Just another WordPress.com site

What I say to the stores in this town: Help me help you.

My friends, it is time. Tim to slog through another blog. However, I must warn you that this bloggage is one of chastisement. A veritable volcano of constructive criticism, spewing forth from the swirling sea of emotion within. Of what am I speaking? The procurement of building materials.

Since we are more like the little piggy who built his house out of brick, rather than the silly little piece of bacon who built his house out of straw, the procurement of raw building materials is fairly essential to said building process. However, with two building supply / hardware stores in town we confidently sallied forth, thinking that we could simply select the materials locally.

So totally wrong. On what scale were we wrong? Probably comparable to how wrong those poor white-wigged chaps were who believed the earth was flat until they witnessed Magellan came barreling around that last point back into the harbour.

If you want to look at pictures, just skip the raging monologue to follow and head to the bottom for the pictures.

So allow me to tell you about mein kemf. Yes, it started with a small hiccup with the siding. We chose our siding months ago, and sent the product line and name to the hardware store. A nice deep, chocolatey brown. However, what arrived on site last week was more of a snot grey. Now, both snot and grey are fine, on their own and all. But when we combine them into siding, yeah, no. No worries, we called up Steve who was understandably upset with the supplier since he wanted to do siding this week.  Poor Steve was stripped of that right. So he called up the hardware store and told them about their mistake. What we got back was that they made the order mistake because “they couldn’t keep up with all our changes”. All the changes eh. I guess that must be referring to the single email we sent 2 months earlier choosing our siding – FOR THE FIRST AND ONLY TIME. I guess picking something once is just too much. I suppose we could have just stuck with this…..

This look could grow on me. I mean, siding is just so "mainstream". We could just paint on a siding pattern.

Steve made us laugh though. When we went back a few days later we found he had left the supplier some signage to instruct them about the new load of siding:

Yes, please do. Speak English yes? Hooooooooo-ked on Ph-hon-icks, whurked for meh. FOR MEH! (Hooked on Phonics worked for me. For me!)

I still have my doubts though. The above signage could be too complex. Perhaps a picture would have been better. With an angry T-Rex in it eating any wrongly-coloured siding.

So the work continued! Good times. Until it came time to order the laminate flooring. I should add that it took no less than 30 days to get samples from the hardware store. “Yup,” they kept telling us.  “We just can’t get ahold of anyone, and have left messages and all”.

At that point, Anne and I googled the manufacturer, my wife called them over breakfast, received instructions on ordering samples, and within 10 minutes she had ordered the samples to be delivered. This impossible feat of daring exhausted us, and left us nearly too weak to continue with the home building experience, but we forged on. Anyhow, the samplage came in and we made our selection. We then sent it back to our supplier for pricing.

I did not realize it at the time, but apparently asking for flooring pricing in Sioux, is equivalent to asking for depleted uranium fuel rods.

It just ain’t happening, my friends. Another 2 weeks went by. Finally we called a place in Winnipeg, 5 hours from here and had a quote in 48 hours. Our supplier eventually did deliver a quote, though it seemed about as difficult as a heifer having quadruplets.  Then came the pure shock of the local quote being $1000 more for the exact same amount of flooring compared to the other place. $1000.

$1000. We are only 60 klicks off the highway, not like we are building a lunar landing base on freaking Jupiter. Perhaps our military has to deliver building materials to Sioux in a Hercules, complete with a fighter escort. I can understand the fuel costs in doing that. But seriously, other than a large scale military mobilization to deliver materials, what could possibly lead to these ridiculous prices? I slapped a great big “F” for FAIL on that quote and sent it back, requesting that they stop playing Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and give me a call when they are ready to try again. If it doesn’t change, I’ll send them an envelope of Monopoly money and tell them to dispatch the truck. Sheesh.

Ah yes. But the best is the door hardware. This is the case of Andrea vs. Un-named Sioux Hardware Store. Well, Steve asked us to go get our door hardware (just knobs and handles is all that means) for our outside doors so that he can begin locking up the house at the end of the day. Makes sense! So off we went to the hardware store to buy hardware. No worries, right? I mean it’s like going to Pizza Hut to buy a pizza right? I mean, what I am looking for is even in the name of their store!

If looking for flooring was like trying to buy depleted uranium fuel rods, then hardware is like trying to find the Holy Grail.

We walked into the un-named hardware store and within 10 minutes had picked what we wanted off their display shelf.

That was as far as we ever got.

After an exhaustive search, they told us “we’ll search the truck that just came in and get back to you tomorrow.” Well they did, and this was the message:

“Uh, yeah, got some bad news on that hardware. We don’t carry that line anymore. In fact we can’t even order it. In fact I am not even sure what it is called, we have no record of those models”.

Nothing like screwing some random pieces of metal to a display board and then trying to sell them to your customers eh? Not sure where they came from, what they are and what they do. I’LL TAKE EM ALL!

