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Friday, 01 July 2011

Refinishing Furniture

By Johna Ferguson

The weatherman promised nice warm weather for the weekend, unusual in Seattle, so I decided to finally get the furniture refinishing taken care of. I’d start with the small, low bookcase in our entry hall which only needed a little sanding and staining plus waxing.

It’s only four feet long but with two shelves of books and then the top for gathering junk. I got the small folding Chinese stool and gathered all my needs: sandpaper, stain, a brush and a cloth for spills plus newspapers to spread under it.

The stool is low, just a foot off the ground, but easy to sit on to take out the multitude of books on the shelves.

I put them in nice piles just nearby and then started the sanding. I failed to realize my arms were not long enough to reach from one end to the other, so I decided to scoot the stool to the other end.

I forgot it was a folding type and of course it crashed to the floor, dumping me with a jolt onto my butt with my legs straddling piles of books. I thought, no problem, for at least the can of stain didn’t tip over. But when getting back up I realized the back of one leg really burned.

I looked at it and found that blood was running down in a steady stream from what looked like a nice scratch above the ankle/ Only, on closer examination, it really was much wider and deeper.

My husband, being a doctor, fixed it up with antibiotic ointment and bandaged it but said it really should be stitched but my skin was too thin for that. I went back to finishing my job, for a job once started must be finished no matter what, or so my mother always said.

The next morning’s job sounded easy. I was refinishing a walnut dining room chair. The can of removal said just spray on the stuff and it takes the old finish off; wipe it with a rag or steel wool. Just the seat of one of 4 chairs was scratched beyond belief and I had procrastinated about finishing it.

Zhou carried it outside for me while I gathered all the stuff: the finish remover, the stain, a brush, rags, sand paper and again the folding stool. This time I knew not to move it with me on it.

But the spray can would not spray. I shook and shook it. I knew it was full, but something was plugged. Finally I gave up and decided to sand the seat.

It took me much longer than I anticipated but finally, right before lunch, I had finished it. I stained it and now it sits in the dining room waiting for a coat of varnish tomorrow morning.

But after all that, I was tired and my leg ached from being bent under me so I took a book and lay on the davenport to read - of course, falling immediately asleep. But when I awoke, it was to a mess; seems blood leaked from my bandaged leg onto my light grey colored davenport.

I did the usual hydrogen peroxide stain removal but didn’t have any meat tenderizer to help it along so it only partially came out. The flip side of the story is it’s a three-cushion davenport so I can just turn that cushion over and no one will be the wiser. But me, of course.

When I tried to find a moral to this story I decided it would be:

1. Don’t sit on folding stools that can not be locked.

2. Hire someone to do those odd jobs if possible.

3. Finally, it would also be good idea to not get old. Old people’s skin is often so paper-thin that it tears easily so it can’t be stitched. Also, don’t have a physical condition that requires blood thinners for then any wound bleeds like a stuck pig.

Anyone feel like donating some blood? Type “O” please.

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Oh, Johna, these accidents do seem to come in waves, don't they? At least you got some humor out of it to entertain us!

Johna - Neat story!

But, I am having trouble with your 'morals'.
#1 I have no problem with this one.
#2 is profound, except that I would have been deprived of some enjoyable reading with my morning espresso if you had hired someone else.
#3 sounded appealing at first. Who wants to get old? But then I began pondering the totally unacceptable alternative! - Sandy

Johna, don't stop doing odd jobs..my bad habit is standing on kitchen chairs to reach something & then taking a sec to neaten up the cupboard & then just stepping off the chair, yikes..I was doing that at 30 by the way, so I agree with Sandy..getting old just means
more things to get accomplished...was just thinking that for years I always owned a few cats, 3/4 mostly and I miss their sitting around on various places watching me as I climbed up and then, off the chair..luckily they never picked up my bad language on landing...good lesson though on wounds and stains...hope all healed...


I used to have one of those 3 cushion sofas,too.

Only trouble was,that as soon as I turned one cushion over to hide the dirty footprints one of the kids left behind,another kid would come along and spill grape juice all over the thing.

I could never win until I got smart and bought white grape juice and made all the kids wear clean socks.

I enjoyed your story and you are a lucky girl that you married a doctor if you are going to do your own jobs around the house.

BTW,I have "O" type blood,too and will send you a pint for the next time you decide to use that stool.

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