The Upheaval of a Broken Bar Stool and a 70-Gallon Fish Tank
Sofa, New Hampshire, Portsmouth, 1790-1800; Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Wikimedia Commons. Mahogany, birch, pine, various inlays, and replaced upholstery. Gift of Mrs. Murray Braunfeld
I was chatting on the phone, leisurely catching up on news with a friend while kicking back on my perch atop a kitchen bar stool when I heard the sharp crack, followed by the sound of splintering wood. This immediately preceded the sudden sensation that I was going to topple over backwards. One side of the support to the backrest had just spilt in two and left me flailing my arms to regain my balance.
Our (previously) matching pair of bar stools was constructed of hardwood with cushioned seats and backrests. They had served us well over the past two and a half decades, with one exception; the fabric wore out long ago. I reupholstered them twice and really needed to do it a third time; my fabric selections were just not durable enough for daily wear and tear.
Mike and I examined the broken stool and discussed the possibility of repairing it before finally deciding that it was time to go shopping.
We headed to our favorite furniture store which had been remodeled since the last time we were there. I can't even begin to guess how long ago that was (perhaps two bar stools ago?). One thing hadn't changed … we didn't get three steps into the showroom before being greeting by a salesman. We didn't mind, because we've always appreciated their helpfulness and had a good rapport with the employees. The salesman was probably disappointed that we were only looking for a couple of bar stools rather than something that would promise a bigger commission in his paycheck, but he treated us just as courteously. He walked us across the parking lot to the other showroom. Little did he (or Mike) know, but something had unexpectedly caught my eye in the main showroom as we strolled past.
After we selected and paid for new barstools we were given directions to the warehouse where we could pick them up. As we walked back across the parking lot I innocently asked Mike, "Can we go back inside the main showroom? I want to look at something." I had noticed a sectional sofa when we had first walked in the front doors; our salesman's eyes lit up ($$$).
We needed a new sofa; it was even older than the bar stools. We had discussed this off and on for years. Every advertisement in the newspaper had been examined, but nothing grabbed our interest and suited our style. Our old sectional had a number of issues, some cosmetic and others structural. Mike purchased it before we got married. Over the years it had endured one dog and five cats (that's a lot of claws), not to mention human wear and tear. There was a recliner on each end. One recliner had been damaged by a hefty guest; once it reclined, it wouldn't return to the upright position without climbing over the side and enlisting the assistance of a second person to slam it back hard enough to stay put. As for the cushions, they just weren't cushy any more.
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