Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Buying Carpet

at the drum circle
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
I got an unexpected check in the mail today - whoo! Always the best thing ever! - and I promptly went out with Audrey and spent it on carpet. Yes, I am the most boring person ever: a few weeks ago I was at the Admiral with some of my friends and the talk turned to lottery dreams. "If I was really rich," I said with a faraway look in my eyes, "I'd carpet the basement!" My friend Kyle laughed at me. "That's probably the first time," he said, "that anyone has ever said that sentence." True. It's what middle age does to you - you go from the yacht and round the world trip (this particular lottery fantasy always ends up with me worrying about the dogs falling overboard as we round the horn anyway) to carpeting the basement and maybe a nice entertainment center in burled pine.

Yes, it's not a grandiose dream, but it's mine and as of Friday afternoon, it will be a reality: Enrique the carpet guy will have come and gone and dark green carpet will have replaced the blue concrete - decorated here and there with puddles and stains of uncertain origin, let's not think about those - that's there now. Then we can unload the garage into this room, move Audrey downstairs into the newly glamorous, newly carpeted basement room and I can turn the upstairs room into a studio/office again. That means I get the upstairs and the kids get the downstairs, which is going to help the hell out of everyone's sex life, let me tell you.

I never bought carpet before. I've torn up a fair amount of carpet in my life: I'm supposed to be the kind of person, i.e., vaguely hippie, vaguely liberal, vaguely anti industrial and artsy, who hates carpet and, sure, yeah, absolutely, I'm down with believing that carpet is bourgeois and tacky and also made of some kind of evil chemical slave labor strip mined fibers of ultimate darkness. However, look: not every house has 14" heart of pine boards lurking under the death star wall to wall. My house, for example, has concrete floors downstairs that someone painted bright blue and blue concrete is, well, blue concrete, which is to say, carpet is going to feel a whole lot nicer on the feet. Sure, hardwood would be excellent, but that mystery check wasn't that big and principles only go so far. I just wish I had the guts and the money to have gone for bright purple instead of dark green.

We went to two carpet places. We would have gone to more, but carpet places don't seem to be making it in this economy: two of the four we checked were out of business. We had this theory that Leicester Highway was sort of the epicenter of carpet in this universe but unfortunately, there was only one carpet place and the carpet they had in stock was, um, uninspiring. The carpet was uninspiring but the names for the carpet were amazing. There was one sort of purpley black mottled thing that was called Radical Punk Departure - I wanted to buy that one just for the name but Audrey nixed it because it made her hands go glurgh when she rubbed them across it. Yes, glurgh. The Glurgh Test, as it came to be called, was helpful. You don't want your feet glurghing along in the mornings; it's just too depressing. I was forced to walk away from Radical Punk Departure - in carpet, as in life. There was another brownish carpet called Rustic Barn Wood that was actually the much beloved Baby Shit Brown and one called Bales O' Straw or something like that which was simply inexplicable, bearing no resemblance to straw or bales or, really, anything much at all. We were forced to give up on the Leicester carpet epicenter and tried the other, Brevard Road carpet epicenter, where, as on Leicester Highway, there used to be two carpet places and now there is only one. Maybe there can be only one. I can totally see the salespeople battling it out by dead of night.

On Brevard Road, we met a woman named Tammy who was really nice and, after we had duly admired the demonstration heated floor tile on her desk - add that to my lottery fantasy if you're keeping track, also the sort of carnival glass looking iridescent funky wall tile in the background - she cheerfully and efficiently sold us carpet that was a normal color, called, I believe, Green and did not make our hands go glurgh. There was one bad moment where she asked us if our measurements - we drew the whole room out on graph paper and were proud as hell of our efficient selves - were accurate. We looked at each other. "Um, define accurate," I started to say while Audrey said, "Within 5 inches or so!" brightly and Tammy said that was no problem, she would make sure they measured before they cut. Phew. Carpet at last! All my bourgeois dreams are coming true.

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