December 23, 2007

4, 28 or a Horse

I'm not the most mechanically-minded person this world has seen. In fact, of the 520 million people living in North America, the 2007 "Most Mechanical" ranking had me at 519,998,788, which is a slight improvement over my 2006 ranking. Here are 3 reasons you know I'm not joking.

1. I actually once said that I would "screw in a nail."
2. I bought my first non-manual screwdriver about 3 years ago
3. Joey has had to make his own pinewood derby cars since joining scouts.

One of the blessings of relocating with work every few years is that it has, for the most part, hidden the inability of mine to do anything that involves a tool. When you've moved 10 times in 13 years and you're now in your 6th home, you're not really around long enough for things to start falling apart.

I say all this to set the stage for a project I undertook on Saturday. When we moved to our current home, we gave our dining table, hutch and chairs to a good friend and purchased a table that could be extended on both sides. We were using some chairs we'd purchased many years ago that belonged to a different table so we knew that at some point we'd have to find some new chairs. That happened about 3 weeks ago. Jeni found some beautiful chairs that "coordinated" with the other items in the kitchen ("coordinating" is in, "matching" is out Jeni insists).

The chairs were great but there was one problem. They were the height of barstools and so to sit at our dining table, you pretty much had to sit like you were riding a horse with your legs to the side. Having just moved from Texas, this was no problem for us at least through dinner but by dessert the cramps were unbearable. We knew that we had to either raise the table, lower the chairs or enroll in horesback riding lessons. I slowly did the math - 4 legs on the table, 28 legs on the chairs, or buying a horse. So I decided to fix the table... but how? Not wanting to let Jeni down, I promised her I knew what I was doing and would take care of it. She said ok and it sounded like she snorted, but she DID just get over a cold and still had some sniffles. I give her the benefit of the doubt.

Because I couldn't find a tape measure, I took an envelope and wrapped it around the bottom of the table leg and marked it with a pen and then I was off to Home Depot. My first thought (ok, my only thought) was to look for some long wooden poles to use like stilts (these were called dowel rods, pronounced like "vowel" but with a "D" - fascinating!) that I thought I could somehow glue onto the bottom of each of the 4 table legs. Unfortunately the widest ones they had were too skinny according to the Lumber Department Expert. He went on to say something about some wood and a drill and a hole and a sander and a table saw and a router. I don't think Home Depot trains body language or he would have clearly noticed that he had lost me at "wood." After pretending for about 10 minutes that I understood everything he said, I decided to walk around with my fingers crossed, hoping for the best.

Amazingly, I stumbled across a section for fence posts and found basically a round ball with a metal piece sticking out of it (allegedly called a screw). Something told me that this could work! I showed Jeni who was highly impressed and after borrowing a small metal thingy for my drill (supposedly called a drill bit) from a good friend, I went to work. I closed my eyes and before I knew what was happening I had drilled some holes, squirted some wood glue and dumped some paint and whalaa! I was done!

Now I know when you see the finished product, you'll be tempted to say "Wow, the table looks like it came that way! There's no way Ro could have done this. I'm sure Jeni or Maddy or Joey did it all." But for you skeptics, I've included pictures below. The first is the "Before" shot from nearly a year ago. The next picture is the "After" shot - the raised table with the new chairs. The last picture is a closeup of one of the legs.

So if you ever get in a bind and need some help fixing anything in your home, call me anytime and I'll see what I can do. The number is toll free (800) PUR-LUCK, or local call (801) FAL-APRT or (801) ITL-BRAK.