Three years ago Mike and I decided to build our own dining room table. We felt equal parts bored and capable so we went to Home Depot and picked out materials to do for ourselves what we should have left to others.
In the end we produced a table that was rickety. At meal times it simulated for houseguests the unique experience of dining in the center of an earthquake. This homemade table swayed and swayed and swayed but it never collapsed.
I credit our craftsmanship.
Yesterday I was on a lunch date with a friend. We were walking around an outlet mall and went into Crate and Barrel on a whim. I initially went into the store looking for wine glasses that were less rickety. I needed a wine-carrying device that wouldn’t spill or break when it fell from my hand to the floor. This sort of thing should have been invented by now and perhaps it already has, but I refuse to drink wine from a Nalgene.
As luck would have it, the wine glasses in Crate and Barrel were displayed adjacent to the dining room tables. The tables were all remarkably sturdy and shockingly discounted. I immediately found a potential replacement for the rickety table. It was beautiful and non-returnable. Other savvy shoppers were circling the same table. They were circling MY table.
The time was 12:02pm. I texted Mike: “Call me ASAP. Dining room table opportunity!!”
I remembered that it was his lunch break, which meant that Mike was either running long distances or lifting heavy weights to improve his functional fitness. I emphasize the word “functional” because every time Mike carries the groceries in the house or pulls the stroller out of the trunk or opens a jar for me I say, “See! Functional fitness! All those lunch time workouts are paying off!”
But today the cost of functional fitness was a very sturdy, very beautiful dining room table on final clearance. The other circling shoppers were getting handsy with my table.
My friend kept encouraging me to buy the table. She said it was beautiful. She said I could use it in a million different ways: table, desk, craft area. She said that sometimes you just have to jump on these opportunities. It seems important to note here that my friend was actually the wife of a Colonel that Mike works for. That means that not buying the table would be defying direct military orders, right?
I looked at my phone again. It had been seven minutes since my first text to Mike, which I thought was a fair portion of time for him to start, complete, and recover from his functional fitness exercises.
“Too late.” I texted him. The time was 12:09pm.
Swish went the credit card.
On the drive home in the afterglow of my purchase, I started considering the fact that the new sturdy table wasn’t exactly the same height as our old rickety one. Now we needed new chairs.
Molly sat silent in the backseat, proving once again to be an unhelpful shopping companion.
When I got home it dawned on me that I could sell the existing chairs for the cost of the Crate and Barrel table. My problem solving abilities thrilled me. So as Molly napped I uploaded a new Craig’s List posting that advertised our “barely used and already assembled” IKEA chairs.
Within fifteen minutes I had a response.
Within two hours I had a sale.
I walked into the house and suddenly saw what Mike would see when he came home: a happy baby, a load of unfolded laundry, two dining room tables, and zero chairs.
The good news, I would tell Mike, is that I didn’t plan on cooking dinner tonight, so we wouldn’t need chairs at the table anyways.
The good news, I would tell him, is that he was looking extraordinarily functionally fit, which would come in handy when we would need to disassemble the old rickety table.
The good news, I would say, is that this table is the sturdiest four legged animal I have ever encountered. It’s a square little fortress that will sit in our living room and inspire us to be stronger and more steadfast.
I would tell him that I’m a lot like the rickety table: real cute but somewhat unpredictable. This purchase is really the metaphorical act of maturing the rickety table into a sturdier one.
And the new table is a lot like Mike: handsome and responsible. It is functionally fit, so strong and reliable that it can be used for just about anything.
The new table, I would tell Mike, is really a compliment to him. It reminds me of his best qualities. I bought it because it reminded me of him.
In a way, this table really is him. Would he really want me to get rid of it? Think of all the metaphorical implications!
I’m writing this blog post while standing at my beautiful husband-table. Mike is on the floor with the baby. This, I assume, will be our resting postures until we find replacement chairs.
In the meantime, Mike has suggested I take over the budget. He suggested this immediately after forgiving me for buying the non-returnable husband-table. I assume the habit of managing a monthly budget trains rickety tables into being more financially responsible ones.
The truth is, if I could do it all over again, I would still buy the husband-table. I would buy it and marry it and bask in the afterglow with every non-returnable implication, because truly I need something strong and sturdy and responsible to lean against while I write about my rickety adventures.
The husband-table was the best decision I ever made.