Saturday, June 10, 2006

How I embarrassed myself three times with one purchase

One part of my new house that I plan to keep substantially the same as when it was my grandmother's house is the kitchen. The kitchen worked, and worked well. But I will be doing it with new furnishings, since the kitchen table and chairs are an heirloom hand-finished by my uncle and my grandfather (and the chairs were always too spindly for my tastes, anyway) that are now passing on to my aunt, as is the pantry cabinet.

There had always been a rocker next to the stove. The original rocker that I remembered my grandfather sitting in smoking his pipe after Sunday breakfast is long gone, replaced about 15 years ago by a more brutish model painted an ugly pinkish-gray. That rocker is now stored in a room upstairs. I wanted to get a rocker of my own to put in this spot.

On Closing Day I went on a shopping expedition to buy things for the house that I knew were on sale: fans, a steel chair, a kitchen cart. I stopped in the Country Junction in Wilkes-Barre Township just for the hell of it - I figured that they wouldn't have anything I would want immediately, but it would be a good place to look around for ideas down the road. I quickly came across exactly the living room suit that I wanted even before I knew I wanted it. While making a sweep of the back area, I also spotted a rocker for only $39.

I tried it out. It fit me just right. I leaned back, and my head rested comfortably against the high back. Perfect. I'll take it.

Only I couldn't. There's only so much stuff you can fit in a Tercel.

Fast forward to yesterday. I had a plan: hit the Country Junction for the rocker, cross the road to the Wyoming Valley Mall to get the latest copy of Wizard with a Borders/Waldenbooks Gift Card that I got as a cashback bonus from Discover Card, and then go down the road the Home Depot for paint swatches and storm door brochures. One, two, three, in and out, nobody gets hurt.

I arrived at Country Junction. I went in to buy the chair.

Embarrassment #1: I couldn't find the chair. The display chair was still there, but I couldn't find any boxes of chairs for sale. Surely the big flat things next to the display model did not contain rockers? They did. I had looked at the box, but not hard enough - the picture label was on the underside.

Embarrassment #2: Two of the girls who work at the Country Junction carried the chair out for me. I could have carried both of them around on my shoulders, and they did this thing for me. Which I suppose is just as well - a big, flat box like that is a pretty awkward thing for one person to handle, and I would probably blow my back out trying to do it. (I'll find this out soon when I try to get it out of my car.)

Embarrassment #3: They had me bring around my little Tercel to see if we could get the box to fit. My little, tiny, crap-filled Tercel. Suddenly the issue wasn't whether we could get the box through the door of the car - we could - but how many empty water bottles and church bulletins and other assorted bits of accumulated crap we would have to move to clear a place for the box. (Answer: a lot.)

The rest of the trip was unembarrassing. And I saw a huge double rainbow when I got to the Home Depot. I just hope I don't run into those girls from the Country Junction again. I feel like saying what Lenny from The Simpsons said when his house blew open to reveal him sitting at a table in his underwear eating from a can: "Please don't tell anyone how I live."

Maybe I should just clean out my car.

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