Thursday, December 08, 2005

Do-It-Yourself Bissette, at it again...

Well, I began the day at 7 AM at Home Depot. Mike in the flooring department at the Brattleboro store took instant care of me, though my adaptability (within the parameters of "this gets solved today") certainly made it easier.

I'd pretty much resolved myself to the likely inevitability of my tiling or painting the floor and laying commercial carpet sections (the prefab ones with rubber edges) and maybe glue down one or two larger carpet cuts for the two major work areas. Aside from my decisive "this gets done today" urgency, adding to that decision was the impending arrival of the first major snow of the season tomorrow (they're predicting 6 to 8", maybe more in our higher elevation). The only door allowing access to the new room is down around the back of the house, and I've been scrambling on every stage of completion in hopes of beating the snow. Had the carpet installation last night been successful, we'd have just made it -- alas, the race is over. The back door will be pretty much inaccessible once we get major snowfall, and the one narrow tightass stairway downstairs won't allow for the kind of carpetlength needed. Old Man Winter wins on that count.

Besides, I've had it. I wasn't going to drag ass for another two or more weeks, waiting for installation (which should have been completed last night in any case).

So, while it's snowing tomorrow (and I welcome being 'snowed in' for the time being), I want to be pulling together my work space -- at last.

Mike quickly established that (1) the carpet installers were right last night: the mill had shipped the wrong size special order (17 square yards were inexplicably shipped instead of the 21 square yards ordered & paid for); (2) the carpet installers were too backed up to install an 'FI' (Fast Installation) substitute this morning, or any time soon; quickly arriving at (3) Home Depot would deal with the mill and any loss, promptly refunded my prepayment on the spot.

Having shown up with a carefully detailed drawn scale floor plan, with all the standing shelving units, etc. specified with measurements of all the possible alternatives, Mike and I pieced together the best short-order plan possible for one such as myself who had no space or time to see to a home installation on my own of a proper wall-to-wall carpet.

In the end, concrete floor paint, five pre-fab commercial floormat lengths, and two cut-to-fit carpet sections (with the needed adhesive and carpet cutter and painting gear) is what I went home with at 9 AM. This all cost about $50 less than I'd prepaid, so a Home Depot credit awaits our future home needs.

Though this was a rather simple $200+ carpet-and-installation gig, bear in mind Marj and I have spent over $30,000 with Home Depot over the past three+ years on our home (that said, we also spent much more than that on local contractors and about that with local businesses, too). I stated this clearly in the first few minutes of polite, pleasant and ultimately productive conversation with Mike. So, customer satisfaction was utmost in his and everyone else's mind during my time there this morn. I made it easy, having worked out a back-up 'do it myself' plan, but nonetheless it was a good feeling to pull into my driveway at 9:30 AM with everything I need to finish the job myself by tomorrow afternoon (two coats of paint with 24 hours drying per coat is the slow down, but meant I could skip self-adhesive tiling -- unlikely to work well, given the slight irregularities of the poured concrete floor surface -- and just seal the floor completely via the proper paint job).

The first coat of paint is down and drying as I type this. Second coat goes on tonight before I go to bed (after my return from a trip north with my amigo Mark 'Sparky' Whitcomb to visit our ol' Johnson State College compadre Dave Booz). So, I'll be slapping down the second coat of paint after midnight, and most likely laying the carpet by tomorrow afternoon.

One way or another, I'm finally writing and drawing in my new digs this weekend.
Wednesday night closeout: A bummer --

I was hoping before this hour to be posting the news of my studio/workspace completion.

Well, after a looooong day of waiting for the carpet installation -- nada. The process that began November 12th and that was paid for & scheduled for today ended with -- well, let's see. We selected the carpet, gave the rough measurement (it's just a single 8' x 20' 6" room), signed for and paid the deposit 11/12. The measuring pro turned up the Saturday before Thanksgiving, and everything was finalized and paid in full on the 23rd. The installation had to wait until the carpet arrived at the Massachusetts installation firm, which was last Thursday; today (December 7th) was the soonest they could schedule our job.

So, I cleared the room anew, swept and double-swept the floor, wrapped all the bookcase bases with plastic to protect everything, make the installation space as neat and easy as possible. Shoveled the front step and a path around to the back of the house, where the back entrance is. It was snowing lightly all day, so I gave it another shoveling before dark. (We've also delayed the final necessary task -- the installation of the hot-water heat baseboard -- until the carpet is in place.)

It kicked off today with a phone call from Home Depot promising installation between 9 AM and 1 PM; revised an hour later to between 3 PM and 7 PM; revised about 5 PM to "on the far side of 7 PM"; come 9 PM, as Marge and I were about to turn out the lights and turn in for the night, the phone rang. The installation crew from Springfield, MA were sitting in their van on the road just above our driveway, asking if they were at the right house. "C'mon in!"

They were here maybe two minutes. "This carpet is too small," they announced, "you gonna have to wait for a new one, someone messed up. I'll call you tomorrow" -- and they departed. Like, fast.

I've laid in bed for about and hour and a half without sleeping, finally got up and rechecked all measurements (including any cuts for the bookshelving), drew out the floor plan with all the particulars in place, and I'm going to find someone somewhere tomorrow who can do this -- hopefully before the weekend.

It's gonna take a little longer...