Saturday, February 24, 2018

endings beginnings

No one stands still. We're all spinning this way and that, sometimes with a goal in mind, sometimes unsure what's around the bend. But you know and I know that I have had one firm goal this winter: to purchase a table that would expand and be large enough for our herd at mealtime. All those grandkids! And daughters with friends! And perhaps someday grandkids with their friends!

Very early in the game, I found a table that I thought would be quite fine. I called the store, learned the price ($2000 when you added two leaves) and sighed.

The search continued. And I found another table ($1200)! Hope rebounded. Maybe if I saved, and we sold our current table, and I talked Ed into sharing the cost? A big shake of the head from Ed.

So we traveled. To Jefferson. To Sun Prairie. To Cottage Grove. All in pursuit of a decent used table that would cut the price in half, or more. We checked the ads daily and selected ones that would look okay in our large farmhouse kitchen. And one was worse than the next.

But last week, Ed came with me to the furniture store (Rubin's) and while there, we found a table we both rather liked. It isn't authentic anything, but it strives to look like it's Mid Century Modern. It's made mainly of rubber wood, which sounds gooey and awful, but is actually a great hardwood found in southeast Asia and it grows fast, therefore appeasing anyone who has trepidations about cutting down forests to put a table in their house. You know whom I have in mind. The top is covered by a thin sliver of walnut. And the price? Just a tad over half of my last beloved.

You think this is the end of the table story? After all, I suggested there would be an ending today.

In fact, we were inching toward purchasing something else altogether -- a Craigslist table that is authentically Mid Century Modern. Made out of solid birch, by a Massachusetts company that any furniture nut would recognize (Haywood Wakefield). The owner wanted $1200 for it. It's a collectible! Ed waited the right amount of time and bargained her down to $550.

This morning, immediately after breakfast...

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I took a deep breath and climbed into the truck next to Ed. This in itself indicates how much I am set on getting a table -- the truck smells like ten mouse families inhabited it all winter long. To say that it is not clean is perhaps the greatest understatement of the year. But of course, why should it be otherwise? No one uses it except on the rare occasion that we need to pick up a load of something or other or Nina gets it into her head that she needs a table for the farmhouse.

There are no shocks on that wreck and so we roar and bump our way to downtown Madison -- thankfully not a terribly long ride.

And there stands the table!

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Ed says -- it's kind of bland.
I say -- true, but hey, it's Mid Century Modern! Though it does look more scuffed up than in the picture.

We do our usual -- ask the owners to please leave us alone while we talk it out.

I lean on it. It wobbles. And squeaks. It has a center leg for stability. The leg doesn't touch the floor.
I could try to fix that... Ed mumbles.
I touch it lightly. Wobble wobble wobble.
I want to love it.
I don't like it.

We explain why it's a no. The owners -- nice people, downsizing from Madison's posh west side house to a smaller posh west side house -- admit that it's not a favorite of theirs either.
Hard to keep in good condition... Probably needs refinishing...

As we leave, I say to Ed -- we have an hour or so before Snowdrop comes over. Want to go to Rubin's?

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And that's how it happens that we drive home with a very heavy box full of table pieces.

Duly assembled by the both of us. So solid! And, you can take the leaf out, or put another one in. Expandable, shrinkable -- as the needs dictate.

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Oh, Ed does mutter -- I thought you wanted a lighter table...
I reassure him that it will lighten over time. I think. And it really is just fine even in its current shade.

The table project receives a check mark. Done!

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As for the rest of the day -- oh, that belongs to Snowdrop. She is spending a short weekend with us and she runs in with every intention of continuing her story just where she left it yesterday:

... and Susie fell soooo hard and bumped her head, so we had to take her to the hospital, where she rested and waited for the doctor. And I asked the doctor: why do you have a chair that jingles when you sit on it and the doctor said...

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and so on,

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and so on.

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With a happy ending.

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And the table quickly becomes a place to gather, talk, play, and eat macarons if that's where your heart lies.

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It's dinner time. We will be breaking the table in for its first family meal. Snowdrop chooses the napkins (or what she feels ought to be used as napkins), sets the silverware.

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We're ready. Ed comes home with the pizza, I put out the salad and... broccoli flowerets. Because there is at least one person in her home who doesn't adore broccoli, I found out recently that the girl doesn't really know this sublime vegetable. I serve us a small portion just so we can all savor its utter goodness. (I seriously love broccoli.)

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Later, much later, she turns off the lights in the kitchen and throws herself into a high speed saunter, laughing and bellowing -- I am a shark, dancing in the dark waters! 

It is delightful the first fifteen minutes, but eventually, she has to be reigned in. There are many ways to do this -- this time she settles by going to my remote desk in the sun room, turning on the work light and scribbling away on index cards. You could say she is burning the candle at both ends tonight.

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Good night little peanut. Sleep well, sleep tight. Dream of spring and summer. Of cousins and brothers. They're all just around the corner.