Do You Have to Prove that You’re Right?

Men arguing over a blueprintWe’ve decided, with our in-laws’ input and final say, that the only way to deal with our carpet problem downstairs is to get all of the old flooring removed and start with a bare concrete floor to which the tack strips can be firmly attached, with no issues of whether or not they’ll hold or the old flooring is too high to permit the new carpet to attach, etc., etc. Because of the permits involved, we are looking at several more weeks of chaos and disruption in our main living space and our bedroom, and we will have to remove all of the furniture, including the bedroom, once again. Because of our limited storage space, we will probably have to get another pod from U-Haul. All of this is taking place within the context of a time frame stretching until about July 18, which is the day we would like to be free to leave on our driving trip to the east coast. So three weeks from Monday is the deadline for getting this done. Otherwise we’ll have to finish it up after we return from our trip on July 31.

But note my title. The issue at hand in this post isn’t the situation itself but how to deal with the people involved in the situation, primarily the original salesman. My initial reaction is always to force the person in the wrong to admit that he’s in the wrong. (This is another one of those posts with lots of italics.) I want to be proven right, a tendency that has gotten me into a lot of unnecessary conflict over the years. The letter I composed to the salesman started out with holding him responsible for this situation. I said, “I am at a loss to understand why you did not evaluate the situation and tell us what needed to be done,” or words to that effect. I want people to be held accountable. I want, not to put too fine of a point on it, to rub their noses in it. (Okay, those are the last italics.) In some cases this is what needs to happen. If my child, or my spouse, or even a dear friend, has offended me or is headed down the wrong path, then I almost certainly need to confront him or her. Especially in parenting does the situation need to be addressed in this way for the purpose of character building. The child needs to admit that he/she’s wrong and address the situation accordingly. In this case, however, we’re not responsible for the salesman’s heart and mind. We’re just responsible for getting the situation resolved. Jim keeps saying, “If you make the guy mad he’s not going to want to cooperate.” I’ve been saying, “Who cares if he gets mad? We’re the ones who should be mad.” Which is true in an absolute sense, absolutely. But maybe not in a practical sense. So Jim toned down my letter considerably while leaving in our basic requirements. I guess he’s right, as usual. (Sigh.)

We will see what happens. I’m struck by the idea that, once again, there’s always more to the situation than you think. It would have been good for us to do some research on potential pitfalls with installing carpet in older homes, especially in basements. That issue never occurred to us, but it probably should have. I never asked myself what was under the old carpet. If pressed, I almost certainly would have said, “Well, probably the bare concrete floor. Whatever it is, the installers will deal with it.” Yeah, well, not so much.

So I have to ask myself, ‘Do I want to get some sort of admission of guilt, or do I just want to get the carpet installed properly?’ What’s the goal? What will work out best for everybody? We will soldier on.

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