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Thursday, October 6, 2011

From Ours to Theirs

Remember this picture?  I took this while remodeling
our "playroom" into a "school room".
See that table?  It didn't always look like that.  Well, mostly it did... but I had to make some changes to it.  When I see that table, I think of fresh apricot halves with cottage cheese gently replacing the pit.  I think of bagels with cream cheese and strawberry jelly on top.  I think of Waco, Texas, Mike Tyson, Algebra, and AIDS.  I have a feeling of security and comfort when I'm near that table.  I can almost smell Thanksgiving dinner, feel the paper cuts from wrapping gifts, and see my discolored fingertips from dying Easter eggs.  That is my childhood table.  The table that we sat around as a family each night to enjoy a hot meal and share the stories about our day.  The table that faced our television so we could watch the evening news if dinner was running late.  The table I sat at as I learned about AIDS because Magic Johnson had contracted HIV.  The table we discussed "no means no" over as we learned about Mike Tyson's poor decisions.  The table my brother tried to do his Algebra homework at while my father would lecture him about the importance of showing every step.

This table began her life with us in Bakersfield, California.  From there, she moved with us to Chapel Hill, North Carolina and finally down to Alachua, Florida.  My mom saw a picture of this table in a magazine back in the mid-80's (WAY before you could google anything) and told my dad that she just had to have it.  After much research, he tracked this table down and had it shipped from Houston, Texas to Bakersfield.  My mom made countless Halloween costumes on this table.  We painted, we did paper mache, we colored, we cut... and this table took that beating and kept asking for more.  I even remember one Thanksgiving when we had more guests than chairs.  My mom grabbed the garbage can, pulled it to the table, and plopped one of us kids on top of it as a seat.  The rule with this table always seemed to be "if you can fit, you will fit".

When my husband and I first got married, we had nothing.  After a full day of rummaging through my dad's barn, I found this table.  My heart swelled.  I was just sure that they got rid of this table sometime after I moved out.  I'm not sure why... my dad never gets rid of ANYTHING.  But when I saw this table in the barn, I immediately went in the house and asked for it.  Oh the joy when I got it!  It wobbled, it creaked, the side moulding was coming off... but it was mine!

Josh and I moved to Colorado, and used this as our dining room table.  We had to prop it against a wall so that it wouldn't fall over because the screws in the legs had beat the wood up so much that we weren't sure if (or probably more like when) it would topple over on top of us.  It wasn't long before Josh found a "new" table for a fantastic price at a garage sale.  That table even came with four chairs.  I was heartbroken, but I knew he was right: that table was a moment's glance away from being a weapon.  Refusing to get rid of it, I convinced him that we should pack it away in the garage until I got the proper tools (and know-how) to fix it up.  Soon, we got orders to move to Guam.   We put the table in long-term storage in Colorado and I promised him I'd do something more substantial with it when we came back to the states.

Well, we're in Alabama now and I have the PERFECT use for this gem.  I need a school room table for the girls.  With everything I learned at this table, it only seems perfect to have it as the stage for my children's education!  The problem, though, was that it didn't lose the wobble while in storage.  Oh, and it's just too tall for a children's desk.  So, here's how I upgraded it.

First, I decided what wasn't needed any more.  
There were only two of these leg-stabilizers that were worth anything.  The
other two were ripped out.
See?  No bueno.
This is to hold up the leaf ends.  There are two, and while I have them I'm
not sure I'll actually use them.  So I'll pack them away and see.  If I haven't
needed them by the time we PCS, I'll toss them altogether.
Stripped naked of all it's parts.
Was that a good thing in the '80s?
The only thing I could think of to do to stabilize the legs
was to secure the legs to these wood blocks, then secure
the blocks to the table.
A more-prepared person would have stained the new
blocks.  Eh... not this chick.  Still trying to figure out if
I want to paint the table, or keep it white.
Did you know that if you rub a screw with bar soap, the
screw will go into the pre-drilled hole easier?  MADE
MY DAY when I found this out!
So, here are our two new gutter book shelves, and our
newly refurbished table.  I cut the legs to the same height
as her Step 1 desk, and will hopefully be making chairs
soon.  Looks better, huh?


  1. I had no idea about the soap thing. I will have to try that!

  2. Definitely! I've been drilling holes that were too big all this time so the screw didn't get stuck. A 33 cent bar of soap made it all better.