Sadly, it does not end here. We decided to buy the floor models – who cares if we don’t know what their model numbers or name is. We got a decent discount too. We then chose a main entrance handle set that they could order and asked them to place the order.


We were informed that we had to choose a “trim” to complete the order. No problem! I love choosing stuff. We asked them what “trim” was for a door handle set and what our options were.

They told us they had no idea.

Rather then make a rash, rushed decision on trim based on their eloquent description, we asked them to call their supplier and figure out what our choices were.

Apparently their supplier lives on the dark side of the moon and is attacked on a weekly basis by aliens. The hardware store kept telling us that they were “getting the run around” from the supplier on what the trim options were. Obviously, between shelling and strafing runs on their moon base, the hardware supplier was having a hard time accessing their inventory logs. I checked in every other day for a week and a half. It peaked when I called last Monday and said “yeah, I am calling about my door hardware”, to which I received the following response from the hardware support staff.

“Oh yes! Did you make your trim selection yet?”


After I laughed out loud on the phone. I called up my wife. She googled the manufacturer. She called them. She spoke to a nice old lady. She told my wife trim meant the style of handle on the inside of the door. My wife picked a trim. She took it in and deposited the selection on the desk of the hardware staff and told them not to bother the poor, battle sieged moon base supplier any longer. We then suggested that they hire our good friend, Neil Armstrong, to replace the inventory manager on their hardware moon base since you know, he is a moonwalker and has been consulting us through the house building process.

You owe me one, Neil. Send me your tips.

It helps to belt out a few stanzas of “The Love of Jesus is So Wonderful” when things get a little tense in ordering materials.

So besides playing Legos with our kindergarten hardware stores, we have also had the most epic Festive Feasting Friday last week! My wife is amazing, and is continuing to plumpen up all our contractors with her mad baking skills. To what end, I do not know. In fact this week she tag-teamed with another Sioux Lookout baking legend. Together these twoaccomplices drew up battle plans and prepared for D-Day (Donut Day).

The one and only Mrs. Susan Hochstedler - Mistress of Donut Mayhem, Sugar Seductress and Bodacious Baker Extrordanaire.

Loading the bomb racks for optimal dispersion. Flight is a go.

Yes, homemade donuts. Weaponized food. The Hiroshima of flavor. Susan’s donuts have been used on several NATO missions to quell uprisings in rogue states by randomly carpet bombing the country side with these oval food hugs. In fact, what the US military is keeping under wraps, is that in fact, a load was dropped on Osama’s compound mere hours before the SEALs stormed the place. They all died happy men with big donuty sugar creme smiles on their faces. Anne and Susan made dozens of donuts and then descended upon the job site…………..

Weaponized food moments before impact.

Weapon Impact. Reaction Time: slowed. Pupils: dilated. Speech: Reduced to grunting. Cognitive Skills: primal. Motor Skills: reducing to feeding motions only. Mortality rate: Total.

After the paramedics left with this crew, the next crew came in and finished off all the insulation, vapour barrier and taping. I managed to sneak the photo below while dancing around all the body chalk lines on the floor.

Construction Progress in 2 A.D. (2 days After Donuts)

So there you have it! I want to thank you all for letting me vent. I feel my blood pressure has dropped to normal levels, and only half my monitor is covered in spittle.

Before we leave, here are my favorite photos from the week……..

Our first sunset from the back deck. Or is it the fallout from the nuclear donut bomb dropped mere hours earlier?

Just in case you all forget how amazing and ridiculously pretty my wife is. We had a date at camp for the long weekend and she caught this poor little lonely loner. That little guy had big dreams. Can you imagine rapidly running down the street chasing a hotdog and bun half as tall as you? And just as your tiny little teeth latch into the leviathan hotdog and a big silly grin plasters your face, a giant hand from the heavens plucks you off the earth and holds you up to be photographed by an object the size of the sun. Seconds later, you are dropped back down to earth with a new lip piercing.Man, they would have to institutionalize me after that. Probed by aliens indeed.


3 responses

  1. Susan

    I had great fun looking up the term “bodacious” in the Urban Dictionary! Thanks, Joe! (I think!)

    July 3, 2011 at 10:34 pm

  2. Kristi Byler

    Golly wolly, Sioux Lookout is Definitely NOT the place to be building a house, it seems. May I just say that we have building supply stores lining the streets here that would make your experience so much more pleasant 🙂

    July 3, 2011 at 11:43 pm

  3. As always, you tell a great story, Joe! 🙂 I’ll have to read this one to Phi, for sure! He absolutely does not *get* stores/customer service like that. What is the POINT of being in business?? Unbelieveable!! The donuts look great, Andrea . . . oh, yeah . . . I won’t let Phil see those pics ’cause then I’ll feel pressure to get busy on my own donut project. :))

    July 5, 2011 at 6:20 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s