A few weeks ago, my friend Jill gave me an end table that was otherwise headed for the Dumpster. It is composed of particle board covered with wood pattern veneer. I repaired the drawer tracks that had originally been installed with staples. I sanded the top, drawer fronts, and sides, applied primer, and painted it forest green (I had some leftover Japanese paint found in a Dumpster). I found some unmatched drawer knobs in the basement. I screwed them on.
It turned out ok, and I might put it in my Airbnb apartment. I sent a picture to my friend Jill. She texted: “I want it back.”
I texted: “$65. LOL.”
I enjoyed working on that end table for a few hours. I liked watching YouTube videos that explained how to paint wood veneer and particle board. I liked turning some junk into something that can now pass as a shabby chic end table.
It made me think we could turn some of our eclectic furniture into something more. Maybe we could restore the round table we inherited from Deb’s apartment: the table that was “restored” by a previous owner. It is a solid wood table that was updated by gluing wood pattern vinyl flooring to the top. We keep it covered with a table cloth.
When Deb came home from the hospital with Joy, I moved the table upstairs to our bedroom so we could eat meals at the bedside. Deb had developed a serious infection after her C-section. At first, she needed help walking to the bathroom. She eventually needed help sitting up, sitting down, getting in and out of bed. Her pain was so severe one night that we ended up in the emergency room at Mercy. We dropped off Joy with Deb’s cousin at midnight. Mimi was up and down all night with Joy. She was wonderful.
The table is just large enough for two people. We ate our meals bedside. We had several meals from Time for Dinner, which were generously given to us by Deb’s Bunco group.
That table is back downstairs. I removed the sheet vinyl. I sanded off the adhesive and old stains. And I applied two coats of polyurethane. Five hundred Scrabble tiles arrived from Amazon yesterday. (Scrabble is a big deal in our family.) The plan is to cover the 24-inch round table top with Scrabble tiles—words, phrases, and names, each tile piece glued to the surface with a drop of super glue. I will then cover the table with a 24-inch round piece of glass.
Late last night, I picked three tiles for the first word. I said to Deb, “I’m going to test this super glue. I’m going to glue one word to the table and see how it looks.”
“You are going to glue J-O-Y to the table, aren’t you?”
“How did you know that?”
“I just did,” Deb said.
So this morning, JOY is permanently glued to the very center of that table. But today MARY will be added, as well as ANDI, KAT, EMILY, DEB. I might add some high-value words, like QUIXOTIC. But I know that most of the words will have special meaning to our family: LOVE, HOME, MR. BEAR, BOOSHIE, HALLMARK, PEGGY, ASHLEY, KATIE, CHIP, KATHLEEN, SARAH, DAVE, MIKE, ENVELOPE, and many others.
Yes, JOY is placed at the center of the table. Some days it feels like Joy Elizabeth is the center of the universe, the center of our lives. But really, the center is simply ‘joy.’