Saturday, March 23, 2013

Life with a Double Amputee...

The title is a little deceiving, but I wanted to get your attention. Now that you're here, here is the real story. My dining room table and I had a horrible day yesterday. The day involved the loss of 2 legs, a lot of blood and sadness all around.

In 1980, I became a single man, after a 12 year marriage that failed miserably. I moved out of the family dwelling and found a townhouse to rent. I had little in the way of furnishings and needed everything. My first trip to the grocery store involved the purchase of a steak, plastic utensils and a sharp knife, to cut the steak. After broiling my dinner, I looked around and saw no where to sit and made a mental note to buy a table and chairs, so I did, (but not until I ate the steak). The following day I found a store with a "Going out of business" sign in their window and bought a solid oak wall unit and a matching dining room table with 4 chairs. I was set! 

Here it is 33 years later and until last year, when I abandoned the oak wall unit, those two items were still doing their job of filling my rooms and had served me well over the years. For the last 3 years, my oak table resided in a storage unit and a couple of garages, but were still considered family. Upon moving into this house last week, my table came out of retirement and proudly took it's place in my new dining area. Life had not always been so good for my table and chairs however. When we lived in the "big house" in North Scottsdale for almost 20 years, I became host to an out of town friend that was forced to reside in Scottsdale for a time, due to his wife breaking her back in a car accident. Doug and his wife lived in Sedona. He would come down every weekend to visit his wife in the hospital here at the Barrows Institute, after her back surgery. Sometimes alone and sometimes with his 2 daughters. I was married to wife number 3 at the time and we were happy to have him occupy our guest room. One night, while eating dinner, Doug leaned back in his chair and was balancing on the 2 rear legs when the chair totally collapsed leave the chair in pieces and Doug on his ass! I think that's the night Doug began his diet. Doug, an attorney, and I was sure he was going to sue me, got up, brushed himself off, assured me he was okay and said, "I'll bet you that's going to cost you a pretty penny"! (he was right) My wife and I decided to discard the remaining 3 chairs and have new ones made by a local furniture manufacturer. The year was 1998 and we'd had good service from the set and weren't ready to retire the table, as it matched our kitchen cabinets. The 4 chairs cost us about $1200 and when I say us, I mean me.

So here we are at the new house and I notice that the leaf is not in the table making it the size of a card table, which is okay, but why bother to store the leaf and the piece of custom glass that I had made for it? I decide that the right thing to do is to insert the leaf, but it's not as easy as it sounds. Go figure, but the table has warped from the heat of the garages and is frozen solid in it's current position. priding myself at being the king of solutions, I first try using a tire iron to pry it apart, but unless I'm very careful, I could do more damage than good. Scratching my head for about 30 minutes and thinking, I decide to use a hammer on the underside of the beast and hammer it apart. It's working, but extremely slow going. I counted and for every 20 whacks with the hammer, I'm moving the warped work about 1/4 inch and I have 18 1/4 inches to go. My next brainstorm was to get the accordion jack out of the Volvo and use it on the table, but first I have to prop the table up on something, so I use my briefcase on one side and a soup pot on the other. Try to imagine a visual of my task. I'm also using my trusty hammer and wooden cutting board to absorb some of the impact of the hammer. Now I've got the table opened about 12 inches and only have another 6 plus inches to go when I realize that the jack is opened to it's maximum, so it's back to whacking it with a hammer. This process, so far, has taken about 3 hours and no telling how many neighbors I've pissed off with my loud hammering. Suddenly, and suddenly may have been the wrong word, because I only measured my progress about 200 times along the way, I had reached my goal and it was now time to slide the leaf into the waiting opening (sounds kind of sexual, or is it just me?) I get the leaf in, but the table now doesn't want to close, it's still fighting me every bit of the way. I only need to move it about 1/4 of an inch, but where will I hammer on it? I use my wooden cutting board to whack it on the outside of the side of the table and break the cutting board in half with the first smash. (Note to self: Replace cutting board) Now using 1/2 of the cutting board, I finish my task and get the leaf in place and voila, I'm ready to go! All I have to do is put the table back up on it's legs and push it into place...

This is precisely what happened when I attempted to do that. This may have been God's way of telling me that oak is out! The picture below tells it all!

Bulk trash collection is April 1, I already checked!

1 comment:

Laurel said...

at least you had tools! my sister and I once dis-assembled a so-called box spring armed only with a claw hammer and a large screw driver. oh, and we were really, really pissed off, so that gave us a lot of strength! do you know that a box spring is really only a plywood frame (many nails, much glue) topped by cardboard and covered on top and sides by quilted fabric? and for this they charge you?