Fed up.

I swore when we had our most recent bad experience with a particular home improvement store that I would not speak the name of that particular store.  I have since changed my mind.
Are you ready?  LOWE'S!  See that?  I even included a link for you to go to their site just in case there was any confusion about which home improvement store LOWE'S! is.  Yes, all references to the home improvement store formerly known as Lowe's at our house have been changed to, LOWE'S! And no, LOWE'S!, I would NOT like to build something together.  Unless it is a very tall bridge from which I can fling you and all the horses you rode in on.  Actually, no, the horses can stay.

Let's back up a bit and I'll explain this little rant.

When we purchased this house we knew the heating sources were bad at best.  There are three big baseboard heaters downstairs in the main living and dining area, only two of which work; however, those were our "for company only" heating sources.  It costs us about $30-$40 a pop when we turn those suckers on!  Much too expensive for us to use daily.  We'd been looking around and toying with various heating ideas, but those are expensive too.  Like a thousand dollars or more.  And I'm a cheap-ass.

We also sort of figured that we ain't no stinkin' sissies and we'd just sort of tough it out through the especially cold weeks with space heaters and lots of blankets.  Uh huh.

Fast forward to December.  It had been a particularly cold week here in Tillamook, with temperatures averaging in the teens.  We didn't have any flooding this year, and I think Mother nature was feeling rather upstaged by El Nino.  This was her way of letting us all know she needed some attention.  Personally, I think Mother Nature could sue a little therapy to learn how to express her feelings in a more appropriate manner.

Ross and I had gone in to town and poked around at the various heating contraptions during those cold weeks, dreaming of a house in which we didn't have to peer around the fog made by our breath when we spoke to each other.  We compared heat output, cost of fuel, wood versus pellets versus ripping our house apart and installing ducting for a heat pump.  But the conversation always comes back to the one topic that is a perpetual thorn is Ross' side: I'm a cheap-ass.  And we left empty-handed.

I came home from work a few days later (and this is where I really wish I had taken a picture) to find Ross sitting in his chair, buried underneath every blanket we own.  Sticking up out of that mound of blankets were two small schnauzer noses, and he had a space heater sitting in his lap.  On high.  People, I swear to you that moment immediately ranked into the top ten most ridiculous things of all time.  Right up there with the Snuggie for dogs.

And that's when I said, "That's it!  Get your coat we're going to Lowe's!".  We purchased a beautiful pellet stove, complete with the little kit thing that you put through the wall so you don't blow smoke throughout your house or light the house on fire.  It took four guys and a forklift to get it into the car.  A FORKLIFT.  And just to clarify, we do not own a forklift.  So while I am watching this little charade of forklifting our new pellet stove into the car, I give Ross the one eyebrow raised look that asks, "How in the world is this thing going to get out of the car, through two doorways, through the kitchen and into the living room, sans forklift?!".  He just nodded and said "it's okay, I got this".  Uh huh.  It weighs 17 metric tons, but he's "got this".

It was late by the time we got back to Tillamook, and I was scheduled to leave at some ungodly hour of the morning for a conference in Salem the next day, so the pellet stove stayed in the car overnight.  I left the next morning for one of the most excruciatingly boring conferences I have ever been to, and while checking my phone every 12 seconds to see if it was 5:00 yet, I got this picture:

Because Ross is actually MacGyver come to life.  This, folks, is our back porch.  And what you see here is a 2x4 spanning the distance between the back porch and the Exploder.  He shimmied the pellet stove across the 2x4 and into the house.  If you have ever wondered how much weight a 2x4 can hold, now you know.  Roughly 17 metric tons.

Now, for many, this would be the part where the story winds down into a happy ending full of warmth and lots of happy fire.   I cannot tell you how much I wish that were the case.  Or how excited I was to come home to a WARM house for the first time EVER.  Except that didn't happen.

When I got home the next evening I found one very cranky Ross and the pellet stove in various pieces all over the living room.  I was informed that the thing didn't work.  Well, it worked, but only for a few minutes at a time, and then it would jam.  Needless to say I was unimpressed with the whole situation.

So I called Lowe's (which was well on it's way at this point to becoming, LOWE'S!), and I screamed and yelled and threatened that it would be OFF WITH THEIR HEADS! if they didn't come paint my roses red and bring the Jabberwocky over to heat my house.  And in that moment, Lowe's became, LOWE'S!

Okay actually I didn't, but I did get them to agree to exchange the pellet stove.  We just needed to bring it back.  Which, of course, is 65 miles away.  Because that sounded like fun.  So I got to witness the above pictured process in reverse, and back to LOWE'S! we went.

They exchanged our stove and gave us a 10% discount, which was agreeably better than me having to order all the playing cards to chop off their heads.  We brought stove number 2 home and Ross had installed in what I'm sure was record timing.

Cue the lights, orchestra and choir:

This seems to be the new favorite spot in the house!

My mother had a brilliant idea should we ever be forced to shop at LOWE'S! again: make our purchase, drive around the block, return said purchase and exchange it for a new one.  This way we can get all of that business out of the way without having to drive all the way to Tillamook and back.  Genius!

Anonymous –   – (March 22, 2010 at 8:38 PM)  

I was laughing so hard I had tears in my eyes, which probably explains why the shadows above Ross's head look like he's wearing Mickey Mouse ears

Vikki –   – (March 24, 2010 at 1:45 PM)  

BRAVO!! I want more! The laughter which came from my face would surely confuse anyone. Ross is an animal, and a genius! As always, most enjoyable. Thank you for sharing. :-)

Pete –   – (March 24, 2010 at 1:46 PM)  

Thanks for sharing! That made me laugh out loud! We have a similar experience from LOWES! In Medford. I went to buy a refrigerator, when Vikki came from the store next door to see how I was doing and saw how red in the face I was she turned me around to cancel the deal before I left the parking lot! Maybe your mom has the right idea, buy it, drive around the block, exchange it, go home! That was awesome, and I’m glad you have heat! Keep sending the updates.

Kelly –   – (March 24, 2010 at 1:47 PM)  

You have to do this more often! You are so freaking funny it's not to be believed and you need to start writing a novel or memoir or something. You know, you should send a copy of this to the LOWES! headquarters, they might actually really appreciate the feedback. Makes me want to come visit and sit in front of the fire...

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