Monday, August 26, 2013

Annie Get Your Sunday China

A few weeks ago, I bought a gun cabinet. It's going to live in my dining room, and it's going to be the best.

It's for, you know, all...the guns that I...own?

(Don't be ridiculous. I don't own any guns.)

What happened is, I moved into my new apartment in January. I unpacked pretty quickly, leaving exactly one enormous moving box intact, sitting in the middle of the guest room. The box holds all of the entertaining and kitchen items I don't use every day and that don't fit in the kitchen proper: serving platters, a few pieces of good china, candlesticks, a huge bag of tealights I bought at IKEA years ago. The box taunts me. My brain says, this is going to be the coziest guest room ever! But the box says, what are you going to do, put me in the closet? OH WAIT, YOU DON'T HAVE ANY OF THOSE LEFT. To shut the box up, I've been looking for a china cabinet.

About a month ago, my mom and I stopped by some friends' estate sale, more to say hi to our friends than to buy any of their stuff. Out on the lawn stood a tall, narrow, open cabinet with no shelves and oval holes carved into the base. "That's weird," I thought. "That cabinet has no shelves." I went inside. I saw my friends. I tried to throw a ball for their Boston terrier, Zorro, who ignored me and stared into the middle distance of two opposite directions. I bought a set of dominoes and a fifty-cent paperback copy of Anna Karenina. We were just on the way out when my friend Don knocked on side of the shelfless cabinet. "Sure you don't want this?" he said. I'm pretty sure he was at least half joking. "You need a place to store your rifles." You see where this is going. With that, I knew: I did want it. It was old and paint-spattered and made mostly of cheap plywood, and it was definitely, definitely my new china cabinet.

This is how you know my dad is an above-the-call-of-duty kind of dad, and also an engineer: when I waltz into his living room on a Saturday afternoon and announce that I've bought a plywood gun cabinet and I want to turn it into a fancy place to store my trivets, his main response is to run for the graph paper. (I may have heard the words "a project!" emanate faintly from the area of his desk.) By the end of the week, we had a plan--deepen the bottom half, switch out the drawers for cabinets, find a vintage glass door, new feet, maybe some kind of curly decoration on top. Definitely a coat of paint or two.

So far, with the exception of a mostly ineffectual going-over with soap and water, the gun cabinet is the same as it was the day it moved into my parents' garage--but it won't be for long. In the coming weeks (months?), Dad and I will be taking it apart and putting it back together, and I'll be writing about it here.

As someone I know would say: A project!