Husbands and Chainsaws


Here’s something I can guarantee that most wives hope to never see:  Their husband standing on the balcony with a chain saw…or better yet, your husband attacking your silk upholstered chair with a chain saw while on the balcony.

I posted about our chair that was savaged at the paws of our two cats.  Kapok bleeding, its days were clearly numbered.  DH it seems, decided end its misery and finish it off.

As I watch the bits of kapok now floating through the neighborhood flocking the trees and other balconies down our street as it floated past, it becomes clear that my idea to get rid of the chair by simply calling someone to haul it away…to take it off into the woods as it were, much in the same sense as those Indian tribes that take their elders out to the forest to be left to die, in the dignity of being one with nature.  My plan was just plain prosaic.  A chainsaw clearly has more of a definite verve to it.

I perused Craigslist looking for someone who hauled rubbish.  DH would point out that no one would come for a single item.  Living in a 450 square foot apartment, we are minimalist at core.  One thing DH and I share is a phobia of clutter.  If I add to the list of things to be hauled away, we’d suddenly have to do without—a sofa?  A lamp?  Not a bookcase!  This void would give me the excuse to shop, but I’ve actually finally reached that stage in the evolution of our décor where I like everything we have…the table from Tibet, the chest from India, our Jim Morrison portrait and giant Buddha sculpted in wood—we’ve attenuated our jumble of stuff and have finally crossed that fine line between junky into eclectic.

So, after a few days of searching for someone to haul our chair away, I found one ad that said ‘No job too small,” I called and was stunned by the price.  For what Mr. No Job Too Small asked, I could pay to have the chair reupholstered in an antique brocade from Pierre Frey… by the way, speaking of  Upholstering—note the capital “U”—this is an esoteric art it seems, right up there with the Free Masonry…What is with their prices?  I took our chair’s measurements into our neighborhood upholstery shop…a teeny tiny shop, crowded with a dusty forest of fabric bolts with sumptuous velvets, brocades that begged to be petted and awed over—none of which were cat or husband-proof.

A very nice old man with a faded tape measure draped around his neck shuffled out from behind a red and white toile curtain, behind him I could see an old sewing machine.   He straightened as he greeted me…he was so cute…I was taller than he was—and I’m short!  Mr. Santa’s Helper pulled his wire framed glasses from the top of his head as he took my slip of paper with the chair’s measurements.  He smiled as his fingers danced over the keys of an ancient adding machine.  He pulled the crank to produce a grand total.  I audibly gasped as he explained that the price was just for labor and not the fabric.  Obviously Mr. Santa’s Helper has to make payments on his condo in Monaco.

Frustrated, I even suggested that DH just simply haul the chair to the curb.  Perhaps someone looking to hone their upholstering skills would drive past, stop in total awe, able to appreciate the glory the chair once possessed and take it home and assume the challenge of restoring its beauty, upholstery staple gun in hand.  Practicing would give their career that final coup de grace propelling them into that 6 figure income… Or maybe someone, just needing a chair would see past its gaping wounds and take it home.

I have seen worse on our street corners: detritus of renters without leases.  Much of the stuff left out for free pickings is pretty sorry, drawer-less chest of drawers, sofas missing one back cushion, three legged tables propped against telephone poles.  However, they never fail to disappear.  By morning, everything, no matter how derelict, is gone.  I have images of couples driving around the city in the cover of darkness looking for that sofa to go along with that single plaid sofa cushion sitting sadly on their living room floor…Excitedly, they’d point from the car, breaks screeching, ”Look honey, there’s a plaid sofa missing one seat cushion!  So it seemed plausible that an appreciative chair aficionado would grab ours right up.

DH’s argument against ridding our apartment of the chair was that we would be left with a vacant corner in the living room.  Fine with me, I thought.  However, for DH, a void in the furniture topology was for some reason, bothersome.  As I watched him dismember the chair with a chain saw–while keeping the cats and myself safely behind the closed glass patio door, I realized in DH’s head, removing the chair constituted a major task.  I also wondered how he defined the term ‘good idea.’

