Home Improvement Challenges and Discoveries

Home_improvementOne twist in our year of consumption has been our ongoing work to finish our basement. We've been about 75% done for three years and a recent influx of visitors has got us motivated to complete the bathroom, put in doors, and finish the molding. We've done our best to stick to our rules, but we've had to make some compromises.

We decided to use new pre-hung doors instead of used. If I were an experienced carpenter I may have given it a shot, but I'm not so I didn't. We also bought a new toilet at Home Depot. This was a double betrayal given our commitment to locally owned stores, but Ziggy's didn't have the compact elongated toilet we were looking for, the toilets at the Habitat Store were a little scary looking, and there is that whole urgency of time thing. It was a glorious relief to go into the wide aisles of Home Depot, find just the right toilet, and get out of there in 15 minutes. So we'll chalk that up as a momentary lapse of sanity in the midst of our crazy year.

In the midst of our compromises we did make some valuable discoveries. We found out that Columbia Paint is headquartered in Spokane and is available at Ziggy's, which is also local to the Inland Northwest. We learned that a local home improvement store like Ziggy's is more likely to get things like paint from local sources. It makes sense that their networks would be local whereas Home Depot type stores would have national and international networks. We were able to find a great vanity for the bathroom at the Millwood Presbyterian Rummage Sale. We also found two used building supply sources; Habitat for Humanity Building Supply and Brown Building Materials. Brown is like an amusement park for second hand building materials. Make sure you've got some time to wander when you go, because it's huge and engrossing, if you're into that sort of thing.

In the surprise grace moment of the week, Nancy found floor tile made in Thailand. She actually had resigned herself to compromising on the tile, picked out her favorite style at Home Depot, (yes we tried Ziggy's), and upon loading it in her cart, saw the words, "Made in Thailand."

In other news, we have learned through extensive, hands-on research, that children's shoes are made in China (75%), Vietnam (15%), and Indonesia (15%). We actually went to Nordstrom's and asked if they had shoes made in Thailand, and the clerk to my surprise, joined us in the hunt, scanning the labels of all the shoes. They get an "A" for effort. In other other news, Value Village shoes are not satisfying the emerging fashion sense of our 8 year old.