Eating Weiners and Beans off the Fine China

We've been through a terrible few months with Scott changing jobs three times, and with my work prospects going into the tanker.

Things are getting slightly better: we've hopefully resolved a long-standing tax dispute, Scott is back to work at a nicer dealership with some prospects of getting back to his own field working in television, and my employer has finally assured me that my job is safe -- for now.

Not only that, but both of us are within striking distance of the Canada Pension Plan, our debts will all be paid off by the fall, there is no prospect of doggie death (cross all Milk Bones) and my friend Jennette has been given good prospects on her cancer recovery.

It's not exactly smooth sailing but we're getting there. We should be excited. As the saying goes, "we been down so long it looks like up to us."

But there's another side to the story. When a family has been experiencing massive economic uncertainty and upheaval, its members are constantly waiting for the next shoe to drop.

It's like we've been living on a teeter totter. When one of us is up, the other's down, or we both just fly off the contraption altogether.

I woke up the other night in a massive, sweaty panic. I had visions of living the next few months without heat, water or electricity because we are in catch up mode. It's stupid. I've been to this rodeo more than a few times and know all the tricks with regard to "payment arrangements".

But tell that to the night crawlers living in my head.

That night, I decided to sell my furniture.

I grew up with loving folks, but not a lot of money. Anyone who spent their formative years on a farm knows the value of good things. Our house might have been built with tar paper, but my granny had silverware, good dishes, and a decent dining room set.

It was always a lifelong dream of mine to have some really nice pieces that I could pass on to my children. Today, I have them. Some are bought, some have been handmade by Carpenter Scott, and I am proud of my very old fashioned, solid wood furniture. I can't explain it, it just makes me feel like I'm home.

I don't have a lot of furniture but what I have is very nice. I bought most of it back when I had three credit cards, a house in the suburbs and a rich husband. Back then, I learned to buy quality pieces -- that way you have some furniture that lasts forever, except if you, unfortunately, have been visited by Godly disasters.

I used to think that if you bought the good stuff, you would never have to replace it.  I didn't realize that that rule can't apply to the sofas and chairs when you have dogs and kids of any age.

The Ekornes lounger I bought with my gambling money ten years ago is standing up thanks to an extended warranty I wisely bought.

However, the Lazy Boy is toast.

It has a big hole on the left arm where Finnigan likes to stand and moon over my husband. Despite being replaced twice, the Lazy Boy frame mechanism is causing it to list to one side.

Our really expensive leather sofa is in serious need of leather repair. I've asked Carpenter Scott to give it a go. I saw a video on YouTube about leather home repair, so tomorrow he's going to practice on the Lazy Boy using glue and patches from a pair of old jeans.

Maybe we can keep it patched up until we are too old and bedridden to care.

You think about these things when you're turning 60.

Fortunately for us, the bones of our living room have held up well. The pair of bookcases I've lugged across the country over the past 30 years are still rockin'. So is my harvest table which has been refinished lovingly by Carpenter Scott. If we decide to keep it, he will have to refinish the chewed legs which are part of the legacy of the Late Great Gordon Blackstone.

The china cabinet, which we lugged home from Homesense in our now deceased convertible so long ago, is still beautiful. It holds treasures found on garage sale hunts, department stores sales; it also holds that damned Terra Cotta warrior that I have been trying to sell for ages. It was an unfortunate purchase at a drunken Chinese auction. Ah, the memories!

Being writerly, I also own a collection of lovely desks which include: an accountant's desk I bought off a truck in the parking lot of the Rideau Tennis Club, my grandfather's library table which is over a hundred years old, and my work desk. It's a ridiculous thing, a desk collection, because one can only physically work on one, maybe two tops, at the same time.

I have no defence.

I loves me a good surface.

Writing desks inspire me to spend my time not earning a living editing journals involving  pathology slides of testicular cancer and dissected eyeballs. What can I say?

Now where was I?

Oh yes, my decision to sell all this furniture to pay off short-term debt.

The morning after my dream, I shook Scott awake and told him about my plan.

He got out of bed, without looking at me, and just started laughing at me.

"You won't get anything for any of it," he sniffed, heading towards the bathroom. "We might as well keep it."

Today, I went over all the nice pieces, washed all the crystal, cleaned off the harvest table, and realized he was absolutely right. Good things mean nothing to people in this disposable society. Maybe I'll get $1,000 for the lot and then have to buy new stuff, worse stuff, stuff made of cardboard and requiring assembly with Allen Keys.

My good stuff will find its way into the homes of Hipsters who will spill ethical coffee grounds on the table, and litter my bookcases with video games. They will never, ever, again hold an actual book.

Whoever purchases my good things will not care that I raised three kids around that table, or that we celebrated friendships using the crystal goblets I bought on sale at McIntosh and Watts. They won't care that I slaved for months to afford those bookcases, which were the first real pieces of furniture I bought when the kids were small.

And for damned sure, the leather on the accountant's desk will be ringed by sweating glasses.

All people will care about it is how little they paid for my stuff. They will brag about how cheap they got it, and disrespect it in more ways than a person can perform sex acts guided by the Kama Sutra.

Eventually, my solid wood furniture will find its way into the land fill, or into the basement of an electrical supply shop. Twenty years from now, the bookcases will be considered oddities, and be used to store various cuts of marijuana plants.

Oh no, I'm hallucinating again. I see my Grandpa Loyal shaking his fist at me. I see Grandma Ina poking me with her cane.

I realized now, this furniture holds what is left of their legacy, and mine.

I cannot possibly sell it to Hipsters. If I have to, I'll make a hip out of one of the pieces of wood.

So I'm back to square.

We'll figure out something, tighten our belts another notch.

I may go to my grave eating wieners and beans off a nice surface, using some very fine China.

But at least I'll go in style.


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