If you ask my kids, “Lowe’s” rhymes with “woes” for good reason. As soon as I mention the name, they whine. During a flip, it’s not uncommon for me to be there pretty much every day, and sometimes multiple times a day. I think the kids were excited to go back to school just so they could be saved from that place!
So I have to strategically plan my trips there. I need to be in and out as quickly as possible, but I also have to make sure I get everything I need so we don’t have to come back. This is impossible. It’s a catch-22. Regardless, I still try. This time, I was purchasing supplies to, amongst other things, plank the powder room and make the floating mantle in the flip house. I needed luan, a thin, cheap plywood, for both projects. I planned out how to have them cut my 4′ x 8′ piece so that I needed only 1 sheet, and more importantly only 1 Lowe’s trip, for both projects. Or so I thought… little did I know we were at the beginning of what I refer to as the Luan Saga.
So off we go to Lowe’s, where I found my luan, loaded it onto the cart and headed to the saw area. Now, this sounds rather simple, but in reality it went like this: I refereed squabbling over who pushed the cart, rode in the cart, hung off the side of the shopping cart, etc, while denying 47 requests for various things they wanted to buy. (Who knew getting a key cut was so alluring?!) And that was before we picked up the lumber cart, which the kids apparently view as their own personal piece of gymnastics equipment. So here I am, pulling the lumber cart, with 3 acrobats flying on and off of it in every direction, while trying to also push a cart full of other supplies I had to shop for that day. Add in the my walking boot from my broken foot and a wrist brace from torn cartilage and we were the picture of ridiculousness. But finally, we were at the cutting station. Woo hoo! Small victories, you know?
Except the saw was out of order. At this point, I could have cried. Not only did I have to put back my piece of plywood, but I also had to break it to the kids that we were going to have to go to Home Depot. I mentally prepared myself for the onslaught of protests and tried to come up with potential bribes. Sadly, by the time I got through the rest of my shopping and the checkout, I couldn’t wait to just get home. The luan would have to wait until the next day.
Trip #2: So, the next day we went to Home Depot, where thankfully, I had to get only the luan, so I knew I could get in and out rather quickly. But first I had to stand next to the saw like a lost soul, hoping to find an employee that could help me. Finally, one came…. a very hyper one who seemed to be in overdrive. I told him what I needed, (6) 6″ strips, and (1) 9 1/2″ strip. Things were going quite smoothly, until BOOM… he had cut all of the 6″ strips and there wasn’t anything left of the sheet… I guess he didn’t hear that part that I needed a 9 1/2″ strip. He was going so fast and cutting so quickly, that I was worried how straight these pieces were being cut as it was. He booked out of there before I had a chance to tell him what went wrong.
But, at least I had the 6″ strips… I could get the powder room planked. It would just have to take a 3rd, yes THIRD, shopping trip to get this silly luan.
Trip #3 – I waited a week, partially because I was scared to mutter the naughty 5-letter “L” word to the kids, and partially because I wanted to give them time to get that saw fixed. By this point, of course, I had a new list of supplies that I needed, so it wouldn’t be a short trip. Eventually, I picked up my luan, headed to the saw, and did an inner victory dance when I saw it was working. I called for an employee to help, and this time, I was smart, or so I thought… I asked for the 9 1/2″ piece first. I’d then have him cut the rest into 6″ pieces for future, yet-to-be-named, walls I could plank. The kids were being excellent, and I was happy to finally get this accomplished and put the Luan Saga behind me. But… BUT… as I was watching him cut the plywood, I realized that this luan was tinted pink… it wouldn’t take a stain which I needed for the bottom of the floating mantel. No…. NO!!! But it was too late… I had a whole bunch of planks cut that I would have to buy but didn’t even need… AND I’d have to go back to Home Depot where they had the clear veneer luan. <Insert tears here>. 🙁
Trip #4 – Back at the Home Depot, I find a very nice but paranoid employee to cut my luan. He got totally nervous when I asked for a 9 1/2″ piece. He told me they weren’t allowed to cut pieces smaller than 12″, even though I said I had it done just the week before. Explaining it was a new rule, we proceeded to enter into what felt like a drug deal in the middle of the orange store. He’d measure a bit, mark the cut spot, then nervously look up and down the aisle to make sure no one was coming. He asked me to stay on the lookout for his manager, who he apparently thought I knew. At one point, another employee walked by and he dropped his measuring tape. He picked up the plywood, then looked up and down the aisles. He set up the saw to make the cut, then looked up and down the aisles. He started the saw, then turned it right back off and looked up and down the aisles. I was feeling a strange mix of stress, frustration, and sympathy as I watched him stop and start so many times. But finally, it was done! I told him just to cut the remainder into two pieces so I could transport it more easily but… wait… what’s wrong?? He measured the piece from each end and one end was 9 1/2″… the other was just over 9″. Noooo!!! I just wanted to be done. We couldn’t possibly risk making ANOTHER illegal cut! And I was sitting on a time bomb… just waiting for the kids to start going nuts. But before I knew it, he had whipped out his sharpie and written FREE all over all of the pieces.
He then grabbed another sheet (count ’em… my 4th sheet of luan) and tried again. Thankfully, the 4th time was the charm. I got my long-coveted 9 1/2″ strip, along with tons of scraps! I had needed not even one sheet, but instead I ended up with four sheets cut in various lengths and shapes. This was all piled in my already crowded garage. And so my living and dining room artwork ideas were born of the Luan Saga.
What about you? I’d love to hear your fun stories of shopping with kids!