Saturday, September 18, 2010

Date night

I declared last night "date night."

When P mentioned to a coworker that he had to be out of work on time so he could get to date night, she blurted out, "But you don't even have kids!"  And then had a good laugh at her own presumption. 

So what does date night consist of around here, then?  My idea was that we would grab some dinner at Chik-fil-a (to keep P interested, and to keep me from having to cook myself), and then get some flooring for our master bathroom.

Usually with this kind of thing we research exhaustively, try to balance cost and aesthetics (we don't want to chose something so expensive that we price our house out of its neighborhood--a very real risk around here--but we usually want something that we're going to be happy with for a long time, since we went to all this effort), and spend months making sure we're really happy with our decision before we commit. 

This time we're going down and dirty.  I want this project done.  (There's nothing innocent about me buying the flooring right before leaving P home alone for several days while I'm on a business trip.)  And there's a good chance that we're going to re-redo the bathroom within the next few years.  We know it doesn't function particularly well for us--it's so long and narrow that we trip over each other in the morning trying to get from one thing to another.  But given the constraints of the space, we haven't figured out how to solve this problem.  So we're just going to put the bathroom back together for now, and maybe at some future date we'll have a brilliant idea of how to make it more functional.  And then we'll do this again.  So there's no point in investing money in a floor that's going to be ripped out, or in making sure we'll love it for the long run.

I decided we would drive to the next town over, where a Home Depot and Lowe's are right next to each other, and just pick a floor.  No other research.  In stock only, no special orders.  Down and dirty.

Then P was browsing craigslist late Thursday night, and found a guy selling the same portable Bosch table saw P has been wanting.  Only lightly used, for $200 less than new.  With lots of extras that P wanted--probably another $200 worth--thrown in for free.  So half price.

I always wince at the amount P spends on tools (even though I know it pays off in us not having to hire professionals to do the job, and the next time around we'll have the tools on hand).  Finding tools on craigslist was my idea--he's been window-shopping for a while, but frankly, he's a really tool snob.  He reads the reviews, selects a particular make and model, and won't settle for anything else.  Oh, and he wants it to look brand new.  This is the first time he's found a tool he wants in acceptable condition.  All of this is to say that there was no way I could argue with adding another errand to date night.  We headed off along roads I had not traveled before, on our way to get the saw.

I'll be honest here--we were driving through some pretty unprepossessing areas, and I may have dubbed it "Hicksville USA."  Then P spotted a small sign on the side of the highway, and did a double take.  "Gluten free pizza?"  If living here has taught me anything, it's that places like these often have the strangest surprises.  I should know better than to make fun.

What a fantastic turn for date night!  I was diagnosed with celiac disease 7 years ago, and haven't had pizza from anywhere other than my own toaster oven since. 

So we picked up the table saw, and then backtracked to the pizzeria.  It was a tiny thing, with just two booths, in an unimpressive strip mall.  The crust had definitely been frozen, rather than made on premises.  Still, it was a decent crust, and had that nice pizza-oven baked texture that's impossible to replicate at home.  The toppings were good, and the guy at the counter was happy to explain which were and were not gluten free.  So if you're gluten free in the greater Knoxville area, I definitely recommend heading out to Cido's sometime.

Finally, we headed to Home Depot and Lowe's.  We had decided on laminate flooring for the bathroom--cheap, fast and easy to install, and easy to remove when we're ready for the big remodel.  We found some nice looking ones for around $2.50/square foot, but I decided we could make do with the cheaper stuff.  We went with the cheapest option we found: an oak laminate, on sale at Lowe's for $0.78/square foot.

It's a surprisingly good match for the oak floors we refinished in most of the house--a little darker "stain," but nearly as much natural variation in wood color as our actual wood.  It was cheap, and it seemed in keeping with the character of our house.  At least as much as laminate can ever be appropriate in a 50s ranch.

The boxes are now sitting in our bathroom, and I'm hoping they'll magically install themselves.  ;-)

And for you tool junkies out there, a few pictures of P's new baby.  Here she is, demonstrating the side extension arms (one of the add-ons P was particularly happy was included).

P had a much larger, professional cabinet-maker quality saw in his woodshop at his parents' house, so this smaller model is going to take some getting used to.  But it's not without its charms.  After years of working in a basement, he's particularly happy that he can wheel the saw outside to work on a nice day.  The stand collapses with the flip of a switch.  It folds up, wheels around just like a large suitcase.  Easy to move to exactly where you want to work, or fold up against the wall between projects.

Look, even I'm singing the praises of this thing.  I'm sure you're going to be hearing a lot more about this baby in the future.

Yeah, it was definitely a better buy than an iPad.  :-)

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