My day job involves analysis and discussion followed by writing. I get to take my ideas and the ideas of the other team members and put the consolidated product together. It’s almost as if all of the experiences and education were leading up to this. It’s intellectual. It’s challenging. I wake up often before the alarm because I enjoy it.
At home, things are different. Things are less cerebral and more mundane. My latest project was refinishing our kitchen table and chairs. The kitchen is important. Very important. Even with soccer, music lessons and after school activities; even with my travel for work, the kitchen is where the family members share their days, their thoughts and their dreams.
We bought the kitchen set when we first moved here. The kids were small children then, and the table suffered the usual exposure to small children. If you’re a parent you know what I mean. Of course it has also served as homework central – including school projects involving plaster, paints, and other things that those without children banish to the workshop. Oh, and it has had its share of crafts projects, impromptu art and even acted as a worktable for various electronics projects. Even after the refinishing there were remnants of paint and sparkles that ended up under the new finish.
It’s not just that we deserved nicer; it’s also that the table and chairs deserved it too. They’ve paid their dues. They deserve a little respect for their solid duty.
There are 6 chairs; the table and three chairs are done. Two chairs are halfway complete and one is awaiting the arrival of more fabric. All in all, not bad for a couple of days work. The tale and finished chairs turned out great. While I try hard and do my best I have to believe that a certain carpenter I admire helps me out on these projects. In any case, everyone is pleased with the results.
When I’m done, the table will undergo its next round of functional tasks. It will be party central for Thanksgiving – even if the main meal is in the dining room. It will be where everyone gathers when we have friends over to watch a football game. Its shiny new finish will reflect all of these events and gather its dings and smudges.
I put a lot of work into restoring the kitchen set. I know that soon it will show its wear. That’s what it’s here for – to be a gathering place for friends. Every smudge, every scratch, every smear will be from someone who is special to our family.
My wife and I long ago decided that we preferred a home – a place of love and warmth and sharing to a “house beautiful.”
We got our wish.