Furniture Revisited: Feeling Happier

Okay, so some time has passed since the repaired and refinished furniture came back to my precincts. Today I’m feeling quite a lot better about the stuff.

Polishing the refinished Ethan Allen table with paste wax and then with Old English and Weiman’s  lemon oil actually did resolve the problem. As these products kind of sank in to the grain, that table began to look pretty darned good. The foggy and spotty effect has gone away, and what remains is a richly glowing natural grain. The tabletop consists of narrow planks that were joined together without regard to how the wood grain might match — because of course Ethan Allen would stain it a brown so dark as to be almost black and then apply a high-gloss varnish, obscuring the grain. But in a way, the randomly variegated grain creates an interesting and handsome effect.

So that turned out to be pretty good.

As for the chairs:

They’re a little lighter than I’d like.

However, the Watco oil with the “cherry” stain in it was a little more ridiculous than I’d like… “Cherry” turns out to be approximately the shade of that fake redwood stain people paint on their outdoor decks. Decided applying that stuff would be ill advised.

Before driving up to Home Depot to look for another color, I called the furniture repair guys and asked how they’d finished the pieces, dissembling my reason for inquiring by saying I wanted to know how best to care for the stuff. Manny said they’d applied paste wax to all three pieces.

Thought so.

The prospect of bathing both those chairs, each with 13 spindles, in mineral spirits did not appeal.

Really did not appeal.

By light of day (or was it light of reason?), I realized the color wasn’t that far off from the older chairs that had been refinished some 35 years ago.

Naturally, those chairs would have darkened over time. These probably will, too. Not that I’ll live another 35 years to see it.

Speaking of this, my son and heir dropped by last night. And — get this! — he didn’t notice the difference!

{chortle!} I pointed out the refinishing job to him without editorial comment. He thought the stuff looked great! And apparently he truly couldn’t tell much difference in the chairs.

If the de facto owner thinks they look fine, who am I to complain?

I laid on a layer of butcher’s wax, followed by three coats of furniture oil. And they look OK. Considering how old they are and how violently they’ve been abused, they’re probably as good as they’re gonna get. With the Navajo rug draped over the one chair that resides in the dining room, it looks just fine. And since only the dog visits the bedroom, where the other one lives, WGAS?

All this thrashing around delayed another project: I’d agreed to do a webinar on editing for a local publishers’ group, as a freebie — a favor to a friend. Though what needed to be done was all mapped out, I still needed to create a slide show and a script.

Because I found the prospect of oiling furniture a hell of a lot more interesting than sitting in front of a computer for god only knew how many hours, I got sidetracked from PowerPoint.

When I finally sat down to work, I just turned on the computer and PLINK! The power went out.

They’re building the damn lightrail up the main drag just to the west of us, creating vast chaos. I figured the workers had hit an electric line — when they ran the thing past my son’s house, the power, water, and gas were constantly going out.

Exceptionally annoyed, I felt a bad thought enter my mind: I had never violated the city’s laws by carrying an alcoholic drink into the park. So I poured a bourbon and water into a coffee mug, lashed up the dog in a collar and leash, and headed out.

The streets — all of them! — were overrun with traffic. Apparently they were diverting people off said main drag, or so I thought. Stopped to chat with the neighbors. Moved on.

Cassie didn’t want to go in the direction of the park, and neither did I, since it didn’t look like we could make our way across the roads clogged with hordes of confused and angry-looking drivers. So instead we wandered into the neighborhood to the south.

There, in the quietest and most dead-end corner of the ’hood, what should we come across but these people standing by the side of the road, looking stressed and unhappy. Incredibly, a car of genteel-looking old folks had crashed into a lawn dude’s truck and trailer. This encounter smushed in the front end of the old folks’ vehicle; barely scratched the Sanford & Sons-style truck. They were unhappy because the lawn dude didn’t have a driver’s license (and, you can bet, didn’t have insurance, either). He was unhappy because he was no doubt about to be deported.

How can you run into each other on a tiny neighborhood lane where you have noplace to go — it’s not a through street, for godsake — and where you should be driving about 10 mph??

At any rate, they reported on the cause of the power outage. They were on Northern when they witnessed a wreck: “When we saw the power pole coming down, we thought it looked pretty bad.” All the people charging through the neighborhood were being diverted off Northern, one of the busiest streets in the city.

By the time Cassie and I wandered back to the house, the lights were back on.

Powered up the iMac, which came on without much complaint but was a hassle because Word recovered all or most of the files that were sitting open and re-opened them with no names. Takes forever to figure out what they were called and where they were stashed and resave them under the correct filenames.

But the MacBook, which I wanted to use so I could sit in an easy chair because my back and leg hurt like hell every time I sit in this desk chair, would not come on!

It just sat there whirring its goddamn gear-shaped mandala.

This was a problem, because the most recent version of a document I needed was on that computer, and because it wasn’t coming up on DropBox.

Finally I gave up trying to reboot and just let it sit there and whir away while I wrestled with Word, Excel, and Preview files.

About then the phone rang: M’hijito. He wanted to take me to dinner!

I never say no to an offer like that. Besides, he couldn’t have called more serendipitously: here was a man who could get the MacBook running again, if anyone this side of the Genius Bar could.

By the time my son showed up at the door, the laptop had come back on…but it had lost its wireless connection. He got it back online, and then we headed for a restaurant.

So I didn’t get started until after dark. And it was quarter to one in the morning by the time I finished the twenty-slide PowerPoint presentation and its accompanying script. I have NO idea how long it will take…went to bed before rehearsing it.

I doubt if we’ll get any business from this. Unless I’m mistaken, this group consists pretty much of the same set who made up the defunct Arizona book publishers’ association, whose members are not prepared to pay a living wage to contract editors. That’s why we’ve been targeting corporate work: Tina and I need to put food on our tables. But things are pretty slow just now — for reasons I don’t understand, all the work comes in at once, so we’re invariably faced with a gigantic crush, and then we have a month or two with nothing to do. So I can afford to donate my time.

Who knows? Maybe something will come of it.

Meanwhile, though, I’m feeling a lot better about the furniture. That’s something.

 

 

 

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