Take for example the ordering of carpets. Our house has carpets in all three bedrooms. They don't look too bad, but also not very good. To start with, they're not very high quality. So we wanted to replace them from the start. Naively I thought that I can get them replaced even before we move (what, we had 3 days from the time we got the keys till we actually moved in!), but I was soon disillusioned when we talked with the carpet person at the Home Depot: first one needs to get the rooms measured, then it takes about two weeks to get the carpets prepared, and only then can they be installed. OK, so there goes my plan to move into a house with new carpets!
Never mind, we can keep all our books still packed in the garage for a few week.
Soon after we moved we visited the Home Depot again, this time the one in Tucson, and scheduled a measuring appointment. We chose a carpet that is on sale now - it is of good quality - with a 15-year wear warranty - we like the way it looks, AND it is made entirely of recycled materials. But of course the main reason we chose it was its sale price:$1.88 per square foot. You can't get any lower than that with 15-year warranty.
The measuring people were supposed to come a couple of days later, but we postponed their visit due to an unexpected problem: ASBESTOS! Yes, we have asbestos tiles under the carpet. This is not uncommon for houses built 50 years ago. What worried us immensely was the fact that the tiles were damaged during the installation of the present carpets. In fact, it is so damaged that we could take a piece for testing ($25, through Environmental Strategies). One option is to completely remove the tile. This is a long and tedious process that is preferably done by professionals who wear wet suits, masks and such. The rooms have to be shut closed with plastic to avoid any asbestos dust getting to uninfected parts. The floor has to be wet before anything else is done, also to reduce dust formation. Did I mention it's also kind of expensive? We got two quotes of $12K and $16K.
We were then advised to leave the floor as is, and cover the broken parts with the material used by carpet installers to level the floor. This makes sense, because once the asbestos is covered and held in place, and protected from damage that can make it friable, it is safe.
OK, so the measurers can now come and measure the rooms.
We measured the rooms too.
The measurers results were then sent to the installing company, who decides how much carpet is needed. Carpets come in rolls that are 12' wide, so it's a matter of how long it needs to be.
We didn't like the way they laid out the carpet. It was very wasteful, and required us to buy 42' of carpet, while we calculated that 34.75' would be enough. So we went back to Home Depot and talked to some carpet guy. It wasn't Amy, who we ordered the measuring through. This guy didn't give the impression of understanding what we're saying. Instead, he just nodded and said: "sure, no problem!" and "I get you". He did not get us, because by the time we got back home there was a message on our phone from him, saying he talked to someone and they explained to him why they couldn't do what we suggested to make the layout less wasteful.
So we had to go again to Home Depot, this time when Amy was there. We talked to her, and she seemed to be more knowledgeable and understanding. But she had to send out our comments to the measuring people, who will then have to approve it and then send it to the installing people, and only then can we know how much carpet we'd need to get.
Another day or two. Finally, last Tuesday we went back, they had the numbers for us, and we'd end up getting 37' of carpet. That's more than we expected, but that's because we didn't include the extra 3" the take for every room (and every closet) just in case. Well, it's better than 42'!
We then chose a pad (the thicker one that comes with a protective layer) and the color (Malt), and finally made our order! Whew! Hopefully in two weeks we'd have them installed!