Saturday, July 18, 2009

No Habla Espanol

In the past week I have made one trip to Home Depot, five trips to Menard's, and four trips to Lowe's looking at bathroom cabinetry. The only choice we have made is the medicine cabinet and I am not so sure that will work.

On our first stop at Menard's Jon pointed to a (shiny) white vanity and said, "That's it". I HATED IT. I Hated it. I thought it looked like something you would put in a cheap redo of a Super 8 motel room. Did I say I Hated it? We hit an impasse and he remarked we should forget doing the bathroom.
Jon has shopped with me before. He knows I am a pain in the neck and can't make decisions easily. He knows I get buyer's remorse about decisions I make. He remembers the first living room furniture we bought when we got married. We bought an avocado green French provincial couch and gold brocade chair that we compromised on. It turned out neither of us got our first choice and didn't much like the compromise. We had to live with that furniture a good 12 years. Remember avocado and gold were 70's colors and that part wasn't too bad, but French provincial brocade? Not our taste. But I am never sure what my taste is.
At this point I decided it would be better if one of us got something we really liked and since he really liked the white one we should buy that. Why compromise on something neither like. It took me a day to come to this conclusion. He said I should chose what I want. Just pick something. That should have made me happy, but now all the weight of making a decision was on my shoulders. Who would I blame if I didn't like the outcome? It is a wonder we have been married 41 years. It is a wonder we both decided to get married in the first place. Good thing love helps. Marriage is a much bigger decision than which couch or bathroom vanity to pick but I think I agonize more over these decisions.
I hate shopping. I am not good at visualizing how things will look in place. The considerations are cost, fitting everything in the space we have and both of us liking it. It would be easy if I could turn this over to a bathroom planner or decorator and say "Show me something ideas", but this is a 70's tract house and I don't want to spend $20,000 on a redo. I really don't want to do that since our IRA's crashed last fall.

I am tired of trips to home stores and decided to look at the assortment of brochures we have collected. I wish I had marked which stores they came from. I can't remember. The first one I picked up I couldn't even read. Everything was in Spanish. I decided that was from Lowe's. When they built our local Lowe's a couple years ago, locals groused because all the signage was in Spanish and English. Hello. Isn't this America? Isn't this Minnesota? And isn't this Stillwater where we are still a pretty pale population? Because Lowe's is a national chain, I would guess they plan stores alike across the country and a lot of people speak Spanish. Maybe when they realize how many people in Minnesota's small towns now speak Somali and various other languages the signs will have even more choices.
I am becoming like a lot of other Americans who think the newer residents better learn English. Anyway, I groaned because I couldn't decipher what the brochure said. Then I saw you had to flip it over to see the descriptions in English. As if I wasn't having enough of a bad time trying to find something we could afford that fit, that we could agree on..... I couldn't even read the catalogue! Time for empathy and mercy. Maybe it is kind of Lowe's to put up Spanish signs. How can Spanish speaking people shop there if they can't read the signs? I think I understand their dilemma.

Next I decided to do a mock up of how an 84in. tall linen storage cabinet would look in our space. Jon thinks it should go to the left of the vanity. I think it might look better to the right. I created a simile by stacking boxes on top of the counter. I asked him what he thought and without dropping a beat he said, "It looks boxy". Funny, but not helpful. I think it would work to the right but it would cover the light switch. Where would we move the room light switch? It belongs on the wall as you enter the room. You can't just hide it somewhere. The linen storage cabinet isn't going to work. Hmmmm. Back to the brochure. Back to the store. Maybe I will brush up on my high school Spanish and a clerk at Lowe's will take pity on me and plan this damn bathroom.

Picture: Mock-up of linen cabinet leaning right.

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