This is a true story as related to me by a co-worker.
One day, my 25 year old son, who still lives at home, offered me a "gift."
"Hey dad, I got a couple of extra recessed ceiling lights left over from a job, what if I install them in the basement rec-room for you?"
I should have said "no" when he offered, but he's my kid and the room did need better lighting. "Sure," I said, "do you need any money for parts?"
"Don't worry about it dad, this isn't going to cost you a thing," he said.
He was partly right. The lights themselves did not cost me a thing. Having the lights installed cost me dearly!
It took him about week from announcing his gift to having them fully installed. I have to admit, he did a real good job installing those lights. He gave the room a whole new lookâ€¦ That is where the trouble started!
The day after he finished the job I ran into my wife in the rec-room.
"Hey honey, he did a great job on those lights didn't he?"
"Yeah but what?"
"Well, now that I can see this room betterâ€¦ It needs a fresh coat of paint."
"What? It looks fine!"
"Put your glasses on, it looks terrible! I don't think we've painted this room since the kids were born."
That is when it hit me, "those lights were not free!"
"Well, I suppose you may have a pointâ€¦"
About $125 and two weekends of work laterâ€¦
"There, the walls and ceiling are painted just like you wanted."
"Yeah but what? They're painted! Look, just like new!"
"Well, look at the carpet! It looks terrible! The way the freshly painted walls reflect the light around the room I can really see the stains in this rug. We need a new rug down here."
Well, after a few phone calls and about $535 the new carpeting was installed. I thought that would be the end of it. So far these "free" lights had cost me over $600!
"There honey, you now have new lights, new paint on the walls and a new carpet. The room looks great!"
AAHHHHHHHHH! Not those two words again! What next, did she want a new house to go with the recessed lights! Did she want me to re-carpet and paint the entire house? No, it was much worse then that. I could always hire someone else to come in and paint or lay the carpet. Nope, she was still focused on this one room.
"What is it honey?"
"Well, this old furniture is reallyâ€¦ old. It doesn't "fit' with the new color scheme of the room."
"I suppose we could move furniture from a different room in hereâ€¦"
"No, we need new furniture."
The scary thing was not what she said, but how she said it. She said it in the same way you might say, "this food needs more salt."
Free recessed ceiling lights my butt! Those things were costing me a fortune! Not only that, but now I had to go furniture shopping with my wife!
Now, I love my wife dearly but I can't stand shopping with her. When most guys go shopping they don't care if the recliner is sage brush green or brushed sage green, green is green! Not so with a woman. It's not enough for the color to be right, the fabrics also have to be in harmony. You can't mix a suede chair with a leather topped table!
A little bit over $4,000 later she had her new furniture. She was happy and I was re-thinking my son's wonderful "gift' to me.
In the end, those 'free' ceiling lights cost me two weekends and $5,000.