For more months than I’d be willing to admit---okay, you dragged it out of me. It's been over a year---I’ve been online shopping for cushions for my grandfather’s wicker settee and chair. And just so you'll know that I'm not total indecisive I settled on a fabric called Fretwork Pewter from Sunbrella early on in the process. That was the easy part. I wanted a light and airy look that would go well with whatever colorful or campy throw pillows or gaudy area rug I could come up with, but finding a company who sold the size I needed was more complicated. I felt like Goldilocks with her bowls of porridge. Some cushions were too long, some too short, some were the right length but not the right width. It was enough to put me on the Crazy Train with nothing but a tooth brush, a baby-powder scented stick of deodorant and a couple of Wet Ones.
Recently I got depressed at the hunt and briefly considered going the route most people would take---ditch that settee idea and order some normal furniture for my future living room. (I can’t use my current sofa and side chair because they are scaled for a space twice as big as I’m moving into and they’re navy blue. Ya, I know. What was I thinking back at the turn of the century where they were new? Navy blue with gray carpeting and walls might appeal to Dallas Cowboys fans, but I’d stick my fingers down my throat if I ever had to host a game night party.)
Then it hit me that I live in a town of over a million
people. Surely someone local must have cushions. I started at a place that
sells everything you could ever want for your back yard. You want a fancy-schmancy
outdoor kitchen or a play palace for your kids? They’ve got them. You want a grill that costs more than your mortgage payment or a gazillion piece, outdoor furniture grouping? They’ve got them by the dozens. They
also advertise that they sell replacement cushions. So off I went armed with photographs
and the patterns I made for the size cushions I need but the first question the
sales girl asked was, “What brand is the settee?” “It was made in the 1920s,” I answered, “If it had a brand stamped on it back then its long gone now.” She measured my patterns and she really tried to find cushions in
her catalogs of cushions that would fit. Ohmygod, and did she have a LOT of catalogs---a one foot thick pile! Finally she said, “If you
want to do that settee justice you should have custom-made cushions.” And she sent me to a place she said could do the job. I thanked her profusely and off I went
to a little hole-in-wall business seven minutes from where I live. Online I'd traveled from coast to coast looking in vain for the right bowl of porridge when I should have been looked under my nose.
The cushion guy is my new best friend. It’s going to cost me three times what ready-made, ill-fitting cushions would cost but I’ll be getting very firm and very thick core foam that will make the wicker far more comfortable than the cushions I’m using now or could order online and get this, he’s going to come over to the house to do a “dry fit” part way through the process. That takes the fear out of spending so much money and having them turning out too big or too small. We just have to get past the hurdle of him getting the fabric I picked and if he can’t get it, I’ll have to go back and wade through his books of sample fabrics. I’ll only have to wait five weeks for the cushions to be made. Real living room furniture now is taking four to five months if you don’t buy off the showroom floor.
Custom cushions really are expensive but compared to buying a new sofa and chair I’ll be saving a huge chunk of change. And why not? I'm not a living room kind of person. Unless I have company---which is rare since entertaining people freaks me out---I'm always in my computer chair or dinking around with a craft project. The living room is like fly-over-land. I walk through it to get to other rooms. Been that way my entire adult life and I'm not kidding about my ineptness at entertaining. I'm as awkward as Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory. He at least will offer a hot beverage on occasion, I forget even that basic courtesy from Hospitality101.
After the online experience I had with bistro set I doubled down on finding a computer desk locally. I went to a couple of stores, ending at the Amish Oak place where I’ve bought five pieces over the years and I was armed with a drawing of a what I wanted in a desk. By now, some Amish carpenter has my order on his 19th century, orders-in spindle. My desk will has a pull-out work surface for left-handers, a keyboard tray and a computer tower cubby behind a door. It will be small---only 48” wide by 24”---but its finish will match the other antique, golden oak stain I already have on furniture I'm keeping and it will have mission style details. Its back will be finished, too, giving me the option to use it in front of the floor-to-ceiling windows in my living room instead of in my tiny den space which would turn my fly-over living room into a destination point. This custom order won’t come in until mid-October which works out perfect for my move-in date of October 5th.
I don’t want to admit what that desk is costing me but all the other small desks I’ve been finding aren’t made with real wood and they won’t last five years before they get saggy and I plan on living another ten years. So I’m looking at it like my Amish desk will cost me $245 a year and with all the time I spend sitting in front of my large monitor and curved keyboard, I’ll get my money’s worth. Did you see what I just did there? Yup, I’m a master at justifying what some might think is foolish spending. Desks with computer trays and monitor cubbyholes are going the way of buggy whips in this age of laptops and tablets.
Next up I need to order the La-Z-Boy I’ve had my eye. Last time I was out to the store they said it’s taking five months to get them in. I just have to wait on the settee fabric first, to make sure I don’t have to pick something difference to coordinate with the chair. This is the fun part of moving. All the planning, all the work, all the pandemic enhanced stress is finally resolving and things are coming together. Oh, and did I mention that my eye doctor just pronounced that my cataracts are "ripe" and they need to be removed? I am officially not legal to drive at night, he said. Surgeries will get scheduled for mid and late October...just in time for me to see colors again when I'm sitting in front of my painting easel for the first time in years. ©
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