Sunday, August 18, 2013

No. 291 – Loose Change

Performer: Neil Young & Crazy Horse
Songwriter: Neil Young
Original Release: Broken Arrow
Year: 1996
Definitive Version: None.

When you buy a house, you suddenly realize that you have all this space that has to be filled, so you get to buy a lot of stuff, which is always fun. Most of the second half of 1997, when Loose Change was on heavy rotation on my Walkman, Debbie and I spent our free time doing just that.

Let’s see, we have a dining room now, so we need a dining room set to fill it. Debbie had a loaner set, and I had … well, what you would expect a 30-year-old single straight male who doesn’t have the hippest of design sense to have. It was fine for a kitchen eating area but certainly not a formal dining room. My dining set went in the eating area, where it belonged.

The dining room was Debbie’s domain. I went to the furniture stores with her, but my role was basically to provide a thumbs-up or thumbs-down—and a check every month. Debbie wanted something nice—cherry wood with a Queen Anne flair. Fine, get what you want.

I had no idea a dining room set—a table, six chairs and a china cabinet—could be so expensive. It was on sale for $5,000, and that was 16 years ago! I gulped, but I agreed.

We also needed a dining set for our deck. Again, Debbie took the lead on shopping, but I had more of a role this time. I wanted chairs that rocked, and that’s what we got, spending WAY less than we did on the dining room set. I was home when it was delivered, so I set it up before Debbie could get home for lunch. We spent a lot of time in that furniture over the next few years.

All this furniture shopping led to the next purchase—a new sofa. During our dining-room jaunts, I would try out sofas, with the knowledge that we needed one in the family room to replace Debbie’s squinchy love seat.

I took the lead here, with Debbie’s permission. We went to Sofa Express, and within almost no time, I found what I wanted—leather, large and comfy. But the real selling point was that it was a double recliner: Each end had a lever that flipped out a footrest and let you recline almost flat. Yes, we’ll take that one. It was $1,400 and worth every penny.

Delivery was another issue, however. The family room was in the back of the house, off the deck. The logical solution was to take the sofa around to the back and bring it in that way. One problem: The sofa didn’t fit through the back door—even with pushing—which led to the movers putting a nice gash in one of the back panels (replaced at no charge but lots of apologies from Sofa Express).

The movers tried the front door. No problem with the fit, but the front door was off just enough from the hallway that the movers would have to take the sofa up the stairs a bit and drop it over the wood railing to get it down the hall.

By this time, Debbie had visions of the railing being knocked to the floor, so she called an end to the shenanigans for the day. She made the movers take back the sofa until they could bring two more guys to perform this Herculean logistical task. The next weekend, four movers performed the feat with no further damage to anything, thank goodness.

But the best part, from a buying-stuff perspective, was the garage. Now that we had a house that had a decent size yard, we needed tools to maintain it—lots and lots of tools. Debbie left all shopping decisions up to me. Oh boy!

The first purchase was a lawnmower. We bought the house in June, and the grass had been let go by the previous owner. For this particular purchase, I thought I needed a little guidance. Normally, I would have asked Dad, expect Dad and I weren’t on speaking terms—particularly as it considered the place where I was living with … THAT woman. So I asked Roger to help.

He took me to an outdoor-power-equipment dealer rather than a big-box store, so I could see several products. I spent more than I might have wanted to spend, but I got what I wanted—a Toro self-propelled mulching mower. I remember being excited bringing it home, setting it up and firing off on my first mow.

Best of all, the lawnmower was only the beginning. Not only did I now need a lawnmower, but I also needed a trimmer, a wheelbarrow, a shovel, a rake, hedge clippers, a snow shovel, work gloves, extension cords, a gas can, a fertilizer …

Lowe’s became one of my favorite stores, and I quickly turned into That Guy—the weekend squire who makes at least one weekly trip (and usually three) to the hardware store to buy this tool or that. You want to put out bird feeders, you say? That means I’ll have to go to Lowe’s to get storage tubs for the food. OK … twist my arm …

No. 290 – May This Be Love?

Performer: The Jimi Hendrix Experience

No comments:

Post a Comment