Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Home Shopping Network

We've been shopping. And when you've just moved into a new house, shopping isn't for sissies. It's for pros, and quite frankly, amateurs like me had better just get out of the way and let the real shoppers do their thing.

The serious work started Sunday when we bought all of our new kitchen appliances in one fell swoop. We bought a fridge - our second in two weeks. The first one was always a stopgap and destined to be the garage fridge where we keep white wine and beer and all the food LK has left over because she still cooks for 12 even though it's just the pair of us.

After our last refrigerator, I am hooked on fridges with an ice maker and cold water in the door, and LK was happy to go along with my wishes. She wasn't too keen on the energy saving door on the fridge door - where you just reach in and grab a wine or beer without opening the whole door. But LK decided it wasn't all that obvious in black so it was OK.

I also had fallen in love with the look of a stove I had seen in the showroom. Oh, excuse me, they aren't stoves anymore. This is an oven and cook top. It's actually three ovens, I think, or two ovens and a grill, or one oven and a warming oven and a grill or something like that. Since we almost never need the oven for more than one thing, it probably doesn't matter much.

LK and the sales guy did discuss a slightly larger cook top, but I was able to convince her that if she really was cooking a meal that needed 7 burners it was probably time to take everyone out to a restaurant.

Now that I think of it, this was all too easy. I mean the bit about us choosing the appliances that I liked. I can only speculate that around 2am every night, she has been whispering in my ear, "You really, really, really want the Kensington stove and the Samsung fridge." Either that, or after 25 years she has actually trained me to identify items that meet with her approval. But if that were true, she would let me buy my own clothes.

Before we left the store, we ended up adding a hood for the cook top and a dishwasher. "But our dishwasher works pretty well," I said. And I got a look that was half condescension and half pity-the-fool straight out of the Mr T playbook. "Donald, you can't buy all these beautiful black appliances and have an old, white dishwasher in there with them." I didn't really know why that was true, but from the tone of her voice, I knew I shouldn't ask any more questions. Besides, getting two things I wanted may have just been the luckiest shopping streak I've ever had with LK.

Our sales guy was pretty good on giving us discounts, and ended up knocking about 25% off the sticker price for everything. He then spent five minutes trying to get us to give it back to him by buying extended warranties. All told, though, LK was very happy with the results.

"DK, this is significantly below the budget I did," she said. I think this is directly related to the type of thinking that buying something you had no intention to buy is a good deal if it was on sale. But then, what do I know about shopping?

Yesterday the hard shopping work continued with sample day. And this really was one where I stood back and let the expert do her thing. First to FloorWorld, where we had to choose wood floors for the new kitchen. We somehow ended up moving straight to the top of the price range, but I am as much to blame for that as anyone. I really do love this bamboo floor. It's called "Coffee", and it should look fantastic.

So fantastic, in fact, that we have decided to extend it into the dining room. Since that room was probably going to be carpeted, I have a feeling that I won't be hearing too much about how well we are doing versus the budget on the flooring side.

We also needed to get some carpet samples for the family room. It was while shopping for the carpet that LK really showcased her skills as a shopper. There was a whole wall and a bit more with carpet samples. LK looked around and moved to one section in the middle. "I think this would be perfect," she said.

While she was comparing light brown with tan with slightly lighter brown, I compared prices. As you would expect, without even looking at the tags, my darling had chosen the most expensive carpets in the joint. Her instincts really are awesome.

We trudged out of FloorWorld with arms full of carpet and flooring samples. We later left the windows treatment store with samples, and of course, we had about 4 dozen color cards from the paint store.

It was at the paint store that I realized that I am not cut out for this sort of work. I really cannot see the difference between the close colors. And about the only thing I did enjoy was discovering that one of the most popular shades of white is called "Hog Bristle". It is hard to imagine most women I know telling their friends, "Oh yes, Hog Bristle was just the look we wanted for our lounge room." As you can tell, my mind was wandering.

Anyhow, we got it all home and brought all the samples to the room. "I'll leave you to it, then," I told LK. She looked quite hurt. "Aren't you going to help me make the decision?" she asked.

"Well, actually, you'll make a much better decision than I will," I said, "but even more, if you don't like my ideas you won't use them anyway."

"Well, yes, that's true," she said, "but I still want you to be part of the process."

I stayed. And her choices are going to look great.

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