Two cars full of six unfinished cabinets with a separate countertop and lots of waiting.
It wasn’t supposed to be so difficult. Heath had planned it all out. He had done the math. He had measured everything. Probably even twice. It was time to execute. We told the kids we were buying the cabinets. We would come back as quickly as we could. They promised not to kill each other and we left.
I was not pleased that I had to go through with this plan. I still thought we should have Lowe’s deliver the cabinets to us. Let someone else do all the heavy lifting and the driving. Heath was insistent we could handle it. After all, we used to work out! He had it all planned. It would be easy if I would just stop my belly aching. Okay, so he didn’t say that. He just had that twinkle in his eye that I can’t so no to. Somehow I found myself in my van following him to Lowe’s.
We walked in as two people free as birds. I was very aware of how easy it was to walk through the doors and to the back of the store. We got to the row of unfinished cabinets. Our eyes fawned over the cabinets as they had many times in the past. I half expected to stop there. Up to this point that’s about all we had done. Just look, touch, and dream. This time was different. This time Heath expected me to help him transport what we needed to the front of the store.
I started looking for friends. Of the employee variety. An Asian guy in a blue sweater vest was in the back of the store walking towards us. Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner! Heath gave me a funny look when I suggested he talk to the man. The man was close enough at that point for me to realize his sweater vest was a fashion choice and not a store issued smock. Oh. My bad.
Heath grabbed a blue metal flatbed and said, “We can just use this.” I was told to hold it steady while Heath hoisted cabinets onto it. He grabbed four cabinets – two upper cabinets and two lower cabinets. The flatbed was full. Then he walked a few feet down where across the aisle was a wall of countertops. He grabbed the dark gray one we had agreed on earlier that day. The countertop was laid on top of the cabinets.
Everything fit well enough on the flatbed. I just wondered how we were supposed to move it all to the front of the store to purchase. Why couldn’t it be like Toys R Us and their tag system? You check out the bikes and take the tag for the one you want. Then you take the tag to the register and while you’re paying for the bike an employee is paged to find the right bike in the back. He brings it up to you at the front of the store and you wheel it out from there.
Lowe’s is not Toys R Us.
And we were not finished.
We still had to get the two 85″ cabinets onto a flatbed. Yeah, good luck. I love you Heath but I’m only 66″ tall. I’m a tiny little woman (wink) and I don’t see how his is going to work. Luckily a real Lowe’s employee walked by at that point. He was wearing a red smock, not a blue sweater vest. Given that Lowe’s has a blue/gray color scheme you can see how I would think a man dressed in a blue sweater vest was a store employee!
Anyway, the man in the red smock asked if we needed help. Yes please! Heath held a different blue flatbed steady while the employee tipped and twisted the gigantic pier of a cabinet onto the flatbed. I kept backing up my full flatbed to give him room. Once both piers (as Heath calls them) were on the flatbed the guy left. We were on our own to maneuver our flatbeds to the registers. Awesome.
It was a Saturday evening at Lowe’s. Can I just say I was so grateful that everyone had chosen to eat dinner at that moment in time rather than shop for home improvement projects? The store was fairly empty of shoppers. Heath carefully led the way while not letting the piers tip over. I was able to successfully follow without maiming anyone. The flatbeds roll easily enough but it takes some effort to get the momentum up. Once that happens it is difficult to stop on a dime.
Next stop: Adventure at the Register
The cashier scanned every last barcode on the two piers first. I believe there were six in total. We thought that was very strange but assumed she knew what she was doing so we didn’t say anything. She then scanned each of the five pieces on my flatbed. That’s when she realized that seven pieces of merchandise shouldn’t equal that many entries in the computer! She started the transaction over completely.
Once everything was scanned correctly and she had a subtotal, Heath told her that we should get a 20% discount for spending more than $400. She was unaware of that perk. We told her there was a sign by the cabinets stating that fact. That’s kind of why we went with this solution to our office needs. Since the discount wasn’t coming off the total automatically she had to call to have someone check on our story.
When it was confirmed that yes, we should get a 20% discount, we had to wait some more to figure out how to get the discount. There was no barcode for her to scan to get us the discount. Then she needed a manager to sign off on it. Basically we stood at her register for a good 15-20 minutes clogging up the area for other shoppers trying to buy smaller amounts of merchandise. Finally we paid but had to wait for an employee to help us load the cabinets into our cars.
