You get what you pay for

File this under: some people (like me) never learn.

I know why I don’t do this very often. I have friends who are always renovating something in their houses. I don’t know how they do it.

The nightmare intensified big time yesterday. So, first off, my contractor started the day by going under the house. Never a fun thing: 18″ crawl space and pretty yucky. Shored up a couple of spots and then started inside.

Spent all day on the threshold between the two rooms. I always knew the living room was the original camp, 11.5×11, but it never occurred to me that under the floor was a big hole for a doorway. So, of course, that meant they had to fill it in with something to build the addition. Well, “have to” is not really accurate. They could’ve just left it open and let it sag every time you walk on it. But, they didn’t. They actually filled it in with something. Surprise on West Island.

I always joked that my house was thrown up one weekend in May with a bunch of beer and a pile of wood found around the neighborhood.

Who knew it wasn’t a joke? Mr. Mazzolini told me, 18 years ago when I first got here, that he remembered when the owners of the lot decided to build. He said the Mr. walked over (beer in hand no doubt) and said he’d like to build a house for the Mrs. So they did. And I’m still dealing with it about 55 years later.

This is a piece of wood used for covering up the hole where the door used to be. That, my Dear Readers, is buckshot. Yup…your guess is as good as mine as to where it came from or how it got there. If it could only talk, huh?


So, after my contractor rebuilt the “transition” space, we opened boxes and started to lay the stuff out on the floor. The first box of my $1.99-per-square-foot engineered wood had cracked piece after cracked piece and knots with big holes and a lot of really small pieces….a lot of them.

Uh oh.

Open another box, start sorting through. Make three piles: the flawless stuff, the stuff with “character,” and the stuff we’re not using.

Guess which pile was biggest.

[heavy sigh]

But, we’re troopers. We don’t give up easily. Hell, he went under the house, 18″ crawl space. We can do this. We can, I know we can, I know we can.

Snap together. Cool. Looks good. It works.

Snap another piece, oh yeah, good choice on the color. We’re good. It’s engineered wood, not that laminate-plastic stuff. Engineered wood can be sanded, this one up to three times. We’re putting it near the wood stove so if coals fly out it won’t smell like I’m burning the Tupperware.




Not exactly.

Snap in place and….all the others unsnap. Say what?

Damn. No way were those pieces staying together. At that point, I had three of the five boxes opened, so, even if it wasn’t a clearance item, I can’t take those back. No way can I pack them up the way they were, either.

[heavy sigh]

My contractor just sat on the floor getting angrier and angrier.

Now, bear in mind that at that point I’m about as tired as it gets, was up until 2 a.m. painting (I used to be a good painter) and then up at 7. Five hours sleep and a hot July day make Aunty Bethy a grouch!

So I just said let’s call it a wash, a lesson learned. Let’s just go to Home Cheapo and buy something else, right now. A big apology to my advertisers ( for not using one of them, but sometimes you’ve just gotta do what you’ve got to do. It was 7:30 p.m. and we could not wait. Not…another…minute.

So, off to Home Cheapo, a detailed conversation with the young man in flooring and bought the Pergo brand; not the top of the line, but pretty good at $3.49 per square foot. Literally five times what I had planned on spending for the floor when I started. But I had decided I didn’t want that really cheap, thin stuff that was just printed on. So, I ended up with the thicker, better stuff that’s still plastic and still printed on.

Live and learn, maybe.

In any case, it looks good. In just one morning he’s got the first room just about done.


Anyone want to buy some nice Hickory Spice engineered wood floor? It looks great in the box. It’s only $1.99 a square foot, and I won’t even charge you the sales tax!

Until next time, then…

4 thoughts on “You get what you pay for”

  1. Too bad you didn’t have enough of the buckshot wood to re-floor the place with it. Now THAT’s character!

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