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Tile me down [Aug. 12th, 2008|06:54 am]

This weekend, we went looking for tile for the bathroom. I didn't have anything particular in mind, so was hoping I'd run across something to inspire me. The first place we went was LM #3, a little hole-in-the wall. It didn't look very promising, but then I saw this

and fell in love. I don't know why. It just spoke to me. Alas, what it said to me was, I am out of your price range. After a brief internal battle with my inner cheapskate, I decided that while I couldn't afford to use this in the tub surround, I could spring for the 20 square feet it would take to tile the floor. Win!

Only, not. Because they only had six pieces in stock, and some of them were missing squares. I was very disappointed, but figured if I found something I liked the first place I looked, I was sure to find something I liked just as much someplace else. Maybe even this tile someplace else.

Wrong. Seven other tile places later, I gave up. Not only did no other place have this tile, no other place had any tile that I even remotely liked, even a little bit. Then, on the way home, Husband said, You know, if that was LM #3, shouldn't there be an LM #1 and #2? Der.

So, I got on the internet for a look. Turns out there isn't an LM #1 and #2, but there was an LM tile with an address about three blocks from my office, and an LM#5 about six miles out of town. And not only that, but the main LM tile site had a pic of my tile, right there on the products page!

So, on my lunch hour yesterday, I took a quick stroll to the downtown location. And found, not the tile store, but a construction site. Oh, the joys of downtown Houston! Now, it was personal. I ran back to my parking garage, jumped in the car, and drove to LM #5. No small feat, since I only know two ways in and out of downtown, and the road to LM #5 wasn't one of them. 

What's that, you say? Why yes, I have worked downtown for eight years. No, I don't feel like an idiot for only knowing two ways to get here. Trust me, if you worked in downtown Houston, you'd only know two ways in and out, too. Maybe only one. (I only know two because the one I used the first five years got shut down for construction and I had to find an alternate route)

Ahem. Back to the story. I managed to find LM #5, which was much nicer than LM #3, but on a much less nicer stretch of road. There's something a little unnerving about parking on your lunch hour in a lot between a "modeling studio" and an adult bookstore, but I was on a mission.

A salesman approached me immediately. And then immediately said, You work for Big Electric Retailer? Dang. In my haste, I had forgotten to take off my security tag, which I always do if I'm outside of downtown, because if I don't, people always ask me that question. Which is always followed by this question: Why is my electric bill so high? (BTW, the answer is, because electricity is expensive to make, and you use a lot of it. But it's not really politically correct to say that.)

So, I spent the next fifteen minutes talking electricity with the sales guy. He followed up the Why is my electric bill so high? with the next most popular thing to say to an electric retailer employee, which is, I don't think my meter is really getting read. I don't mind this question so much, because my company doesn't read meters. But the thing is, everyone thinks their meter isn't getting read. To which I say, do you really think the meter reader would bother to come into your yard, leave the gate open so that your dog gets out, and not read the meter? I mean, if the meter reader is not going to read your meter, he wouldn't go to all the trouble of going into your yard in the first place.

Of course I don't really say this. I'm actually very nice to people who complain about high electric bills. Because most people really don't know a lot about how electricity works, or how our dereg model works, or why electricity is expensive. Most people don't realize how much electricity they're using. (The number one mistake people in Houston make? Having a refrigerator or freezer in the garage. Dudes - don't do it. Number two mistake - running ceiling fans when no one is in the room. Total waste of power.)

So, we ended up having a lively conversation about peaking, which was nice, because the salesguy was actually knowledgeable about peaking, and just annoyed that he was having to pay more for peaking power when he was careful about demand, which made me love him just a little bit, because I have a soft spot for anyone who avoids using peak electricity. He was very excited to hear about smart metering, even though I warned him it would be a while before retailers were set up to offer time of use pricing to residential customers. He stopped being mad about his high electric bill. Which is always nice.

