Now that the trauma of the new carpet has worn off I have to tell the story. The story need to be passed down from generation to generation so no man ever makes the same mistake of surprising his wife with new carpet.
Early in the summer I mentioned to Josh a few times that our carpet was bugging me. There were places that were bubbling and needed to be stretched and it needed to be cleaned. What I was saying is that I hoped we could come up with a few hundred dollars to get it cleaned (which we do regularly because the carpet was not family friendly and showed every little drip) and stretched.
Early in July Josh was visiting with his friend, the carpet sales man, who ironically sold us the beautiful top of the line carpet we had just three and a half years ago when we built our home. Josh told him the carpet was bubbling and dirty and asked him what he should do about it. Of course, the sales guy didn’t recommend stretching or cleaning it he recommended NEW CARPET. Yes, he know that our current carpet was only three years old and it was top of the line carpet. (Having nice carpet is important to me and we splurged on that portion of our building budget.) When the sales man mentioned that he would give Josh the very special deal “just because they were friends” of no interest and no payments for one year Josh was sold.
Josh was totally convinced that he was going to surprise me with the best gift ever. It was our 7th anniversary while we were in California for Christina’s wedding and so he decided to have the carpet laid as an anniversary gift while we were gone. The only person he told was his dad (who warned him that it was a bad idea), and the Kirks did a ton of work to move out all of our furniture (and move it back in after it was laid) to support us.
The carpet was laid at the beginning of the trip and Josh didn’t breath a word of it to me. He was just excited for me to see this wonderful gift when I got home. The thought didn’t occur to him until the night before we got home that the gift was non-returnable, non refundable, and I may not like it. (He had a nightmare the night before we got home.) The concept that you should never buy your wife a non refundable, non returnable gift on credit that she will have to live with for at least 10 probably 20 years should be up there in at least the top ten things never to do in marriage.
As we headed up the hill to our house Josh mentioned that he had a surprise for me and that he really hoped I liked it. We had been driving for the entire day and I WAS EXAUSTED. Quite honestly I was really scared because at this point we are not in a situation to be spending money on anything nonessential. I walked in the house and my heart dropped to my toes. I couldn’t breath. Josh was so excited. He said something like don’t think about it just hug me. Catching my breath I asked, “How much did you do” as my eyes welled up with tears. I was hoping he had just replaced the great room and left the bedrooms. He smiled and said the whole thing. I was in some state beyond shock. I tried to keep my composure as we put the kids to bed, but I couldn’t hold it in and cried and cried and cried – all night long. I couldn’t believe that he would pick out and install new carpet (that we couldn’t afford) without even consulting me.
Josh felt like the biggest idiot in the world. He thought that this was a total “slam dunk.” That he couldn’t miss because it was such a wonderful gift. I am lucky to be married to a man that wants to make me happy so badly, but I couldn’t pretend to be happy about such a spontaneous and expensive decision.
I grew up in a world that carpet was to be replaced every 20 years and only that if you are really lucky. Somehow it felt like a death or something dear to me was lost. People ask me, about the new carpet, “So do you like it?” My response is, “it’s okay.” It is probably the most popular carpet around because it is affordable and really family friendly. I do like that I don’t feel like I need to vacuum it every day like I did my old carpet, but I don’t feel like it matches the look and feel of my house like the old carpet did. It is not what I would have picked, and I certainly would have upgraded the pad. The thought of matching or more family friendly basement carpet that I did pick never crossed his mind. The bottom line is that I didn’t want new carpet I just wanted my old carpet. Somehow I feel like it is unrighteous and dishonest because we can’t afford it.
I refuse to hold a grudge about it or let it be a canker in our marriage, as I know Josh was just trying to do something nice for me. The night that we spent crying Josh said that he had a feeling that someday we would look back at this and laugh and we can already laugh about it, which is why I am sharing the story. I think that someday, when the carpet is paid for, and we are over this difficult economic time we will really be able to laugh about it, which is why I wanted to preserve the details. So next time you are at a wedding wondering what advice to give the groom you may want to share, “never replace the carpet without consulting your wife” or at least her mother or her best friend both of whom know Josh was in the dog house when they found out about it – too late to do anything.
New Carpet Above
Old Carpet Below