Our celebration, alas, was premature. Steve, our new carpenter, called to say that one of the kitchen cabinets had arrived damaged.
“I’ll call Home Depot right now and complain,” Michael said.
“That’s one option,” Steve replied calmly. “However, we’re probably talking months for a replacement. I was hoping to get this done pronto.”
“Okay…” Michael said, dialing down his tone to match Steve’s wonderfully Zen vibe. “What are our options?”
“I’ll just fix it.”
“You can do that?”
Deep breath while this sank in. “Um…great!”
“And by the way, the counters didn’t arrive.”
Gulp. “But they told me they shipped everything.”
Steve laughed. “They lied.”
We pictured our kitchen in Vieques as it currently looked, and wondered if it would look that way forever.
The very thought got us moving–fast.
Michael called his friend Ana Maria at the Home Depot in Carolina. “Where are our counters?”
“They’re in Vieques,” she replied point-blank. “Where are you?”
“I’m in Washington, but that’s beside the point. Our contractor said they never came.”
Short pause. “I call you back.”
The news wasn’t good. Even though our Home Depot lady in Virginia had produced fabulous drawings based on our “to-the-quarter-inch” measurements…
…Home Depot’s hard-and-fast policy was to send out one of their own men to measure for kitchen counters.
“Why didn’t you tell me this before?”
“I didn’t know.”
How could she not have known something so relevant to her job? This was the kind of question we were quickly learning not to ask.
“But ‘sending someone out’ means that a guy has to come from the big island to Vieques?” Michael asked.
“Exactly. He will fly.”
“Fly? Who’ll pay his fare?”
“You, of course. The customer. It’s your counter.”
Maybe he and Ana Maria didn’t have such a special relationship after all.
Not only did we pay the counter guy’s airfare. A storm blew up while he was on Vieques and he was forced to spend the night at a hotel.
At our expense.
But there was more. Home Depot’s policy also specified that one of their employees had to bring the counter back and install it personally.
I’ve heard of liver transplants that were less labor-intensive.
This time, of course, the Home Depot dude came by boat. Luckily the weather gods were with us, and we only had to shell out for his time and his fuel costs to Fajardo and back.
Even so, tack on $350.
“How does it look?” Michael asked Steve when the whole farce had played itself out and the counters were finally installed.
“Like a million bucks.”
“How perfect. That’s almost exactly what we paid.”