Sunday, April 6, 2008

Circle of life (March 1)

We made our regular Saturday stop by the house to check on the progress. They had applied the first coat of stucco. It was still drying but it gave the walls a much more solid look that the Styrofoam.

There were guys on stilts walking around the basement taping up the drywall seams so we stayed upstairs. Nothing very dramatic at this stage but for one item.

Bathtubs. We actually had bathtubs.

I know this doesn’t sound that exciting. But just look at this….

Can you really tell me there is no merit in bathtub arrival?

We left for the apartment, secure in the knowledge that we had bathtubs and we would be able to keep clean after we move into our new home.

One the way to the apartment we saw a sign for the annual Chili Cook Off. We were hungry, chili sounded good and, what the hell, we had bathtubs for Pete’s sake. We could handle some chili.
The chili cook off was actually pretty cool. There were people from all over the southwest and a few from even farther away. They all drove up in their RVs, set up their propane cook-tops and got down to it. Some of them were there for the fun of it, some were very serious about it, and some were just odd.

One, however, descended on the event as if they were on Donald Trump's Apprentice show. They intended to win and I’d be surprised if they didn’t. They operated their “stand” with a military-like efficiency not seen outside of large manufacturing plants or the secret pentagon building at Redmond. They had the most people. They had the most vehicles. They had a band. They had uniforms.

I will admit that they had damn good chili. Their mind control devices directed us to vote for them as the best.

After all this chili and brainwashing we were craving something sweet. No doubt a result of collusion between the chili team and the ice cream people. Barb got an ice cream and I got a snow cone. Man, I forgot how good those things were.

Near the cook off there is local rodeo arena. We saw something was going on so we got in the car and headed over. A local team roping competition going on and so we hung out for a while watching the teams. It never occured to us to reflect on the fact that we were watching a sport that had evolved from the skills needed to raise the beef that they used to make our chili tasty. If we had it would have made the rodeo even cooler. It was a good way to enjoy the weather and the weekend.

One centimeter makes all the difference

Choosing a slab was not the only reason we were in Chandler. We had to come to the Design Center anyway because once again, they forgot some stuff and we had to pick something out and sign more paperwork. Fortunately, it didn’t come with an additional $14,000 price hike like last time.

We went back to the design center and while talking about the grout colors that were forgotten, we mentioned how this wasn’t the first time they had forgotten something and then we recited the litany (which was way to whiny to repeat here) in an effort to illustrate our inconvenience and how one might interpret that as poor customer service.

One note on Fulton Homes… The mistakes they’ve made, have not been earth shattering, by any measure. (A side note on the term “by any measure”. Look people, 99% of the time you say “by any means” you really mean “by any measure”. Do ALL of us a favor and just never say “by any means”. In that rare instance that your conversation actually calls for “means” it will magically come to you and everyone will be impressed. Even if that rare opportunity occurs and you end up saying “measure”, you’ll have prevented countless moments of stupidity by not saying “means”. You’re way ahead of the game.)
...and whenever Fulton Homes has made a mistake, they have made up for it and ensured we were satisfied with the resolution. We will never buy another development home from any other builder. Anyone would be foolish to not seriously consider Fulton for their new home.

An example of Fulton’s customer service resolved all of this for us. Fulton’s Design Center representative offered to allow a 3cm slab in place of our 2cm as compensation for our inconvenience. I’m convinced many other dealers would have just said, “sorry” and then moved on. This was exceptional service and we were completely satisfied.

We drove back to the granite showroom and took at look at the 3cm slabs they were pulling. The set had the usual markings with some additional cool inclusions and color flows that we really liked. The far right edge had a sudden transition into this amazingly different color and texture.


We selected this set and headed back to Casa Grande.

We know there is no guarantee the fabricator will be able to use our favorite parts of the slabs but we were hopeful their artisan roots will recognize the drama inherent in the slab we picked and infer our preference for that section.

Yes, I know that's a lot to expect as most people are idiots but we figured we'd also call the design center and get the number for the fabricators.