Tina is the fortunate wife of a hard-working man who is building their castle even as this story unfolds. The home is nearing completion, and the whole family is looking forward to moving in. Every time one of the children does a little anxious dance beside the closed door of an already-occupied bathroom, they cheerfully remind themselves “This won’t happen in the new house.” Each time mother and children bump into each other during kitchen duties, they laugh and say, “We’ll not be in each other’s way in the new house.” And when the wind blows and the rain pours . . . . . . . . through ceiling of their current home and drips down the wall, they are untroubled and don’t spare it a thought. These are the days of paradise indeed.
But there is always a snake in eden, dear reader. A fly in the ointment, a flaw in the slaw, – you get the picture. And in this story, the snake, the fly, the flaw is in the form of the ridiculous prices of solid surface countertops (and I might also add, the people who are willing to pay for them). HELLO! SUPPLY AND DEMAND PEOPLE!
After being informed by her countertop contractor that the cost of her kitchen’s solid surface countertops would be a whopping $5000, Tina began to think about all the things they hoped to buy, things they desperately needed, things they absolutely could not live without. Never mind the fact that they were already currently living without these things and had been for years. “My poor girls don’t have beds or mattresses to lay their pretty heads,” she thought.
“And a couch!”, she mused. “Why, we may have to actually sit on . . . . sit on . . . . . . the floor.” (Never mind that they are very nice red pine floors. From Canada. Eight inches wide.
“And what about the countertops and shelving for my walk-through pantry?” she whined. “All my 50 pound buckets of grains, rice, beans, my grain mill, all the foods I buy in bulk will not be stored efficiently.”
Then her countertop contractor called back and said that if Tina chose a cheaper option in the same color scheme, she could get her solid surface countertops for $3500. And that she may even be able to trim it down to $2500 if she chose some of the cheapest colors, though he understood that they may not suit her tastes.
This left Tina scratching her head and thinking. She was thinking that she didn’t want to “settle” for something she didn’t like to the tune of $2500 – $3500. If she was going to settle, it should be for oh, about $100. Actually, $100 is too much to pay for something one doesn’t like. Don’t you agree, dear reader?
This is AMERICA, she thought to herself. And in AMERICA, dog-gone-it, a person doesn’t settle (much less pay for what they don’t like). She is pretty sure that is constitutional. At least, the culture she lives in makes her believe it must be so.
Okay, maybe she was going to have to pay something and she may have to settle for her 2nd or 7th or 20th choice, but she was determined to pay as little as possible. She had other *ahem* neccessities to buy, for pete’s sake, like a clawfoot tub.
So she started thinking creatively. Maybe her husband could put down simple plywood and then seal it to make it waterproof. Maybe they could even use the excess 8 inch red pine floor to make the countertops. It was from Canada after all.
She thought and she thought, and then she did what all Americans do when in search of information. She got on the internet to search for countertop options.
And she became instantly smitten, smitten I tell you. Smitten with IKEA. Oh my. She was ready to jump in her Suburban and drive to the nearest one, in Atlanta. It was worth the cost of gas. She was sure of it. She grabbed her purse and her keys and was on her way out the door, when she hears, “MAMA!” MAMA, I’M HUNGRY!”
She hesitated. Stared longingly at the Suburban. Sighed. Closed the door and turned to fulfill her God-given duties. But not with a pleasant attitude. In fact, dear reader, I will tell you, she had a very grumpy attitude.
This is a story about life in America, the land of plenty, the land of excess, the land where one’s cup runneth over and over and over, and still we try to pour more into our cups. At this time, it is a woeful tale, and I understand if you can’t bear it, if you just want to turn your back on the story in search of happier pursuits, perhaps a game of sudoku. But I encourage you, dear reader. I encourage you to press on to the end of the tale in hopes that Tina will find her countertop, her senses, a grateful heart and a pleasant attitude.
Stay tuned for the next chapter of HGBP.
A nice game of sudoku might be the perfect diversion between chapters.