During a recent craft fair, Holly was perusing doll outfits and barnwood crossbows as I trailed behind her. Bored, I pointed to an old shutter that someone had converted into a note holder by way of clothespins. “I could make that,” I grumbled.
“Okay,” Holly said. “Then make it.”
“Uh…with Legos?” Holly was not amused. “So, wood then?”
One of Holly’s good friends ran a booth at the fair. She makes crosses and picture frames. She gave us a nice piece as a wedding present. Her husband was operating the cash register.
“It looks like you’ve had quite a lot of people today,” Holly said.
“Yeah,” her friend said. “But mostly they just say, Oh, I could make that.” She didn’t notice my sudden blush.
“For real,” her husband added. “I’m like, I’d like to see you try.”
I stepped away to take a fake phone call.
Holly just got hired as a P.E. teacher at Old High Middle School. We are both officially adults, by one measure. To celebrate, I wanted to get her a table. We have little furniture and no end tables. Sanding and painting a thrift store find seemed within my grasp.
But those things cost money! Like thirty bucks! I could buy like sixty balloons for that. So instead, I tried to build one.
Holly has an extensive Pintrest account. I used it to find a few designs and then decide that those people were stupid. It can’t be that hard. Why so many steps? So instead I wrote this on a Wal-Mart receipt: STEP 1: Buy wood. STEP 2: Treat them like Legos. STEP 3: Impress Holly.
I was especially proud for spending eight dollars on two 1×4’s and two 2×2’s, though I had to employ my Maintenance training to sight boards for straightness. I’ll be honest – that was probably the best part. It was the first time I had been to Lowe’s and known what I was doing. Yet something was missing. There were cracks in the wood and one leg was shorter than the others. I knew only one man who could deal.
I took the table to my old boss, Rob, Lord of Maintenance at Camp War Eagle. “Well,” he said, “telling you what you did right would take less time. Have you heard of pilot holes.”
“Yes,” I said proudly. “I don’t like to do them. Too many steps.”
“That’s good, because I know you don’t want your table to look good.”
He proceeded to school me in the ways of woodworking. We laughed, I cried, and in the end I took away a few pieces of advice to incorporate – namely, an extra length of 2×2 for leg support.
Yesterday I sanded and painted the beast. Now it holds my books. I – HAVE MADE FURNITURE. I – AM FURNITURE!