Jon and I got, yet another, piece of scrap wood to test out stains for our kitchen table. We've been to three different hardware stores and bought several cans of varying shades. There's no real method to the madness, I just keep slopping on the colors, waiting for magic. Our garage is beginning to look like Jackson Polluck's barn.
It's been a month since we finished the table...we built it as a gift to each other for our twenty-first wedding anniversary. I did most of the designing. For weeks, I poured over magazines and blogs, researching color and style and shape. Jon listened earnestly to every detail. On date nights, we walked through furniture stores and ran our fingers atop tables and chairs.
We have the same taste mostly. Simple, Shaker-like, warm. I wanted an honest table. He wanted a strong table. We wanted a table that would last, that would one day host son-in-laws eating gumbo and grand-babies slurping up rice cereal.
Jon can build anything. Years ago I brought home some old cupboard doors that Mayli had torn out of her kitchen and Jon made me a bench that we still use to this day. He built a cradle for Summer, a toddler bed for May, and two sets of bunk beds.
He even built a kitchen table once before. Oh, how I cried the day he brought it home. I had asked for a small knotty-pine breakfast nook, back then it was just the two of us and baby May. He brought home what mildly resembled a pool table and could quite comfortably seat at least ten people, had we had room for that many chairs. We had to take the windows off the side of the house just to get it indoors.
But this time, we planned better...
We decided on the length, and the depth and the height, every angle. We measured it to where his elbows would rest and where my feet would land.
We chose the lumber, piece by piece. Jon shuffled through the heavy stacks, and I pointed and nodded, or pointed and grimaced. "This is a nice one," he'd say, and I'd agree.
Jon built the table in just 2 days, eight feet long, with matching benches on both sides. The wood is worn and imperfect and scarred in some places.
It may be the most beautiful piece of furniture on the planet.
As I stood this morning in my Polluck-garage, head cocked and squinting at the drying colors on the scrap board, my neighbor hollered over, "Watching paint dry again, Tami?"
I nodded and smiled.
I'm just so afraid to stain it wrong, ruin it's unfinished beauty...
I need Jon. I'll have to wait until he gets home from work. I'll have him look at the color and remind me of what I am going for...remind me of our original vision. The process gets fuzzy for me. I can see where I want to go but I don't always know how to get there...but Jon is a natural builder, sees the finished project.
Well, now it's been nearly a year... We're just about to celebrate twenty-two and I never finished the post, because we never finished the table.
One of the benches still has various stains slopped on an end...but all of them just ended up looking Faux. And I hate Faux. Our original vision was that nouveau-barn look that keeps popping up in Restoration hardware and model homes. We looked into the reclaimed wood thing, but it was super expensive. It would have been about five grand for the amount we needed. I think we spent less than two hundred dollars on our wood at Home Depot, and that's including the nails.
So I think I've finally made a decision...I think I'll rub it with some wax...go with the grain...across the top and on the edges. I'll fill a mason jar with Tuberose and light some candles... and I'll let it just...be. It'll host Nana's casserole and warm bowls of soup and coffee on bright mornings...and there will be laughter there...and surely some tears. It will be a homework spot and a bill paying spot, a spot to tell stories and to listen.
It is still unfinished, time will change it on it's own. It will get worn and it will be loved...just the way it is...imperfect...but honest and strong.