We're putting it on the stairs down into the basement and only on the stairs.
Yes, I know what I said before.
Here's the thing: we are a bit worried about me falling, and that hasn't changed this week. But when we're not talking about falling down the stairs, when we're talking about an ordinary fall where the highest bit is 5'6" to start, tile and linoleum and bamboo and wood and laminate...don't hurt all that much more than ordinary carpet. And I haven't had significant injury rates on those surfaces, even though I've fallen on tile and linoleum fairly often since we have both in our house. Bruises, well. We don't like them, but we can cope.
Also they sell area rugs. And as I said, we will pad and carpet the stairs, and we will throw a rug down at the bottom of the stairs.
And there's this: every time I thought about carpeting the basement, I felt disappointed. The rest of the house (except kitchen, bathrooms, and front hall) is ordinary sand/tan carpeting, and I don't hate it. It's fine. But to me, beige carpet feels like sort of shapeless semi-dress weight black trousers. There's very little it clashes with, true, but you never look into a room and say, "Oh, what lovely beige carpet! That beige carpet is exactly what the room needed! It just completes the look perfectly!" (Note: this is for values of "you" not including timprov's mother, who, as I understand it, is actively fond of beige as a color rather than considering it a tolerable neutral.) Beige carpet is what you put in if you never, ever want somebody to say anything about the floor at all. And this is a quite reasonable option; many times you don't want somebody to say anything about the floor at all, and that's all right.
But we've put a lot of time, energy, and money into this basement project, and the kind of carpet that would provide any more padding than any other surface to fall on is not cheap. So we were looking at shelling out significant money for something that made me feel sort of let down and sad with every single sample we looked at.
I looked at non-beige carpeting, which is harder than you might think. Every kind of carpeting has many, many beiges, sands, tans, khakis, ecrus, etc. Then perhaps a white or a cream just for variety. Then occasionally something else, often not. I looked at deeper browns, greys, blues, evergreen, fuschia, burgundy with gold fleurs de lis on in case I felt that not getting to as many conventions as I'd like could be made up for by carpeting my basement as a hotel. I looked at berbers. I looked at oatmeal shags that looked like somebody had spilled oatmeal on the shag already. (Dear British friends: stop giggling, it's a kind of carpet here.) And timprov kept saying things like, "We can get the $x/sq ft stuff we saw at Home Despot and it will be fine."
I did not want it to be fine. I want it to be good.
Wood, now...wood is beautiful. Wood comes in so many lovely types that even the ones I don't really like are kind of nice anyway. Wood is its own thing. Its brown is not homogenized. It is good for people with allergies, which is us and several family members. It is easy to sweep. It comes with texture. It comes with the very satisfying urge to put my hands on it a lot. These days it comes with tongue-and-groove bits built in and substrate layers that allow you to put wood on concrete with the said properly selected substrates between.
And wood comes with the ability to have area rugs bestowed upon it. Thick, soft area rugs, upon which a person might fall and feel just as though they'd fallen on wall-to-wall carpet. Possibly better.
Right now I needed to bet on myself instead of against myself. And I needed to make a decision that was not about what I could manage to bear with the vertigo but about what I actually want and will enjoy, what will make me happy. I needed to make this decision as mrissa and not as the person you all think of when you get a cold and the room spins a bit. As me, not as the vertigo.
(Of course if timprov and markgritter were kicking and screaming about the wood, this would be different, but in fact they like it too.)
And once we'd made the decision that we'd be looking at wood samples, that this was the plan unless something goes really drastically wrong, the skittery disappointed bit shut up. And I felt happy and calm. There is work ahead of us. It will take a bit longer this way than if we had gone to some carpet merchant and said, "This one, please," and they had said, "Right then, we'll do that Thursday starting at 8 so please have an adult ready to let us in." But I realio trulio think it is the right thing. And I am so pleased.