Monday, May 29, 2006

A journey of a thousand miles...

begins with a single scrape. Chinese refinisher's proverb.

I wanted to say something about Memorial Day, how it used to be a tra-la-la day off from work for me and now, how sickenly relevant it feels to my generation. But I guess I have found my limitations as a writer because I can't think of a way to say it without ranting on and on. There are plenty of places to go online for that, and this doesn't need to be one of them.

So: instead of political diatribe, welcome to the first installment of This Old Dresser. Destined eventually for Iris' big-girl room, it's another stray I picked up from the alley on trash day and have been storing ever since in the basement, a sort of purgatory for dirty, damaged objects with potential. There's a couch (Eamesian Modern wood frame, battered but sound; unthinkable orange vinyl upholstery), a chair (similar form and condition, upholstered in torn wool and dog fur), a breakfront (solid oak under red and yellow paint), and more. All waiting for me to get up the gumption to refinish them.

Because the fact is that I am really more about the handicrafts, I guess you would call them: painting, printing, stenciling, sewing, embroidery. Aesthetic treatments. Now, refinishing – that's a more fundamental transformation. I've put off starting because I haven't known where or how.

Today J brought the dresser out into the light of day and I picked up a scaper and ended up scouring the alligatored old finish off the top, both sides, and drawers. (There is a bottom drawer, by the way; it just needs to be put back together. You reading, J?) The result of all this elbow grease is probably not good enough for refinishing, actually, but I've been expecting it to need paint all along anyway, so that's OK.

The important thing is that that makes two intimidating projects I've gotten off the ground this weekend: the dresser and this journal. Just in time to go away for a week and a half... but hopefully I'll still have the momentum when I return.


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