Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Adventures of Megan Leigh Blumenschein (post by Tocco)

House renovation is an exciting thing to do. Besides the fact that usually everything becomes much prettier than it was before, much improved, and you actually get to spend a lot of time at home without feeling the guilt of going out to a bar, the movies, or whatever else one can think of. 

Nevertheless, once in a while the process needs you to leave the house, to get new supplies, some paint, brushes, nails or any other tools you think you might need to make your life in this process a little easier. This is where Megan's adventures usually start. Not so much inside, but leaving the house to a supplier like - in our case Megan's favorite store - The Home Depot.

The first time my phone vibrated yesterday was when I received the first text message at 3pm. It was a picture with an old bucket of paint, that is our favorite color for the upper kitchen cabinets as well as for all the doors. The first gallon was gone so we needed a new one. Pretty straightforward one might think- Gidden, Antique White, Interior, Semi-Gloss - boom and done. We even had the old bucket to look it up. As I said - Gidden, Antique White, Interior, Semi-Gloss - as precise as it can get. Don't you think so, after another 20 minutes back and forth, I finally discovered that Megan actually left the house, went to a Home Depot store, to get this color, as precisely described earlier - Gidden, Antique White, Interior, Semi-Gloss... 

Only it was a total surprise to a paint specialist with a computer system where they can look up every imaginable color in the world that obviously means nothing, not the brand, the kind, the shade, nor anything else. I don't know how, but after another 20 minutes of back and forth via text messages, her discussion with the guys at Home Depot's color counter, they finally managed to pull a gallon of this color out - Gidden, Antique White, Interior, Semi-Gloss ... puh - I was sweating already, busy at work, trying to focus and get my stuff done in time, while trying not to let Megan down with her struggles, especially since she only went to Home Depot because she promised me in the morning. Not that she had to, I would have been fine if she would have skipped it, no biggie. Anyhow, finally the phone got silent again and I was relieved, thinking I can continue my work. Which lasted maybe 5 minutes before it vibrated again. After nearly an hour of constant back and forth these 5 minutes felt pretty long though.

The next image arrived, examples of different carpets, not that one could make out the difference via images sent through text message, but hey, at least it reminded me that Megan's promise to go to Home Depot was about getting the carpet that we wanted to lay out in the newly renovated basement. That is our current project, the one mentioned a few days ago, the one that led to my tennis arm. 

Ok, switch the mindset, back from color swatch problems now to carpet. The day before I had a marathon phone call with our local Home Depot about this particular carpet that we've chosen. They haven't had it in stock anymore, it was supposed to arrive weeks ago, but never came, or it should have been on today's truck, but it didn't, but it will be on the next one ... maybe. Luckily the lady on the phone was a nice one and she searched the entire computer system to figure that there is a huge pile in stock at one of their locations nearby. So obviously it seemed to be rare and I wanted to make sure we get the one we've chosen, thats why I asked Megan if she would mind to pick it up today. I know, I haven't thought it through though, a woman on her own buying a heavy 150 sq. ft. carpet in Fruitvale, Oakland, getting late in the evening, my apologies - I always tend to forget that we are in the US and that can be dangerous at times. All the more grateful I am, and a bit ashamed too, that Megan actually went there to try to get that rare piece of carpet that we needed. But guess what, don't think this was easy at all, because the reason why I got the text message was to consider an alternative, since - different than the computer system - the sales reps didn't know of the existence of the carpet of our choice. So we started the process of reconsidering from the new samples, and maybe we'll go with something more common that they have in stock. Luckily one of the sales reps was also a nice one and found a piece. But oops, that one was too small for us, which took them already more than half an hour to find, then, wow, he accidentally found the one we wanted all along- in the wrong aisle, between random toilet seats, refrigerators, and bath tubs ... - Fruitvale, Oakland - ...  and even enough of it, so we would be able to cover the basement with one piece of carpet of our choice ... finally done ... is what I was thinking.