Where was I? Oh, yes, the tile. I looked at all sorts of tile and was even considering an alternative to the tile of my dreams, when I found it. They had one full tile on display, and none in boxes. The salesguy said it could get it for me, if I really wanted it. But he tried to talk me out of it. Too expensive, he said. Why get porcelin tile that looks like slate when the actual slate is cheaper? So, I figured out that he might not be able to get it. I gave him my number and he said he would call me if he found enough of it. 

So, keeping my fingers crossed that he can find enough of it for my floor. Because I'm really, really tired of looking at tile.


From: spritzcourt
2008-08-12 02:50 pm (UTC)
I feel your pain- both from the tile side and the job side. Imagine what I get when people find out I work for big oil. We actually get help on how to respond to such questions, which I have found is futile. So I usually just answer with, my bonus thanks you. That usually ends the conversation :)
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[User Picture]From: spinthemoon
2008-08-12 06:24 pm (UTC)
Ha - back in the dereg days, my sister worked in Regulatory for a utility company. She always said that people hate lawyers, and they hate utilities, so there was no faster way to clear a room than to tell people you're a lawyer for a utility.
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[User Picture]From: aims814
2008-08-12 03:14 pm (UTC)
I'm not supposed to be reading journals until I'm at least halfway finished with my work but I'm glad I cheated and read this post.

Anyway, I love the tile you chose! I hope he can find it for you. And I couldn't help but laugh out loud about him noticing your tag and then started asking you every question in the book about his power bill. My husband has finally learned to never mention that I am (was) a hair dresser. The first thing one does is immediately run their fingers through their hair and start asking me questions. Then they try to talk me into cutting their hair or something and I have to explain that I don't "do" hair anymore. Then, I have to recommend someone, etc. ...

Oh, btw, thanks for the hint of not putting a fridge or freezer in the garage. That is some need-to-know info down here in the south and I never thought of that!

take care!
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[User Picture]From: spinthemoon
2008-08-12 06:29 pm (UTC)
Hey, you! I've been wondering where you were. I'm glad you stopped by.

And yes, don't put a fridge in the garage. Especially an old one. People tend to get a new fridge, put the old one in the garage, and then their bill goes through the roof.

I've been trying to think of a pretend job I could tell people I have so that they won't start asking questions. But I haven't figured out what a safe pretend job would be, that people wouldn't ask about, and then I'd get caught. At least I do know a little something about electricity.
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From: spritzcourt
2008-08-14 01:37 pm (UTC)
LOL!! That happened to hubby. As an airline pilot, last thing you want to do is tell some nosy guy you're sitting next to in the back of the plane that you are a pilot for the airline they are flying on...so he made something up- a cattle rancher. And wouldn't you know it, the guy worked in that industry and he started asking all kinds of questions about the types of cows...and so on which hubby had no idea how to answer!! Oops!
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From: (Anonymous)
2008-08-12 05:54 pm (UTC)
So cute! We have very similar tile in our kitchen...but we only used it as trim. Maybe that's an idea for you if he can't find enough to do your entire floor. For my kitchen, then actually took one block and cut it up into 4 pieces and used it decoratively with tile. Maybe you can incorporate it even if you can't do the full thing? (your ex coworker who stalks you by LiveJournal who still doesn't have a blog. L.)
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[User Picture]From: spinthemoon
2008-08-12 06:26 pm (UTC)
I was thinking the same thing - the six pieces at the first place plus the one piece at this place would give me enough to edge around the floor, if I halved them into a row of three tiles.

I think they ought to sell them to me extra cheap, since they don't have enough to sell to a real customer at full price.
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[User Picture]From: onelargecat
2008-08-13 12:11 am (UTC)
Why get porcelin tile that looks like slate when the actual slate is cheaper?

Do you just not want slate? or...? I'm curious about the answer to his question. :)

I do really like the tile you posted the picture of above!
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[User Picture]From: spinthemoon
2008-08-13 02:31 am (UTC)
I actually like slate, and was originally hoping to use this on the shower surround and slate for the floor. I like this better than the slate because it's lighter - it's lighter IRL than it looks in the picture. Our bathroom is teeny tiny and we reduced the window size by half, so I was worried about it being too dark.

I think it might be moot, though. He hasn't called me back.
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