Monthly Archives: August 2012

Retailer Review:

A few days before we closed on the house, Groupon had a fantastic deal: $95 for $245 worth of rugs at I had recently read some positive things about RugsUSA on one of the blogs I read (I forget which one), and also read a whole bunch of positive reviews elsewhere on the internet. I did my research to make sure they weren’t a scam, and aside from a few general negative reviews (the colors weren’t right, the shipping was slow), I decided to pull the trigger. After all, $95 for a large area rug seemed like an awesome deal to me.

Fast forward a few weeks. About a week after we moved in, we decided it was time to go rug hunting. Our boxspring had to be cut in half to get up the stairs at our old place, which required the removal of all of the fabric on the outside. Did you know that most boxsprings are cheap-ass wood shoddily nailed together into a rough box shape? Yeah, we didn’t either. Anyway, because we had to remove the fabric, and because the construction was so shoddy, there are a lot of places on the bottom of the boxspring where nails and staples stick out. Nice, huh? This wasn’t a problem at our old place because the bedroom was carpeted, but we didn’t want to take a chance on scratching up our hardwood floors at the Schloss. Therefore, rug = necessary.

After some general indecisiveness, we decided on this guy:

Not bad, aye? We liked it too. And, it was only $218! In order to use the Groupon, I had to spend the full $245, so I ordered this guy for the kitchen as well. The total, after the Groupon, came to $12. So I spent a total of $107 on two rugs. Not too shabby.

The day after I ordered, I received shipping confirmation for the smaller rug. Should arrive in a week. Perfect, no rush. Four days later, I got a shipping confirmation for the larger rug. This was to be expected… I believe the site said that the rug would ship in 3-5 days. I clicked the tracking link they gave me, because I like to obsessively check these things, and… not found. Hmm. FedEx says it could take up to 48 hours to show up in their system. Okay, fine.

48 hours later? Not found.

But guess what! The UPS guy (not the FedEx guy) showed up with our rug as Jesse was coming home from work. Except the rug was tan. Not black. Jesse sent me a text with a picture of the label. “Didn’t we order a rug with red in it?”

YES WE DID ORDER A RUG WITH RED IN IT. The stupid thing was also OPEN and DIRTY:

I was pretty irate. I (theoretically) spent $218 on this rug (actually spent $95), and for it to arrive that dirty is unacceptable. What is even more unacceptable is that IT WASN’T THE RUG I ORDERED. Unfortunately, RugsUSA’s customer service closes at 6, so I had to wait until Tuesday morning to call.

At 9:15am on Tuesday, I got in touch with customer service. After the MOST ANNOYING hold music/talk ever, a meek-sounding girl answered the phone. How could I yell at someone who sounded so sad/bored with their job? I would have to play nice. I explained my situation to the girl (WRONG, DIRTY rug), and she quickly said she would put me on hold and get in touch with the manufacturer right away. I guess RugsUSA goes direct through the manufacturers and doesn’t have a warehouse of their own. After sitting on hold for about 5 minutes, my meek friend came back on the line.

They would be sending me packaging that would arrive in 1-2 days to return my rug. Then I would have to contact UPS for a pick-up. Once the rug was received at the manufacturer’s warehouse, I would receive a refund.

Um, okay. What about the rug I actually ordered? I want it! In black!

Oh, the manufacturer doesn’t make that color in that size anymore.

Wait, what?

I asked the girl to clarify this, and apparently she meant exactly what she said. RugsUSA sells rugs that don’t exist anymore, and when the manufacturer gets an order for one of those rugs, they just send whatever color they have left. Yep, that’s how it works. So because they didn’t have black in the style I wanted, the company just assumed that I would be okay with getting a rug in an entirely different color. Yeah, no.

So now I guess I’m just waiting on my refund. I am curious as to 1) how long that will take and 2) how that’ll actually work. In a perfect world, they would just credit my debit account for the amount of the rug. However, I didn’t actually pay RugsUSA $218. I paid $95 to Groupon. So will RugsUSA refund me my Groupon purchase price? Or only the $12 that I actually paid? Will I have to make another call to Groupon to get them to refund the price I paid to them? It all seems stupid and complicated.

For now, I’m out $95. And our mattress is still on the floor. From now on, I’ll stick to buying rugs in stores. Hrmph.

UPDATE (9/5/12): So. We eventually received the packaging to return the rug we ordered. Eventually, as in two weeks after I spoke with Customer Service. Two weeks to receive a FexEx package containing a giant bag, two twist ties, and some tape. Nothing else. Where was I supposed to send the rug? How was I supposed to send the rug? I called Customer Service again, and after sitting on hold for 10 minutes, the girl told me that I did the right thing by calling, that they would put in a pick up order with FedEx, and I would receive an email in a few days about when to set the rug out for shipment. A week later, I finally received that email. At 11:30 AM. Telling me that they would make the first pick-up attempt that day.

Okay, that’s fine, except I work. Like a lot of people. And I can’t put out a rug for pick-up when I’M NOT HOME. Also! When I got home, there was a FedEx sticker on the door saying they showed up for the first pick-up at 11:50, a  mere 20 minutes after I received the email. HA. Ok.

