Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Our New Livingroom

Well we are finally replacing the "yours, mine, and ours" hodge-podge of household furnishings we brought to our marriage with just plain "ours."

Here's the first major purchase. Ours will have two sofas and an extra seat making up the sectional and the chaise section will stand alone in a corner.

We also bought this:

It's functional as well as fashionable. The two sections have storage, plus the lids flip over and are wooden trays on the other side. We wanted an ottoman that could serve as a coffee table as well. That way we don't have to worry about stitches in Anna's chin. Well...at least not from the coffee table.

I must say once again I am amazed by Rick and my ability to go to 5 different furniture stores in 3 days, sometimes with four kids, sometimes only two and ALWAYS with one incredibly patient baby... and not have one argument. We compromised beautifully on all of this. It's a functional, comfortable sectional (a favorite among men and kids for lounging around watching sports and movies) in a sleek and more contemporary design (that's for me) rather than an overstuffed lazy boy sectional (which are high on the functional/comfortable scale but....well I have just never come to appreciate the whole lazy boy fashion trend...umm... if one could call it 'fashion'.)

So we will have our new living room in about 3 weeks.

That will mean delivery people. Ahhh... the fly in the ointment of being the stay at home parent. All repair/delivery type people fall into my domain. Several furniture purchases ago I bought something (quite bright and overstuffed) that was damaged during delivery. I contacted the store (Value City) and requested they come out and repair the fabric. I ended up setting up two different days, with me having to use a vacation day each time because they wouldn't narrow down even which half a day for me. Then both times, the night before the appointment they called when I wasn't home yet and without speaking to me or leaving a message canceled the order because I hadn't been home to confirm it. Both times I had no idea they called and stayed home all day wasting my vacation time. And both times no one showed. I called in and was told "You canceled the order yesterday." I didn't! Because I wasn't home to talk to anyone when you called me!

The second time I told them I wanted to return my furniture. It wasn't in our house 90 days yet, so they came back and got it. Now let me just say I have been a sales person before (a puppy pusher in a pet store of all things.) And here's the other reason I won't shop at Value City anymore. My mom's friend sold us the furniture. We had it for 2 months. When we returned it because of their crappy repair staff, Value City took back my mom's friend's commission. I had never heard of such a thing. Maybe if we had canceled the order or refused it at delivery. But we had it TWO months and she gets money ripped back out of her paycheck.

I hate dealing with people like that. That would be like the tree man in the next story taking the money back he paid the workers after I didn't pay for the trees they trimmed. But I am ahead of myself (wow- that's different! Usually I'm digressing!)

When I was single many eons ago I had a run in with a very unprofessional tree trimmer. After the initial trim, I was unhappy with one limb left hanging very low in the front yard, and the lack of trimming near my power lines in the backyard (which was the reason I hired someone rather than let me 60 year old dad climb a ladder to do it.) We played phone tag for a week, including him becoming increasingly rude to me on my answering machine with comments like, "I have never had such a hard time getting a hold of someone. You are extremely difficult to reach." So he took it upon himself to have the crew come back without my being there and trimmed off any limb my children could have climbed on every single tree in my front yard. They took down a bird feeder I had and some Halloween decorations that were in the trees. They also still did not at all trim the tree I specifically requested due to it's proximity to the power lines in the back yard. I cried when I saw my butchered trees and immediately called an attorney friend I knew for advice. He said, "Do not pay another penny. Offer to let him keep your deposit. If he says that's not good enough then don't discuss it further. The worst he could do is put a lien on your home which will cost him more than your balance anyway."

So I did just that. One night he confronted me on my porch in front of my children. He told me he would give me fifty more bucks off my balance even though the "miscommunication" we had was my fault. Ummm...MIScommunication???? We DIDN'T communicate because I was "so difficult to get a hold of." When he threatened me with the lien against my house, I relayed what my attorney told me. As soon as the word "attorney" came out of my mouth he became very angry and said, " I have done work for several people who work with you. They are good, respectable people there. You don't deserve to work there. You're just trying to be 'cute' because you're a woman so you won't have to pay. "

I sat on my porch and watched in stunned silence as he walked away. Then I realized that he was right about one of us expecting my being a woman to weigh in their favor, and it wasn't me. He expected to bully me into paying for the job. If I were a man he would have NEVER talked to me that way. The owner of that place (different from the estimate guy who verbally assaulted me) called four months later and left a message on my machine asking me to call to set up a payment. My attorney friend told me they only had 90 days to file the lien. He said not to respond and if they pressed he would write a letter indicating harassment. Luckily,. I never heard from them again. But it did make me hesitate to hire a cheaper smaller business for stuff like that in the future. I really felt like this guy was unstable, knew where I lived, had a beef with me, and knew I lived alone.

My only other "cheap" unknown guy was my furnace "repair man." Or should I say the "I will keep guessing at what's wrong charging you 60 bucks a visit until I eventually figure it out or make you wonder if it would be cheaper to install a whole new unit- whichever comes first" man. With my furnace under his care I could count on several space heaters being required a week or two every winter. Finally my ex-husband became concerned about the boys and I not having heat and he and a friend (who originally installed it for us) took over maintenance on it. Believe it or not I prefer to have my ex come in and fix something over a repairman off the street any day. I can leave him a key and trust him in my home. And he does better work at a more reasonable price than anyone else too. I know that's too weird for most of you out there. But it works for us just fine, thank you very much :)

So at least now I do have Rick when strange repair people push me around. For some frustrating reason, all of them do seem to respond better to a male voice of "authority."

Although I must say that the elderly German salesclerk at Sofa Express last night kept asking me to come back so she could talk to me instead of Rick. It never happens when he's talking to me, no matter how chatty I am or how much I interrupt him during a conversation, but Rick's tolerance deteriorates anytime someone else does it. And in all fairness, she did keep interrupting while he was trying to crunch measurements to figure out which pieces of the sectional we needed. So every time I went to search for fabrics for our throw pillows, the clerk would come over, fawn over Anna, then politely say, "Could you come back over to the sectional for a moment? I think your husband is not ordering the right thing." Then after we figured out what the miscommunication was between them, I would say, "OK, I can go back over to the fabric right? You don't need me here do you?" Rick would look at the clerk annoyed that she brought me into it and say, "No, we're fine over here. You can get back to picking out the fabric if you want so we can wrap this up soon." But the sales clerk would say, "Ummm...well... no. I think you should stay....I think we could use your help a little bit more."

So I am in fact good for something when it comes to purchases :)

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter

Here are some pics of Anna's first pigtails. I took them last week when it reached 83 degrees (Fahrenheit of course!) Today it was a WHITE Easter! So the pics I took of our family Easter today were not as "springy".

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday.