Everyday Living

Making do with what we’ve got

When Future Husband and I shopped for our first home together, FH managed to get the most bang for the $120,000-130,000 price range that he was shopping with. We spent $123,000 on a 1967 ranch-style home that boasts 2,200 square feet. Not as new as some of the other homes we toured on one particularly warm Saturday when our realtor took us through about 8 houses that were in our price range. But this house was bigger, had a garage with a lean-to attached, a big basement and central air conditioning.

Our house was also one of the ugliest houses I had ever been in – carpeting in the kitchen! And not even the tasteful carpeting that my grandma and grandpa used to have in theirs. This carpet was green and most decidedly from the 1970s. I shared my sentiments with my honey when we were sitting in our realtor’s car, conversing about the houses we had seen so far that day and were about to tour a townhome.

“Honey, that is one of the fugliest houses I’ve ever been in,” I announced, feeling particularly candid and never wanting to tour another house ever again. That’s when FH told me that was the house that he wanted to plunk a down payment on.

Long story short, I told FH that there was no way and no how I’d live in that house if the green carpet in the kitchen wasn’t promptly pulled up and replaced with something more palatable. I didn’t care if we found the cheapest laminate possible, there was no way in hell I was spending more than a week in the house that fugly built without a new kitchen floor.

Well – I’ve said a lot of stupid things in my time – one of them was that I wanted a new kitchen floor more than I wanted an engagement ring. Well, FH and I have lived in the house for over a year now, I have the most beautiful ring in the world on my ring finger and guess what? I still have the 1970s green carpet that refuses to die, reminds me of something my grandma had when I was growing up and remarkably hides stains like you wouldn’t believe.

These days the carpet clashes violently with the latest shade of green to be introduced into my kitchen – a decidedly 2008 shade of green that reminds me something of Kermit the Frog and really good guacamole. FH is putting the finishing touches on the trim this weekend, we invested in some new drapes (on sale, 50% off from Shopko!) and a new light fixture that was installed by FH with much swearing and only half of the beer that I offered him as a conciliatory gesture since I can cook like Martha Stewart but am clueless when it comes to wiring crap properly.

As we were carpooling the other day, FH asked me if it was time to go to our local carpet place and pick out some laminate flooring that we had priced earlier this summer. My heart leapt. Could it be? I would have my engagement ring and new flooring? All in one year?

OK – so let me back up a moment and clue you in on how we work finances between my Future Husband and I. I pay FH $450 per month and I buy groceries (that’s about $100-200 per month depending how much I’m motivated to cook or if I’m feeling cheap and we’re living on pinto beans … really) and take care of the little expenses that crop up when running a household – stuff for the cat, laundry detergent, toothpaste, deodorant, etc. Otherwise, all of the rest of my money goes towards my car payment, student loan, credit card debt, the “dribbles” I can’t account for and gas for the Rattling Death Trap (RDT). (We also carpool and FH gives me money every now and then for gas or surprises me by filling up my car on the sly … he’s a good man.)

FH pays the other half of the mortgage, our cell bill, utilities, cable and Internet. (I don’t feel too bad about living with “free” cable and Internet because if I was living alone, I’d have neither and I would be able to cancel the cable without batting an eye – Internet … I might shed real tears first …) FH is also a saver by nature and every rebate, bonus, etc., gets squirreled away into his checking account for larger purchases like the furnace we bought this summer. And ideally, my new kitchen floor.

Dear readers, I know how lucky I am when it comes to the frugality of my better half and the fact that when it comes to stuff like buying flooring for our house – we’ll go to our local carpet store and he’ll pay cash for our purchase. And although FH has money in the bank, he will imagine every scenario possible about what that expense will mean if one of our cars breaks down or if he should need those funds for some emergency expense. And if it is prudent to make a purchase, FH will then worry over that expense until his bank balance is back to where it was before he spent his/our hard earned money.

So back to the kitchen floor. To pull up the carpet and replace it with wood laminate, we reckon we’ll spend between $1,500 to $2,000. And that’s using the lower end stuff, still lovely, but not anything that’s too extravagant or glamorous. Just good quality stuff that can last through our cat puking up hairballs and future children running amok across its surface.

FH and I have a daily ritual where he calls me over his lunch break. And yesterday he asked me if it was OK if we held off on the new floor until his new job was a sure thing. (FH currently works in a temp position and whereas his supervisors really want to hire him permanently and his job is supposedly budgeted for during first quarter 2009, it’s not a sure thing.)

Well – I’m no longer the girl who once declared that I wouldn’t live a week in our spacious house with unfortunate carpeting. I’m actually relieved that FH wants to hold off on the new floor. I know what he has in his checking account and it’s a goodly sum of money, but we can make do with the carpet that refuses to die until FH is hired on a permanent basis (and making about $3 more per hour.)

So honey – thank you for thinking of me and wanting to get us that beautiful new floor. But I love you and I love our safe life more than I could ever love laminate. I’m so glad that you chose me for your mate and I’m so glad that we get to spend the rest of our lives together.

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5 thoughts on “Making do with what we’ve got

  1. Nice story…I don’t think I could have waited this long to replace…but neither did you. Change the wall color to a golden yellow and it just may look trendy. Try to match it though!!

  2. I think it’s always nice to have something to look forward too…so it’s fine if the revamp has to be put off. Better to do it in the spring anyway right? 🙂

  3. Actually, I kind of like the carpet–cute cat, too! Although I’ve never actually seen carpeting in a kitchen, or heard of it, before this post!

    I have a green carpet from the 70s in an upstairs room in my house. It really isn’t what you would call attractive, but it softens the floor and stays in the background. I kind of like it. It doesn’t have patterns on it like yours though.

  4. Thanks. 🙂 We think he’s pretty cute too. (Then again, so does he …)

    An interesting story about the laminate flooring – when we went into our local retailer to find an idea of what we were looking for, she agreed that our carpet was pretty darn ugly, but she also said that we would really miss how warm carpet keeps your feet on cold winter mornings and how it greatly reduces sound. So … as much as I gripe about the carpet, there are some very significant pluses for keeping it.

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