It's not about the house.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Then Wimpy Came Along...

First of all: I don’t need the oral surgery again! Actually, technically I do. Everybody wishes I could have it. They’d all recommend that I re-do it if I could. But I can’t. Because, well, let’s just say that if I had any more surgery, I wouldn’t have any more tooth. Which is probably why the surgeon stopped where he did in the first place. So that’s good news. I guess.

Thanks for all your sympathies and insults about my dentist. It’s really not her fault. But I’m having this procedure done at B.U. dental school, remember, because it’s cheaper there than going to someone with a degree and everything, and because this is not covered by my Massachusetts Public Health Universal Coverage Poor People Plan (which is otherwise fabulous – but that doesn’t mean
anybody should be voting for Mitt Romney. Ugh.) Students do the work, supervised closely by experienced professors, and every procedure is in a different academic field. It’s as if, if I was at a regular school, I had to go to the Physics building for one thing, the Language lab for another, then to the Athletic facility for number three. Apparently, I’m caught in a sort of pissing contest between departments – which is not a pleasant mental image, when you consider that I’m in the chair with my head back and my mouth wide open.

So let’s get back to the kitchen saga, shall we?

While I waited at the customer service desk to actually place the order for the stove – because the hour’s worth of paperwork we filled out in the stove department didn’t actually, technically, count – Johnny took himself on a spin around the store. He’s not good at patience in public, generally (nor am I, come to think of it: gad, who thought the two of us buying a house would be a good idea?), and he had been very patient with everything so far. So, like an indulgent mother, I told him: “Go play with the lawnmowers or something. I’ll find you when I’m done.”

And he was off.

Everything at the customer service desk at Home Depot takes an hour and a half. Place an order? Hour and a half. Rain check on a sale item? Hour and a half. Lost your husband? Hour and a half. When I got there, there were three people in front of me. After three hours, it was down to only one. I was going to be next, when I heard Johnny’s voice behind me.

“Oh, you need to talk to me wife. Hey, Horse! HORSE!”

He calls me Horse. I never think about how odd that is – in fact, I rather like it. Until he shouts it out in public. Or, ahem, I post it on a blog.

Hoping to avoid a line of people wanting to inspect my hooves and teeth, I turned around and shot Johnny The Look. Unfortunately, I think you have to learn The Look and its possible repercussions from your mother, and Johnny’s mother – well, with so many of them running around, I imagine it was hard to get a line of sight on any one. Johnny’s impervious.

“Horse! C’mere!”

Are you kidding me? I’ve been standing in this line for three weeks, and you want me to leave it when I’m next? Look! That happy couple’s just been reunited and they’re about to call on me!

“Don’t place the order yet, Horse. Not till you see this! C’mon!”

Oh, balls. I had no idea what was going through his head, but if I ignored him and it turned out he’d discovered that the stove we chose had a tendency to blow up or something, then I would be the asshole. On the other hand, if I lost my place in line to look at a freaking recipe, the asshole would be him. And I would kill it.


I left the line.

Around the corner, at the end of the aisle where he stood, sat a little man at a little folding table. On the folding table was an array of orange papers. On the papers were the words: “10% off your initial purchase!”

He wanted me to sign up for a credit card.

I love him, but Johnny can be a sucker. He wants to order every thing he sees on television, sign up for every junk-mail offer that arrives. So, when I repeatedly insist that he’s the voice of reason in this family, what I’m trying to tell you is that we really had no business being homeowners at all.

Fortunately, Johnny has no credit rating. He couldn’t take this sucker-bait without my help. And if there is a single, mature, voice-of-reason lesson that I have learned in my lifetime, it’s that extended credit is not necessarily your friend.

I told him no, it was a scam, I didn’t do that. I didn’t do it and besides, we didn’t need it. We had the cash to cover the half-kitchen we’d agreed on, and we were not going to over-extend ourselves to go any deeper in than that.

“We’re all set,” I told the little man at the little table. “Thank you, anyway.”

But then, just as I turned around to take my place behind the five people who got in line behind the woman who should have been me, Johnny said this:

“But if we get the card, and we don’t order the stove today – if we come back and get the stove and the cabinets and the sink and the faucet and the pig and the counter and the doors and the knobs and everything at the same time, as our first purchase on this 10% discount offer – we could save ourselves three hundred bucks! Then, since we have the cash, we’ll just pay it when the bill comes in and throw the card away!

“Why wouldn’t you?”

Hm. I considered this. My gut was still telling me to stand my ground, but it wouldn't tell me why. I considered the three hundred dollar savings, and I considered the two more months of waiting in that still-getting-longer line, and I decided that coming back tomorrow sounded like a great idea. I filled out the paperwork, the little man gave me something that would act as a temporary credit card until the real one (which we would never need, right?) came in the mail, and we went home. We measured for cabinets and decided and discussed. We picked a color for the countertop and talked about what we needed from our sink. We determined that we would pick the cheapest faucet we could find that was not completely hideola, and in the end we plain forgot about the knobs. We went back the next day, we bought and ordered and paid for everything, and we saved three hundred dollars.

And before the bill came, Johnny lost his job. We used our cash to pay our mortgage, and we carried that damn balance for two years.

But at least we weren’t paying interest on it. Because I switched it over to the first junk mail 0% offer that arrived.


su said...

That's how they get you every time. But fool me once shame on you, fool me twice,shame on me. Good lesson learned. said...

You can buy the 10% off coupons for HD and Loes on ebay for about $3-4 each.

Also, Home Depot and Lowes will take each other's "competitor" coupons.

Here's a great article...

Vanessa said...

Ouch! That was painful to read. They always seem to win. :(

EGE said...

Su -- the problem is, I had already LEARNED that lesson! But the truth is, it's a good thing we still had the cash, because I don't think Countrywide accepts Home Depot credit cards!

ILU -- you always have such useful advice AFTER THE FACT! Where were you in 2004, to tell me not to buy the AssVac in the first place? (Seriously, that's great to know about the coupons -- keep them words o' wisdom coming! And have I told you how much I love your new picture? Very becoming!)

Vanesa -- don't forget: I bounced it around between 0% offers and never paid a dime of interest on it. So I think I really did win after all! (that's my story and I'm sticking to it) said...

Yeah...I'm goin' for a more mature look. It's workin', huh?