Saturday, April 11, 2009

Ginger Ale and Failed Flooring

Most who know me know that I don't like ginger ale. The reason for this is because when we were little and had an upset stomach, my mom would always give us ginger ale. So to me, ginger ale tastes like the stomach bug. So why have I been sipping ginger ale? You guessed it, stomach bug. Well, I don't even know if I would say "bug." More like maybe something I ate. I haven't really been able to put my finger on it and I'll spare you the details, but the good news is I'm feeling a little better today.

Yesterday was a bust in general. We had Empire come over to give us an estimate on flooring for our main level. We want a dark wood all the way through. So the guy came and was really nice. He showed us some samples and we saw one we really liked. He did his measuring and then gave us the estimated price. Now, we didn't have any solid numbers in mind as our expectation here. We hadn't done any serious measuring ourselves, and weren't really sure what to expect for installation fees and all that. One might wonder, how can you be surprised when you don't have any expectation to begin with? The answer to that is: you can be surprised with the number $8,900.00. Right? Admit it, you're surprised right now! As were we. Sensing our surprise, he quickly threw out another number that he called "a significant discount" -- $6,500.00. Really? Josh and I kind of stated that that number was a little better, but that we would have to talk it over. At that, he then said that actually, if a few things lined up, and he wasn't sure they would, but he could potentially give us the whole shebang for $4,900.00. We left it with a big fat, "we'll have to get back to you."

O.M.G. We were no where near prepared for numbers like that. I hate to say it, but we had been to Lowes and Home Depot and we knew better. I even said something about the per-square-foot price on flooring at those places and the Empire guy claimed that those prices don't include anything... like quarter round. Sorry dude, I'll happily install my own quarter round. As soon as he left we did our own quick measurements to get a rough square-footage estimate and went straight to Lowes and Home Depot. While we didn't find anything there that we were immediately crazy about, we chose samples that came close and did the math. Then we added on installation fees. The numbers were in the ball park of $2,000-3,000 TOTAL. We didn't actually talk with anyone at Lowes or Home Depot to ask what the installation process involved (tear out of old floor? moving of furniture? moving of bathroom fixtures?), and what would be up to us to do. But really, I can't imagine that anything wouldn't be worth the $3,000-5,000 savings.

So while we thought we'd be getting a great deal from Empire -- since their commercials claim factory-direct pricing and 60% off sales -- it turns out you pay more than the difference in their installation fees. I know people who have installed this flooring themselves (it's just laminate wood), so I know that it can't be such a precise and complicated process that only the pros can handle it. I don't want to do it ourselves because of the time it would take and I have heard that it's hard work, but the bottom line is I'm not willing to pay thousands of dollars for something that could potentially be done by amateurs. The biggest bummer is that the Empire guy had a floor that we actually really liked and we weren't able to find anything we loved at either Lowes or Home Depot. Actually one thing we did really like at Lowes was real hard wood. It was a little more expensive, but I just don't think it's practical for this house and for the welcoming of small children. I'm not interested in having to refinish my floors every few years, or to have to obsess over them and not let the kids be kids. FUN is way more important than floor care.

At this point, I've kept down a few ounces of Gatorade and two pieces of toast. We have decided to stay home and recover as opposed to attending a large family Easter dinner in PA. I think I'm going to give showering a go and hopefully will feel even better once I'm clean!

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