dead-end. Lumber Liquidators (SAM is so tired he keeps calling them Liquid Lumberdators) has moved its location but has neglected to relay that information on its website. Okay, so we head to Davis Highway, apparently the hotspot (I want to say Mecca but don't want to offend:) for floor coverings. We find Liquid Lumberdators right across the parking lot from another flooring outlet. The one salesperson on duty has five or six customers clamoring for service so we go across the parking lot to the other place. A nice young man there spends about an hour showing us the many options we have to choose from: tile, vinyl, carpet, or wood? We narrow it down to tile and carpet, and he gives us a reasonable estimate. Still, there's one more place we want to visit. American Carpets. "Open 8 to 8 so don't be late." I don't know how many times I've been annoyed by that TV commercial. It is 6:30, though, and the nice young man is probably wanting to go home for supper. We haven't seen anything we're just wild about in his showroom. Can we get back with you?
A few blocks north on Davis Highway, and the lights are still on at Amercian Carpets. It's true! They really are open 'til 8. We wander around the showroom, and SAM finds the tile. It's Italian porcelain, and it's beautiful, I must admit. Now we're in business. Another estimate, somewhat higher than the other one, but we're all about that Italian tile now. We find some carpet to match it that will go in the bedrooms, and get down to the nitty-gritty of making arrangements for installation. We tell the salesman we're on a tight schedule. Can we get this done by Monday, March 5? He steps aside to confer with his boss, and yes, it can be done! We pay the deposit and sign the agreement. Before we leave, the salesman warns us that there will be a bit of a mess to clean up. How big of a bit? Some dust on the walls and cabinets. Okay, I can handle that. Thursday afternoon, he calls to say there will another $200 added to the bill for fixing some cracks in the concrete floor before the tile is installed. Okay, do it. We can't have cracks, now, can we? Fast forward to Monday.
I'm already a nervous wreck from driving for three hours with a cat who does not like car rides. I've left SAM behind with the movers still loading up the truck. They will be unloading here bright and early Tuesday morning. I get to work with the vacuum and mop. The cat is underfoot. I have just a few hours to spare before SAM arrives with his pickup truck of more stuff to unload. While I'm mopping, I notice some air bubbles in the grout, pieces of grout missing, and chunks of dried grout stuck to the tile, the wall, the cabinets. The quarter-round trim looks uneven. There are places where it should be, and it's missing. Dust is everywhere. I finally give up cleaning when SAM arrives. What's the point? The movers will be here in the morning, and there will be more of a mess then.
Tuesday morning, and the movers are here as promised. What a great crew! Nothing is broken, and they are so patient with me while I try to decide where I want certain pieces of furniture. All of the boxes go in the living room, please. One of our neighbors stops by to welcome us back and admire the new tile. Are they planning to come back and seal the grout? What? You mean it still has to be sealed? A quick call to our salesman confirms it. But we have all of our stuff here now. I'm whining, and SAM is not happy about the prospect of moving all of those boxes into the bedrooms. He's also not pleased with the holes in the grout and the crappy looking trim. Fast forward to Thursday.
The tile installer and his helper arrive late in the afternoon to inspect their handiwork and face the homeowners' wrath. No, we're not mad now. We're over that part already. Just make it right, please. Another $165 to seal the grout? Sure. We're familiar with this song-and-dance. In fact, it's so familiar I wonder if anyone else has heard it before? No? Well, have a listen and learn from our tile tale. It's really not a rant, and I'm not grout-chy. Honest! I prefer to call it Grout Chi. Thanks for the energy boost, American Carpets. I hope it won't be added to our bill.