My fortune cookie said 'Don't give Up!'*, so we went back to the first flooring store we'd visited with less critical eyes, because we'd eliminated a lot of their choices before we went to the other stores and realized that their selections were even slimmer.
There, we found a roll of the most GORGEOUS green carpet remnant, exactly in the right size, a lush, deep plush, and just about choked up our Chinese food looking at the price. It was just under $4/SF, which was a lovely savings off the original price (closer to $10/SF!!), but... Oof. The budget, it is not THAT flexible. So, we found a salesperson and attempted to talk them down on it. No can do - it was already on extended clearance and had been marked down twice. It was really NICE carpet. But wait... the salesman said, you know, if you like this, we've got a roll in back almost the same color that's also on sale, for less than $2/SF, and he scoured the in-stock sample shelves we'd already been through twice and discovered that they didn't have a sample out. It took 15 minutes and another salesperson and a dip into a random pile at the top of the rack to find a single remaining sample of the roll in question. It is a very nice medium silvery sage green color, plush (if not as deep and silky a plush as the coveted roll), and an excellent mid-grade quality. It was slightly bluer than the roll, which was a plus, it is in stock, and, while it's more than I was hoping to pay, is still within our budget.
I'm getting a carpet! Within a week!
We hopped over to Lowe's and bought a nice sage green wall paint, with which to paint our new walls tonight. We were looking at several very dark greens, but a helpful salesman suggested a lighter one, and after holding it up next to some raw pine boards (and our hard-won carpet sample), we had to agree.
So, it was definitely a good day for helpful salespeople. Horrah!
I finished most of my programming this morning, but not all of it, so I need to dive back in now. I got a handful of paintings mailed yesterday and hope to get more out tomorrow!
*We had actually already been planning to return to that flooring store, but the extra prod from the Universe was nice.