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Yesterday was Father’s Day, and the holiday proved once again (to me at least) that if you’re going to have children, at least one of them needs to be a daughter.
The story actually begins on Friday. My wife has been complaining for some time about the furniture we have in the kitchen nook area of our home. When acquired back in 1993, it was a stylish contemporary table with a 60-inch round thick glass top with a nice beveled edge to it. The four chairs were made of whitewashed rattan to match the base and were on casters.
For years, they were comfortable and functional.
But some time shortly after the furniture celebrated its 25th birthday, my wife started to suggest it was time for a change. The chairs were looking dated, and she wanted something new. Because of the neutral nature of the table and the way it seemed to fit perfectly into the particular area of the house, it could stay. But the chairs needed to be replaced with something more modern and stylish, she said.
My wife believes that I am very talented when it comes to making money and have proven this repeatedly throughout my life. She also believes I have great difficulty actually spending this money, and will be more than happy to provide proof of this should anyone ask.
So at dinner that night, in a weak moment when one of the casters on my particular chair broke, I may have softly said “maybe it’s time to replace all these chairs.”
Immediately the bat signal went out. Surprised I even said this, she took no chances on me having second thoughts. My daughter, who was going to visit for Father’s Day, was immediately called and texted. She was at the house Saturday morning at 9 AM. Those two were going to find four new chairs.
It’s interesting to note that in the previous three months, my wife had been so concerned about COVID-19, she did not leave the house. I did all the grocery shopping and took care of all chores that involved putting on a mask and leaving the house. I have been instructed by her to wash my hands so many times the skin on them looks like lobster claws. If I go outside, check the mailbox and return with nothing in my hands, I am still greeted with “go wash your hands.”
But new casual dining chairs are apparently kryptonite for COVID-19. They shopped all afternoon, yet returned disappointed and defeated. They could not find what they wanted.
At least on that day.
Sunday morning after saying Happy Father’s Day, they were gone again. Like Captain Ahab chasing the great white whale that bit off his leg, these two were going to find what they wanted. At 12:35 PM, as I was sitting on the patio watching Maggie chase a squirrel up a tree, the expected text arrived. It said “I’ve found them and they are PERFECT.”
They were. Perfectly expensive too. But I said fine, let’s get them. They were at a store in Sterling, and I asked how they were getting here to Ashburn. She said she would check on the costs for delivery and I immediately scoffed. “Four chairs? I can get them in my car. I’ll come to Sterling right now.”
My wife’s first response was “BULL-oney.” But she never lived in a dorm in college, so she did not understand that for several years I was able to pack everything I owned into a tiny lime green Chevrolet Vega and drive from Norfolk to Blacksburg and back. It wasn’t comfortable, but every 200 miles you’d stop for gas – and since it was a Vega – add a quart of oil. You could stretch your legs then.
Since she had her car, I figured one could go in the back seat there. My car is an older Mercedes E-350 with a big trunk and a backseat that can be put down to create a long stretch of storage space. The first 2 went in easy. The third and final one needed the use of the sunroof wide open. But we got it in and 15 minutes later, they were in the house.
I still believe to this day I could have gotten the fourth one in too. As well as three suitcases and a couple of fast food meals.
The old chairs were removed and the new ones placed in their space. They looked good, but after looking at things for a few more minutes, I had an idea. Because of the canted walls from the bay windows, it seemed to me they would look better if we rotated the table about 22 degrees allowing for the chairs to be angled instead of flush against the direction of the windows.
For the record, I didn’t just pull this idea out of thin air. I was in the furniture business for 25 years and was involved in product development, so I do have some idea of what looks good. But it wasn’t my wife’s idea and if you’ve been married for 40 years to the same person, you begin to realize that all your ideas are going to be rejected until some total stranger repeats it. Then – because it came from someone else – it’s brilliant.
No, my wife said, as expected. I like it fine the way it is.
Enter my daughter.
“Mom,” she said, “why don’t we try this?" Then she repeated what I had just said. Word for word.
Begrudgingly, the table and chairs were adjusted. Everyone took a step back. Knowing what would happen next, I quietly walked away. Then I heard my wife tell my daughter “that’s a great idea. I’m glad you thought of it. I really like it.”
Which concluded a wonderful Father’s Day. I got a nice lunch and some gifts. I’m always happy when my wife is happy and she got the chairs she wanted which made her happy. Even Maggie was happy because I negotiated into the deal her old chair on casters could be kept off to one side, so when there wasn’t any company coming, she could still have a nice place to sit and stare out the windows at squirrels.
It was a win-win deal all around.
But I shudder to think how it all would have turned out if instead of a daughter….I had a son 😊