I pulled the van into the loading zone. Heath and the guy put as much as they could inside. That’s when they saw that only one pier would fit. There wasn’t enough width for the other one. Heath’s car isn’t long enough to hold the other pier. So the only solution was to strap the thing to the top of the van. I was freaking out.
I’m short and I drive with my seat much closer to the steering wheel than Heath. Which meant as much as I wanted to switch cars, it was physically impossible. I was going to be driving with a massive cabinet on top of my van. I asked if they could rearrange things inside the van so I could move the seat back. I even pushed the passenger seat all the way forward before asking again. I think the young Lowe’s employee didn’t really care so if he heard me he pretended not to. Heath just told me I would be fine driving the van and to bring his car to the loading zone.
The Lowe’s employee put the one last cabinet in the back of Heath’s car. Right behind the driver seat. He told us that if we needed more twine to tie the cabinet to the van there was some inside. Then he walked away as if he washed his hands of us and our crazy ambition.
In a last ditch effort to avoid driving a cabinet on top of my van, I made my eyes creepily large and shiny like a cartoon. I asked Heath one more time if we could rearrange the cabinets in the van so he could move the driver seat back and deal with the precarious cabinet on top. He started to tell me no again but my eyes got to him. I batted my lashes a couple times for good measure. He agreed to push the pier over if I held the countertop against the side window.
Success! There was enough space to move the seat back and I didn’t have to drive the scary van home. I just had to drive his car home with the rearview mirror almost completely blocked by a large base cabinet. His car is easy enough to drive. I just don’t like to because I’m used to mine.
We got in our cars and used a phone call as our walkie talkie. Heath planned to drive uber slow and I would stay right behind him. The hope was that other drivers would just move around us. The plan was working well until we got to the hospital and got separated. Heath apologized for not remembering to move over to the right lane sooner. He moved over and I checked my blind spot for cars. There was an ambulance next to me. I figured it would turn into the hospital and I could move over behind. He turned like I expected but there were three cars behind him and I couldn’t move over in time.
Heath had to turn right and I had to quickly think of another way home. There are always several ways home from any given street. I was thinking, “If I’m on Blah Blah Street I can turn onto this other street and get home that way.” Then I saw Mall Street and told Heath I would hook up with Almost Home Street from there. He said, “You can actually get on the street I’m on from there.” I forgot that. But it worked.
Having our cell phones on speaker was not as helpful as I had hoped. Half of anything Heath said was muffled. When we were separated briefly he said, “Mumble mumble cop car mumble mumble stop sign.” What? I was on the right street but had forgotten an entire intersection of lights was out. It was dark and I didn’t realize how close to Gavin’s school I was. The dark intersection threw me and I panicked. “Where am I?”
Then I saw a cop car with the lights on near the dark intersection. The cop lights helped illuminate the intersection and I was able to see the temporary stop sign. That’s what Heath meant! The whole conversation home was like that. I only got about every third or fourth word and had to guess the rest based on context clues.
We turned on Almost Home Street and I was happy. We had our hazard lights on as our only means of telling other drivers to not be mad that we were driving so slowly. I thought we were home free when we were the only two cars in the left turn lane for the Road to Nowhere. Just before the green arrow came up three other cars got in line behind me. Oh great. We turned and Heath said to move over to the right lane so they could pass us.
We found out the next day that Avalon was in one of those cars. She knew it was us because she could see two BYU stickers as her parents drove by on the left. She wondered what we had on top of the van and why we had hazard lights on. After all the cars passed by we were the only two cars on the road all the way home. We made it home safely but slowly and parked in the street blocking our own driveway.
I ran to the neighbor’s house to ask for help with the cabinets. Ron answered the door. I was so happy he was home because he was exactly who we needed. To make things even sweeter he said they were watching football. He disappeared inside for a second and came back out with Nina’s boyfriend and the visiting Aussie friend. It was so great to only have to watch four men carry cabinets into the garage.
There they sit until tomorrow when we begin the adventure of painting them with our children on Veteran’s Day.