Marriage is an endless stream of compromises—for those of us into conscious coupling, as opposed to those of us who are married and unconscious. Does that make any sense?
Todd and I went shopping for tiles on Saturday afternoon.
You need to understand, my Uncle Gordy tiled our bathrooms over forty years ago. Each tile had been so carefully laid it was a big deal for me to consider having them replaced.
Todd was set on a bathroom upgrade.
We have two bathrooms side by side. It was originally one large bath that Dad converted to suit a family of six when he renovated the house in 1970. The boys and the girls we called them. Todd and I bought the house from my parents when they downsized to a condo in 2004. It’s been a project for Todd to keep up, but I think it’s worth it.
He wanted me to go tile shopping at Menard’s. I wasn’t too excited about that but when he proposed lunch at Colectivo beforehand, and a stop at Banana Republic afterwards, I was up for it.
The parking lot was packed with cars and people—Menard’s is a happening place on Saturdays. And friendly. We were greeted with smiles and welcomes as we entered the monster of a store. I noticed Chocolate Fudge Trail Mix on display and picked it up thinking it would make shopping more fun but remembered we had just had lunch and put it back.
We were headed towards the shower heads aisle when I stopped and admired an array of Swiffles. Don’t ask me why. I never dust. I decided I really wanted a Swiffle ceiling duster with an extended arm to use on the third floor which, as noted above, I have never dusted. Not in the ten years we have owned our house. “You’re an ADD shopper,” Todd said and pulled me along.
Once we picked out the shower head and were finally advancing towards the tile department, I happened upon a lovely display of really large packages of Bounty paper towels. I decided we needed one. “Look! A bounty of Bounty!” I said as I heaved one from the top. It filled our entire cart, leaving no room for the upcoming tiles, but that hadn’t dawned on me yet. Todd kept walking.
I had a white bathroom in mind—white tiles, white towels, white candles. Todd was set on a matte finished light tan which he said better matched the rest of the house.
“That’s too light,” he kept telling me as I pointed to the tiles I liked.
“Oh, look here!” I got excited. “I’ve always wanted a bathroom like this.” Black and white glossy squares.
“We’ll need to get a new house for those.”
“It can be my own little corner. Who’s going to care?”
“The next buyer maybe?” Todd is always practical.
He wanted the new tiles to match up with the ones he had put into the ‘boys’ bathroom last year. He had picked them out and hauled all five hundred pounds of boxes up the stairs himself. Once they were laid there was no turning back but neither one of us was sure about them. Too dark, we thought. Fortunately they lightened up after the grout was added.
A nice young salesman named Marcus helped us figure out quantity as we settled on a tile color. Todd quickly stuffed my Bounty into one of the shelves. I told Marcus I thought Menard’s must be a nice place to work as I retrieved it. He agreed, and shared that he was in his final semester of studying Architectural Technology at MATC. Todd was busy loading boxes into our cart as I stood there with the Bounty. Marcus said he’d get us a flat.
With the Swiffle and Bounty on top of the tiles, we made our way to checkout where I discovered a rack full of dark chocolate covered berries. I couldn’t decide between pomegranate or blueberry so I got both. I opened the blueberries while Todd started checking us out.
This is when he discovered we were two boxes short and left me there with a stern looking man in line behind. I introduced myself to Melba, our cashier, and started handing her our items, bar code up, to speed things along. When Todd hadn’t returned, I paid for two extra boxes of tiles. Melba circled the rebate number on our receipt and directed me to the customer service counter to fill out our 11% mail-in rebate.
It’s good to have a bag of chocolate along for distraction when you’re waiting around with a 6′ x 4′ flat and cart in tow at a crowded Menard’s.
Todd finally appeared, telling me they were out of our tiles. Then just as fast as he had reappeared he disappeared again. “Maybe they have some in the back,” I heard him call back to me.
We should have gone with the black and white squares.
I noticed Melba smiling at me as I tried to stay out of everyone’s way. I smiled back. Todd arrived with the two boxes when Melba was in the middle of a big order. I watched her make sure the cashier next to her knew we had already paid for them.
I was a little nostalgic about leaving Menard’s as I pulled the flat to the car. Goodbye Melba, I thought. Good luck with your new career Marcus.
As I write this story, the Swiffle lays in the hall resting on the floor waiting for someone to put it away.
I’m thinking about opening it up and clicking the extended arm into place after I straighten out my closet this morning. But the sun is out. I might go for a run first….
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I enjoyed the story because i do the same thing when I shop with John. It made me smile. I also love black and white tile.
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