Thursday, August 26, 2010

Consider this, consider that, Consider-it

We are to day four of our week long floor renovation project. We were going to start Monday and jumped right in last week, pulling carpet out so the painters would have a clean slate. This put us a full 2 days ahead of schedule. This is good news for all , especially the Buddha meister Meister Buddha who I know is hoping to get in at least 1 day of surfing during his week of leave before he leaves.

A few months ago we helped our neighbors lay laminate down in their house, considering it a dry run and experience gained for when we did our own floors. We also kinda figured that if we were helpful enough, they wouldn't mind lending us their saws and tools for completing the job. Not only were we provided with the tools, but 4 extra hands, meals and childcare while we have worked to get everything finished. They expect nothing back and just help out because they like to. Yesterday as I painted trim and my neighbor walked by for the third time to tell me my technique was flawed, I got to thinking. First of all , the trim in all of the houses here is called Swiss Coffee. Now, one would visualize that such color would be a very light brownish color. One would be incorrect. It is white. If you have ever wandered into a home improvement store or seen a painter's wheel- you know that there are a gajillion shades of white. One of them apparently is swiss coffee. So there I was, painting white on white, getting critiqued for my technique. The only way I could tell what I had actually painted was to bend down to where the light reflected off the trim and look for the dull spots.  My solution to the criticism was to criticize right back. If you know me, you know that if I like you, I'll give you shit- otherwise I don't bother.  I had a friend's husband ask her once- Jen stuck her tongue out at me and made a face, why would she do that? Considering we were in formal attire at the time, I guess it may have seemed out of place. But of course she told him- That's Jen, it just means she likes you. And sometimes I apparently have the maturity of a five year old, which makes sense because that is my current audience.

We have run across lots of choices and considerations whilest we have been flooring. First was the flooring choice itself. For months I have been pondering what I want. We are not going to be in this house forever, so it's got to be affordable. I finally picked out an option. They didn't have enough in stock. Phil has one week off and is leaving in a couple weeks, so we are limited to what's on hand. We were at the 4th store of our shopping experience. Ok, what about this model? Nope not enough in that choice either. All right which floor do you have enough in stock of?  This one.  Ok, we'll take it. The story of my life. And it looks great. Things have a way of working out that way.

Day 3, we are trying to procure caulking and glue and trim to put around the purdy new floor. The caulking we need is on the highest shelf at Home Depot. Our neighbor has generated a theory about home improvement projects and competing wharehouses and the inability to get any job done without visiting BOTH places. I tend to agree. We have also become huge fans  of Lowe's here on the aina. We would shop there exclusively from here on out if our neighbor's theory wasn't in fact correct- but so far it has proven to be. But I digress, we were trying to get the caulk down. Phil, who met me at the store on his way back from work, is in uniform. He looks for a ladder. Nope. Two employees are chatting across the way as he looks for a ladder. They do not break their conversation as he stands by them patiently not wanting to interrupt. Finally he gives up, comes back and just scales the wall and tosses the box down to me. It was amazing how fast one of the two employees who couldn't take a break in their conversation to acknowledge a customer jumped over to "help".  As soon as Phil was down, he walked away without a word. We get to the checkout and Phil asks if they have a military discount. FYI- both Home Depot and Lowes have military discounts that are standing- you have to ask for it and show ID. If you are standing there in uniform, they will not give it to you, you have to have ID. So the checkout girl asks Phil for his ID and he gives me that look. I just snort, because it seemed like the appropriate response. He shows her the ID. We then proceed to Lowe's to get the remainder of our necessities that HD did not have. We get what we need and again are at checkout. As the girl rings him up, Phil asks for the military discount. She asks for his ID. I giggle. She actually leaves the register to get a manager's approval for the discount and the cashier next to her leans over- You'd think the uniform would be enough wouldn't ya?  You would think.  But policy is policy. I get that. I don't get crappy customer service. Everyone has bad days. But somewhere along the line we have lost the fine art of faking it. I am surrounded by fake lips, boobs and nails. Jailbroken this, just like the real thing that. We went through great pains to get real fake floor that looks like real wood. I mean technically it is wood that's been processed to paper and then squooshed together real good, so it is all natural in the most liberal sense of the word- kinda like cheetos being all natural.  Damn I keep digressing. My point is- what ever happened to common courtesy?  You have singletons in their 30's who have never abandoned their selfishness a second long enough to commit to anything or anyone, ranting on and on how people don't know how to parent or control their kids in public. You have parents running around in public, afraid they'll either be hauled off to jail or damage the fragile psyche of their child if they discipline them and they are miraculously supposed to learn self control by the time they are adults. I may live on an island, but I have learned that the old adage is true- no man is an island. Our lives interconnect and will continue to do so. You can choose how your worlds interconnect. You can choose positive over negative. Next time you are in a store and a child is struggling, remember it's a child. Instead of judging or commenting to the mother, smile or talk to the child. Make them aware that you are aware of them. Accountability. Next time your child is running amok, reign them in no matter how tired you are. Apologize to bystanders. Respect. Common courtesy. Remember that everyone has bad days. The only thing stopping your bad day from turning into a good one is your outlook.

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