This is a true story. And as I lived it, I came to realize that it’s a good example of just how our country got into this financial mess.
It’s my own mini, but true, version of Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House and it started a few weeks ago. Wife was inspired. She decided that we needed to paint the bathroom walls. She wanted to change from a blue-scheme wallpaper to green painted walls. So she picked out some $40-something a gallon Martha Stewart paint.
Turns out the paint didn’t go on the walls. It went on the base paint. That was around $20-something a gallon. So in order to cover the walls, it was actually $60-something a gallon.
After the walls were done, the floor didn’t match. Because they were a blue theme, those cheap floor tiles had to go. Wife wanted wood floors. So, that’s what we got. I lost count of how much the wood, stain, polyurethane, and all such cost. But it did look good.
But now the vanity top didn’t match. It was blue. So, she picked out a new one. A white marble top with a molded sink. A little over $200. And it looked really good.
That meant we needed to change the faucet. The old one didn’t look good with it. Really, it didn’t.
So, she found one. It’s oil-rubbed bronze, or Venetian bronze, or Tuscan bronze, or some sort of bronze or something. And the spout looked like an old-style hand pump spout. And it was a little under $200. But it looked really good.
Of course, that meant that the drawer handles, door handles, and hinges on the vanity cabinet didn’t match. So we had to find new ones in oil-rubbed bronze, buy those, and replace the old ones. The hinges were hard to find. I had to order them from a place in Spokane, Washington. Which jacked the price of the 4 hinges up from under $4 to about $20.
Oh, and the towel rack needed to be replaced so it would match ($43). And the hand towel rack ($21). And the toilet paper holder ($21). And the bath robe hooks ($25).
And the door stop. And the door handle. And the door hinges. And the handle and hinges on the bathroom closet door as well. That all totaled around $80.
And the light fixture didn’t match. But a new one that did ran $99.
Oh, and the shower curtain rod. Needed one that matched. It was $50 for one that was the right style and color.
Remember the new white marble sink? Now the toilet didn’t match. So, we had to replace it. That was around $240 for a chair-height, elongated, dual-flush white toilet.
Then, of course, we had to get new bath rugs and accessories — fuzzy mat outside the tube, fuzzy mat in front of the vanity, the little fuzzy thing that goes around the toilet base, and a fuzzy toilet seat cover — and towels and such. Which together totaled a little under $200.
If you’ve been adding all this up as we’ve gone along, you’ll realize that we passed the $1,000 mark some time ago. And that’s only because we did the work ourselves. Well, us and one of the sons-in-law.
What we ended up with was a lot of work and a lot of money spent. But it all matches the shower curtain.
The shower curtain? Yes, the shower curtain she bought on sale for $10 from the K-Mart a while back. We did all that painting and replacing stuff so the bathroom would match a $10 shower curtain.
And that’s how the country ends up spending too much money on stuff.
Of course, now you understand how one thing leads to another, and that good intentions can end up with unexpected consequences and unexpected expenses.
The difference, though, is that we didn’t decide to begin a series of things that cost way too much money and have you pay for it. We paid for it ourselves. So, it’s not a financial impact on you. And we aren’t passing the debt along to your grandchildren.
The government, who has even less sense than we do, ends up spending 130 times as much as it should on stuff — but they make you pay for it.
It makes you want to beat a politician with a stick.
I don’t have a stick. But now I got a spare shower curtain rod. It ought to do the trick.