TRAVEL HERE: HOME IMPROVEMENT INSANITY
I’m going to rant today. I’ve whined before over the “improvements” companies insist on making to things I love – “improvements” that render my favorite things useless to me. All it takes for a cosmetics company to discontinue a lipstick color is for me to like it, but that’s different from improving products past the point of being useful. You know what I mean.
The Tension-less Shower Rod
I grew up with something called a tension shower rod. The tension came from a spring. You’d twist the rod until it was just a smidge bigger than your opening. Then you’d squeeze it into place and forget about it – like for decades. This was a true improvement over the old shower rods you attached with screws. The improved rod worked without marring your wall and if it ever did come down, you weren’t left with a hole in the wall. What’s more, if your spring ever did lose a little of its tension, you could just unscrew it a little bit and get another decade or so out of the rod.
Then the shower rod companies decided to “improve” their product. I remember going to the store and buying a tension shower rod and coming home to put it up. I ripped off the cellophane and started twisting it the way I always had, but something was wrong. I dug the wrapping out of the trashcan and paid more attention to it. A big blue star on the wrapper informed me the rod was “SPRINGLESS”. And they thought that was good news???
For awhile, springless and springed tension shower rods were sold side-by-side, but only for awhile. After our most recent move, there were no springed tension rods – at all. I looked everywhere. So, I came home with the new springless version and gave it to my husband, because I already knew there was no hope for me with the rod. He watched a YouTube video and managed to install the rod, but after a couple of weeks our expensive custom shower curtain was down on the floor. After a few rounds of that, we went out, bought the really old kind that screws into the wall. It took some research, but we found one. Months later, the shower curtain is still up there. I’m thinking it will always be up there, but so will the holes we made. So much for improvement.
There was a time when people who wanted mini-blinds had to call a decorator. I’m glad those days are over. Now you can get mini-blinds at your big box home-improvement store, but the measuring might be a little tricky. For our latest house we ordered “custom” blinds and since we have 30 some odd windows, measuring them was quite a challenge. My husband did the installing and it wasn’t the easiest thing he’d ever done, but he did it without the egregious use of swear words.
So when we needed mini-blinds for one of our rent houses, we thought we knew what we were doing. We showed up with our measurements, thinking we’d go in and make do with the “standard” sized blind that were trimmed to fit, but got a lesson in mini-blind packaging from our friendly big box sales employee.
Seems folks used to measure their window and then the store personnel would do some kind of mathematical equation to provide blinds with the perfect fit. The mini-blind manufacturers have now decided to cut out the mathematical equation. Now when you go to the big box store you just pick out the box with your window width on it and voila, you have mini-blinds that fit – at least theoretically.
We pointed out to the nice man at the store the blinds were at least a foot longer than we needed, but he assured us the length was adjustable. Nice right?
The actual installation of the blinds was pretty straightforward. In fact, hubby was able to negotiate the blinds into the window without reading the instructions or asking me anything. Then we got to the adjusting the length part. I dug out one of the instruction pages and read through it. The instructions sounded like gobbledy goop to me. There were four different types of string and you had to hold your tongue just right, but the instructions assumed we’d find it simple.
Simple isn’t exactly the word I would use, but there was one part that was virtually impossible. At the bottom of the blind was a plastic plug which had to be removed so you could thread those four types of string through the hole it filled. The instructions said to remove the plug with a screwdriver. Bill gave it a shot, but his efforts destroyed the plugs.
Remembering the “helpful” YouTube video he’d watched to install the SPRINGLESS tension rod, I whipped out my phone and googled “adjusting Levolor blinds length.” (FYI, there are 6100 results to that inquiry.) I clicked on the Levolor video and watched it while Bill wrestled with a mini-blind.
Liar, liar! Pants on fire! Since we’d already figured out those four types of string, I waited impatiently while the video got to the plastic plug part. The video showed the bottom of the blind and then someone popped the plug out with no hassle at all. I must have watched that part of the video three times, thinking I missed the part where they explained the removal process, but the truth of the matter was, they cheated.
The blinds are installed and we adjusted them, but let’s hope our tenant never gets around to inspecting the bottom of the blind. Next time we’ll just leave a foot of extra slats laying up in the window. So much for that improvement, too.