Wednesday, June 19, 2019     Volume: 20, Issue: 15

Santa Maria Sun / Humor

The following article was posted on February 9th, 2017, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 17, Issue 49 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 17, Issue 49

Staying grounded

Krider and his wife 'collaborate' on a big project


I recently survived the process of building a new home. When I say I built a home, I don’t mean I stood on a ladder and smashed my thumb with a hammer while hanging drywall. What I did was much more difficult than that. I sat in an air-conditioned office next to my wife and picked out floor tiles and counter tops. Some other poor guy stood on a ladder and smashed his thumb. My job was simply to try and not get divorced while my wife and I worked together “collaboratively” to decide which vacant plot inside the new development we would build our new house on. We also had to choose things like roof tile types and the color of window trim. But it turned out the collaboration with my wife on the new house project worked like this: She picked everything out, and I, like an obedient husband, simply nodded my head in approval of any choice she made. I wasn’t really a player in the game. I was a benchwarmer.

The only design choices I was allowed to have an opinion on were regarding the garage. My choice was simple: The house came with a garage, so I got a garage. End of decisions to be made. I foolishly tried to negotiate a larger garage, like one with room enough for lots of junky project cars I will probably never get around to restoring, but that decision was nixed by the tiny lot size. There was no room for another garage on the side of the house. In fact, they build these new houses so close together these days, there didn’t appear to be enough room to roll the garbage can down the side of the house, let alone park a rusty 1970 Chevelle.

Trying to have an actual opinion on any of the design choices that mattered in the new house would have been futile on my part. I clearly understood the boundaries and the rules. It was my wife’s new house, not mine apparently, and thus all of the choices were my wife’s. My only real stake in the new house was to find a way to pay for it, and paying for it turned out to be the hard part. You see, there is some very serious fine print when building a new home, it’s something they call “upgrades.”

The word upgrade is used quite loosely with these homes. Things I assumed were standard features aren’t always standard. 

“You want doorknobs?”

“Uh, yeah those would be handy.”

“That’s an upgrade.”

“Geez. I hope toilets are a standard feature.”

“Yes, you get a toilet, but it is a very small toilet. If you would like a toilet you can comfortably sit on and not make a mess on the floor when using it, then that would be an upgrade.”

“OK, upgrade the commode. I’m not paying all this money for this house so I have to balance like a trapeze artist on the can.”

So obviously, the upgrades began to add up quick. What I thought was going to be a reasonable home purchase was rapidly becoming a ludicrous home purchase with each and every upgrade. Do we want switches for the lights? Do we want grass in the backyard or just a mud hole when it rains? Do you want a roof for when it rains? Things were getting expensive.

If the base cost for doorknobs wasn’t painful enough, then my wife got involved in upgrading things. She was really enjoying herself as she perused all of the options to choose from. A chandelier for the dining room? Sure. Six-inch base boards inside the closets? Of course! My wife didn’t meet an upgrade she didn’t love.

Luckily the house did come standard with floors, which was nice, and they even carpeted those floors for us at no extra charge. But my wife decided she wanted the tile floor upgrade. And these tile floors cost quite a bit more per square foot than the standard carpet (which, for the record, was free). And Mrs. Krider didn’t just want tile in one room, she wanted tile throughout almost the whole house. And she didn’t want just any basic tile, she wanted some insanely expensive tile that is supposed to look like a worn wood floor. Yes, you read that correctly, she wanted to pay extra money so the brand new floor looked old. Here is where junior high arithmetic comes into play. Get your smartphone out for a quick math quiz. If a room is 20 feet by 32 feet and custom tile upgrades are $9 a square foot, does Mr. Krider have to get a second job to pay for that?

If you answered “yes,” you got that question only half right. The complete correct answer is: Mr. Krider has to get a second job after selling a kidney and has to drive Uber for drunk college kids as a third source of income in order to pay for just the ground under his feet.

Once we moved into the new house, and for the first time saw this great big living room, filled with tile (at a bank-breaking price), my wife, whom I love, said to me, “You know what would look nice in here? A big throw rug.”

I lost my mind, “Let me get this straight. You want to buy a big piece of carpet, and put it on top of the expensive upgraded tile, that we paid a lot of extra money for to put in the exact area of the house that was going to come standard with free carpet?!”

“Yes, it will look nice.”

“You mean it will look nicer than the new floor that we paid extra to look like an old floor?”


So, what did I do? Punch a hole in my brand new wall? Call a divorce attorney? Nope. I went shopping for a new rug, of course. 

Rob is currently sitting in his living room on a piece of carpet on top of a piece of tile. You can read more from Rob Krider or contact him at

Weekly Poll
Should the proposed aquifer exemption in Cat Canyon be approved?

Yes—the water from the proposed area can't serve as drinking water.
No—oil containments could still pollute usable groundwater.
Additional oil and gas projects can create more jobs.
We need to move away from oil and gas and look at renewable energy projects.

| Poll Results