Murphy’s Law by Valerie J. Patterson

Have you ever had one of those days where you feel like you never should have gotten out of bed? Or at the very least never left the house? This morning, as I looked down at the hardwood floor in my kitchen, I was reminded of one such day when my husband and I moved into the home we now reside in.  After the closing, we rigorously began making some renovations in order to give it our own personal touch.

We’d painted the kitchen, selected a lovely wall border for the very top, and then decided we should replace the flooring. After making several rounds to such stores as Home Depot, Lowes, and several flooring stores, we settled on laying down a new hardwood floor by ourselves. They call it a floating floor because the flooring is not nailed or glued down, but rather has an interlocking tongue and groove system that makes it the perfect choice for do-it-yourselfers like us.

So, after browsing aisle upon aisle of hardwood flooring by more manufacturers than we ever knew existed, we settled on a lovely solid oak flooring. I scoured the nearby aisles for a handcart in order to load up our many boxes of flooring then excitedly pushed it down the aisle where Steve waited for me. He bends down to the bottom shelf (if that’s what you can call the spaces in home improvement stores where products are stacked on skids and pallets) where our selection is supposed to be supplied only to find out someone has stocked that area with the wrong product.

After I hail down an employee, he laughs at our request and says, “Yeah, we’re supposed to have a skid of that somewhere around here, but no one has been able to locate it in a week. You’re like the third couple in two days to ask for it.”

We nod.

“If you need anything else, just ask,” he says and then he disappears down another aisle.

I look at Steve and he says, “And so the process begins again.”

Scouring the aisles again, we spy a very popular name brand of hardwood flooring that’s been clearanced. Steve opens one of the boxes that’s previously been opened by another customer and pulls out several hardwood boards, assembles them, and lays them on the floor. I instantly admire the deep, rich stain of the wood and it’s highly polished polyurethane finish and declare, “I like this even better than the other one that they can’t seem to locate.”

Steve shakes his head at my reminding him of our previous selection and agrees that the color is more what we were looking for. So we’re both in agreement and I go to the aisle where we left the handcart, retrieve it, and rejoin him only to notice a deep scowl on his face.

“What?” I ask.

“It would appear the pricing label is in the wrong place. The product that we like is actually several hundred dollars more per square foot than we were hoping to spend.”

“How can that be?” I ask dumbfounded that yet another product in this place has been misplaced.

“Easy. See the arrow?”

I nod.

“The product on sale is this.” And he holds up two huge planks of wood that are sort of orange in color and truly ghastly.


Steve nods. “I kinda thought you’d say that.”

So the search begins again. The guy who can’t locate the skid of the hardwood we want to buy crosses our path again and asks if he can help. We explain what we’re looking for and he shows us his favorite line of hardwood flooring. Instantly, I find a shade of stain very similar to the one we thought was on sale and I show it to Steve.

“Yeah, that will work.”

And we’re in agreement.

Steve reaches for an installation guide and begins reading. “We need to keep looking,” he informs me.


“This only has a 10 year life-time warranty and it has to be glued down. I want to avoid gluing the flooring because if one plank gets damaged I’d have to tear up the whole floor to replace it. With the floating floor, I can replace planks with minimal aggravation.”


I sit down on the handcart I’ve been luggin behind me and Steve sets a small packet of brads on it, and we have a chuckle that we need a handcart for a packet of brads.

Two hours later, we’re still looking at hardwood flooring only now we have several sections of flooring put together and scattered here and there throughout the aisle where we’re looking. Employees have now avoided our section of the store for at least 45 minutes. One guy even put up a barrier at one end that said the aisle was closed.

Yeah, Steve and I got a real chuckle out of that one.


Okay, so finally, we settle on a lighter shade than we had originally intended and in wider planks than we had originally intended and I once more lug the handcart over to where we think the product is stored. I smile as I realize there are mountains of the product sitting on the very bottom skid and I can actually visualize us leaving the store this time.

Steve reaches down and hefts two cartons of hardwood flooring onto the handcart. We need six cartons. He reaches for another and I stop him.

“That says antique pine on it,” I point out dismally. “We’re looking for oak honey.”

Steve grunts his agreement and shoves the two cartons he had aside, reaches for two more and realizes that they are all antique pine.

“Some of the cartons are in there backward,” I suggest hopefully. “Perhaps they’re oak honey?”

Again, Steve grunts and commences turning the cartons around to read the labels. “All antique pine.”

I throw up my hands and declare tiles of linoleum are the way to go.

“Now hold on,” Steve says levelly. “I want hardwood flooring. This is my project.”

I look at my watch. “Okay, but the store closes in 4 hours.”

“Very funny.”

And the process begins again.

After looking up and down the aisles yet again, we return to the oak honey. To the two lonely cartons of oak honey.

“We’ve been here before,” I inform him.

“Let me ask that guy over there if perhaps they have a skid of it in the back or something.”

I laugh. Our roles are reversed. Usually, I am the one who’s optimistic to the point Steve grits his teeth and grins, trying to be patient with me. Now, I am the one who says if there is a skid of it somewhere, chances are no one knows where it’s hiding and asking will be futile.