That night, Jesse and I packaged up the rug, and in the morning, we set it out for pick-up. The FedEx guy came by, lugged the 8′-tall rug into his truck, and left us a pick-up tag with a tracking number. Sweet.

The rug made it to the manufacturer yesterday. I have yet to receive any confirmation that they received the rug. We’ll see how this goes.

UPDATE (9/6/12): Today marks the day that I am done with Groupon AND RugsUSA. And maybe “too good to be true” discounted things in general. After not hearing from RugsUSA yesterday, or all of today, I gave them a call to find out what was UP with my order. I spoke to a very nice woman who told me some not very nice news:  Because I purchased the rug using a Groupon, I should have processed the return with Groupon. Also, because I had to order two things in order to use the full amount of the Groupon, they had to CHARGE my account an extra $17 for the smaller rug and I had to contact Groupon to get my $95 back.


I was on the phone with Groupon for about 20 minutes speaking (or not speaking?) to a woman who is typing more than she is talking. That’s fine–I get that customer service works in different ways–but to have your (potentially pissed off) customer just sitting on the line while you’re typing away doesn’t make me feel very confident. In the end, I get my $95 back after Groupon verifies that I’m not just full of shit. I guess that’s all I can really ask for?

While I will NEVER order from RugsUSA again (this entire ordeal took a month, and I still have no bedroom rug to show for it), and I’m most likely done with buying things from Groupon,  every customer service person I spoke to from both companies was helpful, and if they didn’t know the answer to something, they figured it out. I guess you have to have good customer service when you mess up so gigantically.

I’ll stick to buying rugs in person from now on, even if it costs a lot more.



Jesse and I have a lot in common. We like a lot of the same music, movies and TV shows (I know he likes Dance Moms and Teen Mom. He just won’t admit it). Aside from his aversion to certain vegetables, we like a lot of the same food. We both enjoy being outdoors, aren’t particularly keen on the beach, and like long drives. We have similar temperaments most of the time, and are pretty much equal on the lazy scale. But. The one thing we have in common that is actually detrimental (not to our relationship, but maybe to other things) is our indecisiveness.

We are  incredibly indecisive. I don’t want to make a decision because I want to make sure that Jesse is happy/comfortable/whatever, and I generally don’t care what we do/where we eat/who we hang out with. I think he feels the same way toward me. Most of the time, we go back and forth for what feels like forever with things like, “What do you want to do?” “Doesn’t matter to me, what do you want to do?” “Well, I decided last time, so you should decide.” “No, I’m pretty sure I decided last time.” “No, I gave you two choices and you picked one, so that’s pretty much like I decided.” And so on.

Normally, one of us eventually makes a decision and we get on with our lives. After all, what we eat for dinner is not a dire decision. However, this home stuff?

We’re useless.

The past two weeks have been a lot of me showing Jesse paint chips, and him saying “Those shades of grey look the same to me.” I have to explain to him that one is a  cool grey and one is a  warm grey and they are, in fact, very different. He shrugs, points at one, and I come back with, “Do you actually like that one? Or are you just picking because I’m making you?” and he grins and walks away.

We do have some ideas, and some of them we will hopefully start putting into motion this weekend. We agreed that the dining room will most definitely be a shade of navy blue, and we have even narrowed it down to two choices. Jesse likes Planetarium, mostly because of the name. I don’t really care, because I think they’ll both look good, albeit slight different, once they get up on the walls. The only thing I am slightly worried about is the gigantic hole in the plaster where the thermostat is “attached”. I think we’re going to have to patch the plaster, which is going to take some time away from actually getting the room painted. BUT, we want to do it right, so we should probably do that. [Edit: Since I started to draft this, we bought plaster and patching mesh, pulled the thermostat off the wall, and you know what? The “gigantic” hole is only about 2″ x 1″ and there is plenty of lathe for the plaster to grip onto. This means we can return the $8 patch and get away with a little bit of plaster! Go us!]

A navy dining room for inspiration:

The other area that we have mostly decided on is that the major walls in the kitchen are going to be grey. I believe we have even decided on a shade, and I think it’ll look great. What we haven’t decided on, and this is all my fault, is what to do with the backsplash. Originally, I wanted to tile the backsplash with white subway tiles and charcoal grout. Looking at the pictures of the kitchen before we moved in, I thought that subway tile would be too large for the backsplash area, and maybe we should parse it down a little. Use the smaller subway tiles instead. Jesse agreed that this would look nice. Then I panicked a bit because 1) we’ve never tiled anything before and 2) what if we want to replace the counter tops? Will all of our tiling have gone to waste? So I concluded that we should just paint the backsplash, and we agreed on an awesome teal color.