We have been flirting with chairs for a while now. Actually, we were operating under some significant impediments to walking into a furniture store and buying the first chair we could agree upon: size and cat proofing.  Most furniture chains seem to cater to people who live in the suburbs and not urbanites with diminutive floor plans…I felt like Jack in the Beanstalk, where upon climbing the beanstalk, we suddenly landed into the Giant’s neighborhood LazyBoy store.  Who has the floor space for an armchair the size of a Hyundai?  Or we’d visit a ‘designer’ outlet that catered to the Loft people—those folk who have uber cool furniture usually in silver or white suede where the lines are exceedingly minimal, the prices aren’t.  As for cat proofing, I still think that it would be a good idea to pack up the cats in their carriers, show up at LazyBoy and turn them loose.  Whichever chair they ignore is the one we buy.  Unfortunately, when I mention this plan to salespeople, they tend to only talk to DH.

Too bad husbands can’t be packed into pet carriers to go shopping.  One thing I learned very early in our marriage is that men come with a certain number of shopping hours—much in the same way that the life of that Duracell battery in your flashlight is only viable for only couple of hundred of hours.  You can tell when their shopping reservoir is running low–as they use up their hours, the crankier they become.  The number of hours that a husband can shop is amazingly relative…handbags?  5 to 20 minutes max…fishing poles—even though you have never seen your husband fish—12 hours.  Furniture shopping falls somewhere in between, the actual limit is closer though, to the 20 minute mark.

Last Saturday, I managed to cajole DH into a furniture store…the trick?  Fear.  I thought about food, but it was difficult getting the bacon to stay on the car seats (actually, broken bits of cupcake would be better bait).   I made dinner reservations at a restaurant next to the furniture store I had in mind. With he promise of sushi, his ears perked up, “Isn’t that next to the place where we saw that black leather chair we liked?”  In mock surprise, I told him he was right (actually I was surprised he remembered).  In all the innocence I could muster, I suggested that perhaps, if we had time, we could take another peek.  I knew that we would have an hour before closing.  This would keep us well within that window of shopping time before he turned grumpy.

We had seen this chair early in our hunt for the perfect chair.  It really was perfect: black leather, i.e., cat-proof, and despite being a recliner, it kept its recliner nature to itself—it had a small footprint, therefore would fit in our apartment.  Why didn’t we buy it when we first saw it?  On first sight, DH had suddenly morphed into Goldilocks and wasn’t sure if it was comfy enough (it is).   Out of the blue,  he wanted wood trim.  He didn’t.  Was it the right shade of black?  Really?  None of these concerns meant anything—they’re merely symptoms of that male resistance that is the one design flaw (well, one of them) in the male psyche.  (One need simply nod and provide the requisite appearance of agreement, and it will pass, resist and the symptoms turn into a full  blown virus where the male disagrees with everything you suggest).

Suddenly DH didn’t want a recliner.  This is amazing, since as we all know, nothing says testosterone like a chair that reclines.  We left the store…I just sighed knowing that all I had to do was bide my time.

Walking back into the store the other evening,  we quickly found the chair again.  He sat in the chair.  He looked at the chair from behind.  He agreed it was a very cool chair.  He removed the seat cushion, why?  I am not exactly sure…he crinkled his nose and started to peruse the other chairs in the showroom…”What if we buy a sofa instead, and put ours against the wall to the balcony, then we won’t need a chair.”  He was losing focus.  I knew had to act quickly.

I said that the furniture store at the Mall (the Mall we had yet to visit) had a stores with store-wide sales.  A mall during the holiday season is a scary place for most men—DH especially. Perhaps it would be prudent to check out their stock,  I reasoned.  I saw that he was starting to pale, now was the time to go in for the kill…”But if we buy this chair right now, we’d have it for Christmas and I wouldn’t have to drag you through the mall where EVERYTHING is on sale.  EVERYTHING.”

They delivered the chair the next day.  Which is why DH was on the balcony sawing the old chair in half.  I’m sure the neighbors think we’re serial killers.  I swear we got weird looks as we carried large black garbage bags filled with parts of our old chair to the dumpster.  Bits of kapok in our hair, we slung the bags into the dumpster.

I wonder if we should paint the bathroom, now?  I think I saw blow torch in DH’s tool box.

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Published in: Uncategorized on December 9, 2009 at 3:30 AM  Leave a Comment  
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