No More Hope For This One   Leave a comment

Here's the picnic table in its original wood stain, circa 1988.

Here’s the upside down picnic table in its original wood stain, circa 1988.

The conversation went something like this.

Me: There’s no hope here.

She: What. Do. You. Mean?

Me: There’s nothing I can do. I can’t save it.

She: But I like it. There has to be something you can do.

Me: No, there’s nothing left. There’s nothing to fix.

She: Can’t you nail it or bolt it or something?

Me: There’s nothing to bolt to, that’s the problem. It’s rotten. It’s done.

She: But I like it.

Me: I know you do, but it’s done.

She: Can’t you put a brick under it? It will help with the aesthetics.

Me: You’re using the word “aesthetics” when talking about displaying rotten wood? Really?

She: But I like it.

It’s been a part of the family for 25 years. Longer than our daughter.

I built it in the garage with nothing but a power drill, a circular saw and a jig saw. I used 2″ pine stock because we couldn’t afford the recommended redwood for this picnic table/bench/sideboard outdoor set. I built it with Christopher’s help, as you can see. When we moved to our new home in 1989, it came with us. When the finish didn’t fit with our new & improved vision of outdoor living … after a long discussion, it got a coat of gray paint.  It got a few coats over the years … I believe in thick paint as protection against the elements. The benches lived in the garage for the Cub Scout Den Meetings we hosted. The sideboard stayed on the patio, and was the only serving surface we had until we did the outdoor kitchen….

That was in 2006.  It was clear the end was near … we bought a new table and chairs for the patio. I built two new sideboards in 2011. The old picnic set got in the way, but we could NOT throw it away.

Velda liked it.

Eventually, the table moved to behind the pizza oven. The sideboard got demoted to the side yard, behind the fence where no one could see it. Velda took it as a gardening center, and seedlings, pots and hand rakes called it home.

All was fine until I needed to move it to make room for the new outbuilding that will hold the lawnmower. The sideboard had to move about 5′ to the right. And then it happened. The side board of the sideboard fell off.

25 years ago, this carriage bolt held the right side on the sideboard.

25 years ago, this carriage bolt connected the right side of the sideboard to the bottom shelf. It fell to the concrete when I moved the sideboard, and I knew we were in trouble.

The cleats had literally dissolved into mush.  Both the top and bottom cleats had failed, the bolts fell out, and the side fell off. Oh, the sideboard can still be propped up. It may even last through this growing season.

But it’s just about gone.

I told Velda the good news was that I could build her a new gardening center that was just what she wanted it to be.

She didn’t seem to care.  You see, we were losing the sideboard.

And she liked it.

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