But don't forget, that new carpet takes an additional hour to uncover, attach to the rings, and cut into the size we need. So naturally Megan uses this time to send me more text messages with random images that I need to puzzle together to get the whole picture.


Meanwhile I got an alert message from AT&T that I exceeded my data plan. Ok, happens time by time, it's 2 hours later now, since I got the first text message, and it doesn't stop ringing. Even the work I have to do doesn't go away, nor did I get anything accomplished yet. It's becoming dark outside, nearly 6 p.m., I'm still sweating, trying to multitask, which obviously is not my speciality. But all seems good now, Megan got the color we wanted, even though it took over an hour and the entire Home Depot crew, same for the carpet, all done, sounded great to me. I started to get excited to finally get my stuff done at work and go home to see the rug in person and start making plans of how to best lay it out and getting closer to finish project basement, yay!

These were my thoughts, not considering that the phone rang again and I got another image via text message. I had to look twice, since I thought I got that image earlier, but I didn't, it was a new one, even if it looks similar.

The text that comes with it was this. "This wont fit in the car. Holy shit" Next text message was, "I thought it would be thin enough to fold ...OMG, it's huge" "I don't think so ... wish me luck" - Megan is still in Fruitvale, Oakland, on her own, at night, with a car that is obviously too small to get the carpet in there. But thanks to 2014, I'm 100% updated and covered, every step of the way. Can't be before long till Megan is at home. 

Next text message - "Now the battery died" - What, I am thinking, what happened, no way, you must be kidding me. I wish, but the next couple of text messages arrived. "Nooo", "Dammit!", "I shouldn't have done this today, it's ridiculous" ... I didn't respond as much as I would have needed to, I started to feel guilty to be quite honest, why did I ask her, I shouldn't have. But it's too late, Megan did and is still in Fruitvale, Oakland, now late at night, with Gidden, Antique White, Semi-Gloss for interior, 1 gallon, and a carpet that doesn't fit in the car, nor does the car do anything at all since the battery died - holly shit, what have I done. Even though I have to giggle a bit, since it appears a bit funny too, the car has the tendency to die on Megan, it never does it with me. Next text message, "Totally miserable, I have to go to find some help now", meanwhile I try to figure out where the next Volvo dealer is to help her out and send her the phone number. Next text message,  "Are there jumper cables in the car?" - OMG, no, there aren't no ... :-/. "This rug is in the way", which means Megan obviously got it in there somehow, at least one good thing in all of this. "I need to find some cable, nobody so far has cables and they're sold out :(", I don't know who to ask anymore I could cry", silence on my side, what shall I do, what can I do, I feel guilty and helpless, but at the same time I can't help not to giggle ...

The next text messages arrive, "How to open the hood", I try to explain through a chain of messages, but the only respond I get is, "Agh! don't see it", the guy helping couldn't find it either, more messages, more images ... the scenery changed completely, it's not about paint, carpets or anything like that anymore, suddenly it's about darkness, Fruitvale, Oakland, Megan on her own, a car without power on an empty parking lot at Home Depot, I hope this wont get any worse ...

New text messages and pictures ... 



Finally, the first good news since 4 hours, "We got it running". Oh my god, I can't tell you how good this one felt, the first positive sign since over 4 hours - the car is running! Yes!

Long story short, I got picked up at the ferry on time, Megan was able to giggle about it, we had the car back to running, a monster of a carpet in the trunk and are finally on our way back home, all alive, some still a bit miserable but all overall, Mission Accomplished. 

Let's get a drink! Call it a day, tomorrow more.


  1. Aghhh!!!!! That sounds awful!!!! I'm so sorry. So glad it all worked out in the end and I can't wait to see the carpet installed! Love to you both...b

  2. What a wonderful misadventure! Glad Megan got home safely and with a trunk full of goodies no less.

  3. My Home Depot limits are strong! I want to point out that everyone there was really cool, and as helpful as possible. And also, I know all these photos are ridiculous but I was bored, wanted to get the right stuff, and I wanted him to really feel how terrible the end was haha. And it's actually not so many over four hours... ;)