Steve doesn’t waiver.

He leaves me in the aisle with the handcart still holding a packet of brads. No salespeople can be found, but to their dismay, there’s a pole at the end of one aisle that allows customers to flip a switch and a voice comes over the loudspeaker announcing there are customers in the hardwood flooring needing immediate help.

A young man approaches. He’s heard the rumors that there is a mad couple in that section of the store. He tentatively shifts his gaze from Steve to me and back to Steve.

“Can I help you?” he asks timidly.

“There appears to only be two cartons of oak honey flooring here. I need six. Can you tell me if you have more?”

Again, his gaze shifts from Steve to me and back to Steve. He’s almost afraid to say they’re either out of it or have misplaced it. My hand wraps tighter around the handle of the handcart. I’m calculating in my head the height of this skinny salesperson verses the velocity with which I can run him over with the handcart.

He sees that glint in my eyes.

I smell fear in the air.

I see fear in his eyes.

He grins. “Yeah, I’ve got a skid of that stuff on the very top of the aisle. Can you wait a minute while I get a lift to get it down?”

“Sure,” Steve replied.

I just grin, relax my grip on the handle of the handcart, and draw a deep breath.

The young man has escaped.

Ten minutes later, six cartons of flooring are on the cart along with a pull-bar, spacers, underlayment, and that single packet of brads. At the check out counter I nearly expect to see the employees lined up cheering us on as we checkout. I’m certain I saw a few come out of hiding as I pushed the handcart to the register.

The salesgirl is ogling our flooring. Going on about what a lovely choice we’ve made. Steve makes small talk while I mutter incoherently to myself.

It’s over.

It’s finally over.


So sorry this is late being posted.  I had a blond moment last night and forgot to post it and set a timer.  I hope you enjoyed this blog.  Until next time, take care and enjoy each day!    Valerie


12 responses to “Murphy’s Law by Valerie J. Patterson

  1. Oh Valerie- I feel your pain- I would have totally left the store after the 1st fiasco- you have way more patience than I do. By the way, how does it look once it’s diwn on yout floor at home?

    • Valerie J. Patterson

      It was definitely the right choice to make. It’s so easy to care for, too. The kitchen looks so much better with the hardwood floor. We liked it so well, we laid additional flooring in one of the guest bedrooms. Steve wants to pull up the carpeting down our hallway and put in the hardwood flooring there, too. I couldn’t get over the difference it made to the kitchen. Much better than carpeting or tile. It really enlarged the room and made it brighter, but it also gave it an updated look. The room is already larger than most kitchens, but the new flooring just enhanced it so much.

  2. I agree with Jillian about the patience thing. I’d have been in the car stewing long before my husband ever left the store. lol What a hilarious (now) story. I loved that you persevered and have enjoyed those hardwood floors ever since. Well done! 🙂

    • Valerie J. Patterson

      You don’t understand, Laurie, it was either endure or return and I definitely did not want to return any day soon and look for flooring again! lol

      If that last sales associate hadn’t produced the four additional boxes we needed, he may never have been heard from ever again!

  3. LOL, Val I would have been long gone. The hubby, too. He would have gone staright to the computer to locate it at a different store.

    • Valerie J. Patterson

      Hey Juls! Thanks for dropping by and reading. I think Steve was determined not to let the store defeat him! But the whole experience certainly proved excellent fodder for a blog article! =)

  4. Yikes, like the others I would have left the store for another one. And, you’re scaring me. We just finished removing wallpaper and painting all but one room in the house. In fact still not finished. Our next project is to replace two bedrooms, and a baths floor. I want hardwood but Jack is opting for tile. Neither of us wants carpet again. But after this wall treatment project I’m thinking next year for the floors. And after reading your experience next year is looking even better.

    • Valerie J. Patterson

      Wow, Lavada, you guys have been very busy. I’m sure not all flooring experiences are this rough! lol

      If Jack is up to the task, the hardwood flooring is beautiful when done. It just adds to the room so much. Not only that, but it adds to the market value of your home as well. One bit of advice, get the flooring that already has the underlayment attached to each section of flooring. Otherwise, the task is much more tedious because you’re constantly stretching and pulling and straightening the underlayment so the flooring lays straight and firm and beautiful.

  5. Patience and persistence personified! Hope the finished product once in place brings lots of pleasure!

  6. Well done Valerie for actually sticking with it. I did wonder if you would go to another store and the same thing happen there. I know my husband would have stormed out 🙂 It just shows perseverance pays!

  7. Great to hear you got there in the end, Valerie, and can enjoy your flooring all the more for the drama surrounding it. Tenacity won out 🙂

  8. Valerie J. Patterson

    Marion, Jan, and Tricia … I was very surprised Steve stuck it out. We’d been to so many stores price comparing and selection comparing and then going home to research the products that I really did not want to go to another store and start all over, but I came very close to trying to convince him to just go with tiles!

    Thank you all for reading. Have a great weekend! 😛

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