We are redoing our living room and ajoining dining room - all of it. Carpet, trim, furniture, fixtures... Four boys and two dogs (may they rest in peace), was all that space could take. It really didn't stand a chance.
So, we all went to the carpet store after dinner.
The three younger boys found a play area and entertained themselves while Paul roamed in one direction, and I roamed in another -- followed by Zach, our 14-year-old.
After about 10 minutes, I found what I wanted. And Paul found me.
Paul: So did you find what you like?
Me: Yup. Here it is. I show him a solid-colored patterned carpet.
He flips the boards and shows me another one.
Paul: What about this?
Me: No... not that. No.
Paul: Is it different?
Me: Of course it is different. Can't you tell?
Zach interprets for me.
Zach: No, mom. He means is it THAT much different.
Me: Oh! Well. Yes. It is much different. Thanks Zach. I don't understand man-talk.
Zach: No problem.
Paul has now found the store manager and brings him over to my selection. He gives the manager the dimensions of our space and asks for an estimate.
After punching in numbers in his calculator for a few minutes...
Manager: Well... this carpet is $x.xx a square foot installed.
Hum. I thought that sounded reasonable.
Manager: So we are talking about $X,xxx.
Hum. Way under what I expected to hear. I wander away to keep looking at carpet to see if there is another one that I like even better.
Zach is right on my heels.
Zach: Uhm mom? Why does dad look so angry?
I turn around and look at Paul standing and talking to the manager.
Me: He doesn't look angry. That's how he always looks.
Zach: No. No mom. You're wrong. That is an angry look.
Me: I suppose he is coming to the realization that we will be buying that carpet I like.
Zach: We will?
Me: Yes. He knows he has to.
Zach stares at me with his mouth gaping open like I had said a bad word.
Zach: So everything you ever told me about marriage, and it being all equal, and making sure that you and your spouse talk things through... that was all a lie?
I turn to him slowly and look him in the eye with the most serious expression I can muster.
Me: Yes Zach. It was a lie. When your wife decides that she likes a certain kind of carpet, you will buy or you will choose to live a life of hell.
Zach: Wow mom. Wow. Way to shatter my world.
I did go around the store and I picked out another carpet, just so Paul wouldn't feel like there were no other options for him. The manager joked, "Well I'm sure it won't be more expensive. I think she picked out the most expensive one we have."
Apparently - the second one I picked was more expensive.
Manager: I could have sworn she picked out the most expensive carpet we have.
So I picked a third - with the manager's help. I said, "Please show me a carpet that is of good quality, but not as much as the first one I picked. One that will make my husband happy."
He showed me another one that was acceptable.
As we got in the car with our two samples (the one I want and the one I picked for Paul)... Paul turns to me laughing and says:
Paul: How is it that within minutes of entering the carpet store you are like a bloodhound and you manage find the two MOST expensive carpets in the entire place! Oh my God! I can't believe you!
Me: Well... come on. It doesn't take a genius to see or feel what is a good carpet and what isn't.
from the backseat...
Zach: But it DOES take someone of outstanding taste.