Why I Am Not At Work This Morning

There is a strange man in my son’s bedroom.

That is not to say he is some kind of pervert; well, he could be. I do not really know. What I mean is that a man I have never met is laying my son’s new carpet.

Jonathan’s room is a converted space over the garage. He enjoys telling people we make him live in the attic, which is not far from the truth. The problem with this space is that, while fully insulated and painted a lovely shade of Taupe, it is very cold in winter and very hot in summer. When Jonathan lays his head down at night it is about 12 inches from either the snow and sleet or burning hot shingles.

We have installed space heaters and air conditioners without success and we were forced to evaluate all our options. We concluded that we must pull up the old carpet and put down new. The old carpet was thin, ugly, and only good for lining the dogs’ kennel. We caulked the joints between the sub-flooring, insulated the floorboards, and bought good, quality carpet with an ultra-thick padding.

That is why a stranger is in his room right now. We bought new carpet because we love our son so much. That and I got tired of hearing his teeth chatter while I slept a couple rooms away.

We made the carpet choice based on 6-inch samples the man brought into our home. Before that day, I would not have guessed that they sell carpet for $12.95 a square foot. I believe it is made from the hair of a nearly extinct heard of goats found in the Himalayan Mountains, sheered by virgins during the full moon on months that contain an “R”.

It was nice carpet but I am a more practical person. I chose a classic purple shag sporting flecks of orange. It was located in a warehouse in New Jersey and would take some time to dig out (I mean find) but it was worth every penny of the $.97 a square yard price tag. My wife pointed out, very politely in front of this strange man, that this particular carpet, in a room the size of Jonathan’s, might be “a little over-powering, DEAR”. Her emphasis on “Dear”, not mine. Besides, she added, “It would clash with the Taupe which would require repainting his room”. I immediately saw the importance of going with my wife’s advice. I hate to paint.

We had discussed, very briefly, the option of our three dogs sleeping with Jonathan. This would provide additional body heat in the winter and the dog’s natural insulating fur would help keep him cool in the summer. In addition, it would save us several thousand dollars on carpet. This idea went the way of the purple shag.

And so, by my estimation, I am paying some strange guy $87.25 an hour to haul, shove, and kick this new $700 strip of Berber into place. I am missing about 7 hours of work and will need to put in an additional 26 hours to pay for the day. But I am also sitting in my Lazy Boy drinking coffee while he does the work. This is an unexpected perk.

I have also had an epiphany during the last 6 ½ hours in my Lazy Boy. I have learned the value of paying some one else to carpet Jonathan’s out-of-the-way room. My wife is happy (always a good thing), my son is warm (no more chattering teeth), and my dogs have wall-to-wall carpet in their kennel (this speaks for itself). I am living the American Dream.

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