Then last night, I saw a Reader Redesign on Young House Love with a tiled backsplash that made me swoon a little. Maybe we should tile the backsplash. Maybe we should learn to tile. It’s not that hard, and I’m pretty sure some friends of ours own a wet saw. On top of this, I got realistic with myself. We are not going to be able to afford to put in new countertops for quite some time (years maybe), and frankly, I’m not sure I really want to just yet. Sure, we have pretty average looking laminate counter tops, but they’re incredibly easy to take care of and, because they’re grey, go with everything. They don’t look that bad. Really. What this does mean, though, is that the time we spent deciding on paint colors has to be re-spent on picking out tiles. White? Teal? Something else? Can we actually do this? And measuring for tile requires a lot more calculating and forethought than measuring for paint (1 can. done.). After looking at tiles, I think we’re swaying back toward painting, but the decision won’t be made until we leave Home Depot with either a quart of paint or a box of tile. And then it has to stay made for awhile, because I’m sure as hell not painting and then tiling.

Then there is the living room. A few days ago, we came up with the idea of painting the walls white and the ceiling… some other color. I want to keep it relatively low-key since the dining room is going to be pretty intense. But then I saw a picture of a lime-ish green ceiling and I really liked it. Totally doable. It would totally match our curtains. It would look so good.

Maybe something like this, but not carried down onto the walls? Or maybe carried down onto the walls?:

And, guys, that’s just downstairs.

People keep telling me that this doesn’t have to be done all at once, and I realize this. We have thirty years (and longer!) to get everything taken care of, and once it’s done, it can be changed. We can re-paint if we want! Yes, it requires more work, but it can be done! What I do want, though, is to have everything downstairs at least painted relatively soon because, honestly, the place doesn’t feel like home yet. We don’t have any of our pictures or prints or band posters on the wall, and it makes the place feel pretty sterile (that, and the eggshell-colored walls in every room). The neutral creme in ever room has. to. go.

We just need to get off our asses and make decisions.

P.S. Congrats to our friends Jocelyn and Jeff for closing on their Housey Home and successfully ripping down the World’s Ugliest Wallpaper! Good job, guys 🙂

We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Programming…

Today’s post was going to be the third in our We Bought A House!! series, but unfortunately, our “we still have lots of boxes everywhere” post will have to wait another day.

We have some big news! We called our first repair man! Less than one week in our new house, and it has already been christened with an over-priced furnace repair man. Hrmph.

When we acquired our Schloss, Janice, the previous owner, informed us that the furnace had been switched to the off position because she had moved out a few days (weeks?) before. No big deal! The day after we moved in, we flipped the furnace on and unpacked some boxes while waiting for the water heater to warm up. Then the radiators started hissing. What? I checked the thermostat, which had been turned off. I texted my dad, who said that’s probably normal if the system had been off for awhile. It was restoring pressure to the system, or something. We have steam heat, so I found this answer acceptable, and took my first warm shower in our new house. Ahhhhh.

Then I noticed that the furnace was kicking on frequently. Hmm. Not sure what to do, we turned it off. Because in our computer-age, restarting something is often the answer, right?


We left the furnace off for a few days, mostly because it’s summer and it doesn’t really matter. Except we have an indirect-fired water heater, and need the furnace on to get hot water. That’s an issue. After taking a cold shower last night, Jesse decided that this could not continue. We had to face the facts. We flipped the furnace back on and went to bed.

About an hour later, the radiators started hissing. Fine.

In the middle of the night, they were hissing more. I asked Jesse if they were hot, and he said no. Fine.

At 5:30 am, the cat was sitting outside our bedroom door meowing (she hasn’t adjusted to our new alarm time yet… hrmph). Immediately upon waking up, we noticed that the house was warm. This was weird, because temperatures dropped into the low 60s last night, and we had all of our windows open. Our bedroom was hot. Like over 80 hot. Hand on the radiator… HOT. WHAT?! Jesse ran downstairs and flipped off the furnace. Every. single. radiator was hot. The thermostat was STILL TURNED OFF.

A phone call to my dad left us still wondering what was going on. He had no idea… It could have been a number of things. A broken check valve. A defective thermostat. His recommendation? Call the oil company. Get a repair guy in.

And this, folks, is how we had a repair guy in the the house after owning the house for exactly six days.

Luckily, we got to kill three birds with one stone with this one. Not only did they fix the problem, they also performed the yearly maintenance on the furnace AND we signed up for oil delivery.

So what was the problem? The thermostat on the water heater was set too high. Yep, that’s it. In the summer, your water heater should be set around 130F. If it is set higher, excess steam builds up in the heating system, which will eventually vent to the rest of the house. This is why our radiators were hissing. Eventually, there was so much steam that it actually heated the radiators. In the winter, you can get away with turning the thermostat on the water heater up to around 180F, because the system is producing steam any way.

Hmm, who knew??

I was a little frustrated that we had to call someone in so soon after buying the house, but my dad made a good point. It’s worth it to call people in for these little things in the beginning, because then you learn. And you put any qualms at bay. So the $125 we had to spend on the oil guy? Probably won’t have to call him in for the same thing ever again (unless we develop amnesia), and our furnace has been properly maintained until next year.

One step at a time.

This homeowner thing requires a lot of brain power.