Ramblings from the Gryphon Rose

Monday, November 01, 2004

Another Furniture Saga

So this weekend I spent yet another day moving furniture. No, we don’t have the house yet. Yes, this was new furniture—well, new to me. No, it didn’t go exactly as planned. Intrigued? Read on.
This past Thursday I got a call from my friend Jean. She had happened across an estate sale, and had found a really nice dresser that the woman was selling for a very good price. Jean didn’t need any more furniture herself, but she wanted to know if I was interested. Sure, I said—a nice dresser at that price sounded good. Then Jean mentioned that the woman also had two big dining room pieces, that they were nice but had been painted a hideous color, and that the woman was asking five bucks apiece for them. Did I want them? Sure, I said. At that price, I was willing to check them out—if Jen and I didn’t like them, we could always toss them or resell them.
That night Jean stopped by with photos of all three pieces. Dresser—very nice, big, nice finish. Hutch and sideboard—big, solid, looked like nice detail work. Painted a horrid Colgate green-white. But sure, we’d see what we could do about refinishing them—or, rather, I would, since Jen washed her hands of the project. She didn’t think trying to refinish two big pieces, while trying to paint and renovate the house and move in, was a good idea.
Of course, the catch to all this was that the pieces needed to be out of the woman’s house by Sunday at the latest. Jean’s dad has a van, so she asked him if she could borrow it. Initially he said no, but Jean thought she could convince him.
Sunday morning, Jean called me to tell me that the van was a no-go, but that she had her station wagon and we could probably move them one piece at a time. Mook called shortly after that—of all my friends, he was the only one available and willing to help move the pieces Sunday—to confirm that we were doing this. He showed up at around noon. Jean called just before that to say that her dad had relented, and we’d have the van after all, but not until 1 or 2. Mook and I hung around for a little bit, then figured we’d better see if we had space in the storage locker before we tried sticking anything in there. Turns out we rearranged and got almost a five foot by two foot space, which would be enough for either the hutch or the dresser and the sideboard. But the storage locker closes at 4pm on Sunday—as in, they lock the gates at 4pm. Jean met us as we were getting out of the locker, and we drove over to pick up the pieces.
Up close, the dresser was every bit as nice as it had looked in the pic, definitely worth the price. And the hutch and sideboard were every bit as ugly. Apparently the woman’s sister had painted them—with remnants of latex house paint, no less. But under that they were nice pieces. So Mook and I lugged the sideboard out to the van, and then the hutch. We realized that we couldn’t fit all three pieces at once, and also that it was already 3:45 (where did all the time go, you ask? That’s a good question—we set out for the woman’s house at around 2:15, but getting those pieces out of the basement took a lot longer than expected, as did cleaning out the van and removing its back seat before taking it from Jean’s dad). And we were at least twenty-five minutes from the storage locker. So that wasn’t going to work.
Instead we drove back to my apartment—with me sitting on the corner of the hutch, in back. Then we tossed out our wicker chair (anyone want a reasonably comfortable wicker chair? It’s sitting on the curb) and started carrying the hutch in. It was then, and only then, that we decided to see if the hutch actually came apart or not. Turns out it does, and fairly easily—about ten screws (and many jokes about screwing in public) later, we tore the top off the piece. Much easier to carry that way, obviously. And the lower compartment hadn’t been painted inside—the woman had applied ugly gray wood-grained contact paper to the hutch shelves, but apparently hadn’t bothered with the lower compartment—which meant we could see the beautiful mahogany clearly. These were once gorgeous pieces, and hopefully will be again. So we carried the hutch in, in two pieces, and then the sideboard.
Then we went back and got the hutch’s front door (we’d removed it before taking the hutch, because of the glass pane in front) and the dresser, and also two small end tables that Jean had gotten (I think it’s funny that, in the past two weeks, Jean and I have been hitting sales for furniture, and she’s gotten more things than I have), and headed back. Carried the dresser in, slid it next to the hutch and sideboard—our living room now looks like a furniture store—took the van back, restored its back seat, then picked up some pizzas and headed back home. We got back around 8pm—I know this because Jean and Mook were hoping to catch the new episode of the Simpsons, but then we got distracted by food and forgot to turn it on.
And so another full day was spent moving furniture. We now have a hutch, a sideboard, three good dressers (counting the two we already had), two good living room chairs, a secretary with a small china cabinet on top, three end tables, a kitchen table, one good kitchen chair, a few book cases, two desks, two filing cabinets, a crib, a student school desk (the kind that’s a chair with an attached arm), three good rugs and one runner, one bedside table, a coffee table, a side table, a TV/VCR stand, and a video tower. We still need a king-size bed frame, nightstands, a vanity, a day bed, a dining room table and chairs, a living room set, a pair of couches or a sectional, at least one more good kitchen chair, and possibly a bar. Whee! But we’re getting closer.


  • At 11/02/2004 9:40 AM, Blogger Lois Spangler said…

    I would have been there, but my ISP has been a punk about sending e-mail recently. So, I hereby volunteer to strip and stain the nastily painted furniture. There, you have it in writing.


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