Janet Combs

Janet Combs

Vinyl plank flooring. That’s it — that’s my hook for this week’s column.

Clearly, I’m counting on the approximately seven regular readers of “Planet Janet” who have faith that this column will meander onto a completely different, yet related, topic of a more compelling nature, such as the exciting new hybrid vehicle we purchased last week that gets upwards of 55 miles to the gallon. Unfortunately, I can’t reveal more on that subtopic right now; I have to check with THE MANAGER and I’ll get right back with you.

Okay, I’m back.

The flooring in our fixer-upper was a hodgepodge of yellowed linoleum and stained carpeting, with a small semicircle of hardwood in the front foyer. Combined, the 25-year-old flooring gave off a stale, “cover-up” smell that reminded me of the time an eight-point buck ran directly into the passenger window of my minivan as I was slowing down at a stoplight. Eventually repaired, the minivan retained a distinct animal odor that could not be fully masked by plug-in or dashboard-hanging deodorizers. For a time, I drove around town with the sense that I had come upon a dead deer under a lemon tree, in a lavender grove, or baked into an apple cobbler. Memory is linked to our sense of smell, and I couldn’t escape the nightmarish feeling that I was dragging deceased Bambi Daddy to the cleaners, the grocery store, and the office — so it wasn’t long before we traded that minivan in. Which, coincidentally, is what we did last week — but I’ll need to check with THE MANAGER before I elaborate.

Obviously, the flooring had to go, especially once we heard stories of the former occupants owning several pets that were not regularly walked outdoors. Suddenly, the lingering odors as well as the stains made sense. We ripped everything out and decided on vinyl planking because it is a carefree and lovely surface to have at a beach house. We picked a brand that had a cork sublayer for a softer effect on your legs and back, so working in your kitchen wouldn’t feel as if you were standing in line for the register at Costco. Vinyl planking is also perfect for conscientious pet owners — we have a large dog who is kind of a messy eater and occasionally drools, not unlike small grandchildren, which we also have. My point is that my husband and I don’t want to become caricatures of ourselves as we age, fussing about wet towels or Cheerios or Popsicles left on the floor. Vinyl plank flooring has the power to make you a better version of yourself. As does a sharp, new vehicle that uses less gas for commuting and is kinder to the environment, but let me check with THE MANAGER before divulging more.

Are you finding this whole back-and-forth with THE MANAGER aggravating? Please note that you are only dealing with THE MANAGER for the five minutes it takes you to read this column. My husband spent hours on the phone with different dealerships doing preliminary pricing negotiations before we even stepped into a showroom to start the dance marathon that is still the essence of car-buying today for the average American on a budget. After we narrowed our search, we spent the better part of a weekend and a couple of weeknights cha-cha-ing with the salesman and his invisible partner, THE MANAGER.

Fortunately, when the marathon is finally over, all the participants are happy, exhausted, and making less-than-smooth moves toward the door to get back to the comfort of their own homes. A lot of times you can’t even enjoy driving your new vehicle, because your legs are so achy from a day of literally doing the Charleston in the 100-degree dealership parking lot.

We just received an online customer satisfaction survey to complete for THE MANAGER. I think I’ll suggest installing vinyl plank flooring in the showroom.

Janet Combs is a freelance writer living in Georgetown County. Her column is published regularly in the Georgetown Times. Contact her at https://janetfrickecombs.wordpress.com.