Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Saga of the Dining Room Table

Kay. So, our family has grown in the past several years - have you noticed? - and Ben and I were starting to realize that our little table (circa Ben's bachlorhood) just wasn't cutting it anymore. Luckily, we have a nice, big dining room (Big bathroom? NO. But big dining room? Yes.), so we felt like we could get a bigger table.

Enter the discarded table from Ben's office. They were going to get rid of it, and Ben decided it would be a perfect new dining table for us. It was an eighties spectacular - hunter green legs and a glass top. When Ben brought it home, much frowning was done on my part. He assured me that he could turn it into something beautiful. I believed him. Because, you know, that's what he does - makes beautiful things. The man has a great sense of aesthetics.

It sat in our garage for....6 months? A year? A really long time. Finally, when we got back from China, after many weeks of passive-aggressive comments on my part ("That table just takes up so much SPACE in the garage, Ben..." "Sure wish I could walk around in the garage..."), he assembled his tools and got to work.

He began by removing the glass top and sanding off that craptastic hunter green color. Then he used some kind of sander that would make the legs have that "brushed metal" look:

(I took this picture from inside my house. It was soooo stinkin' cold outside. I wasn't going out in that.)

Next, he put two heavy pieces of wood on top and secured them. Somehow. I'm a little fuzzy on the details:

Then he put this special tiling board on top of the wood:

It sat like this for another few weeks. Sighhhhhhhhh. Note my feeble attempt at decorating up above, with my vase of flowers standing in the middle of the unfinished table. Just sad.

After that, we went tile shopping. We really wanted to do the whole top with that beautiful glass tile that's in little one-inch by one-inch squares. We've seen them in a lot of the newer homes as backsplashes and just loved them. We picked out some really gorgeous tile. But then the dude at Home Depot told us that glass tile is good for backsplashes, but not for surfaces where you will be putting plates. He told us they're not durable for that kind of usage.

So scratch that idea.

We decided to do glass tile just in the center - like a little visual table runner. We knew that not that many plates would be scraping around the middle. Most of the action will be around the outside of the table. So we got some glass tiles for the center and regular floor tiles for the edges.

I thought we were going to just put the big ole' tiles around the edge and call it good, but Ben decided he wanted to cut each and every tile down to really small tiles - maybe 3 inches by four inches.

He borrowed his friend's tile cutter and started cutting outside, but it was so stinkin' cold that the water in the tile cutter thing kept freezing, and Ben couldn't feel his fingers, much less manipulate that tile with his fingers very effectively.

So the man brought the tile cutter inside. Sighhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

And guess who didn't cover anything? Yeah. Ben. So he cut those tiles in my kitchen and splashed tile water all over everything in the entire kitchen. The walls. The appliances. The floor. The cabinets. The cereal boxes. Everything. Everything.

And then have you ever heard a tile cutter cutting? Screeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaammm!!!! Screeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaammmmmm!! Screeeeeeaaaaaaaammmmmmm!! That's how it sounds. It makes my little Sensory Perception Disorder ears just RING. (I have a theory that I have Sensory Perception Disorder. Another post for another day.)

So could Gage nap? Nope. The kids spent the entire day cringing and covering their ears. And I actually hightailed it to work. I just couldn't take the noise.

And then I came home to behold the tile water splatters all over my kitchen. Which I got to clean up.

Have I ever told you about Ben's and my roles? He makes the messes. I clean them up. Always. Re-shingling the roof? Ben tore the old shingles off, I cleaned them up and took them to the dump. Tearing down the ceiling in the laundry room? Ben tore it down, I cleaned it up. Black makeup applied on Ben's face, arms, hands, feet, legs, etc. for Halloween? He applies it and smudges it all over the house. I clean it up. The list goes on and on. It's swell.

Be Better, Kar, not Bitter. :)

Kay. Rant over.

At long last, the tile cutting was done, and then...the table sat for another few weeks. Sighhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Then, Ben found out with just two days' notice that he had to go to China. So for those two days, he put that sticky stuff on the tile board and placed the tiles. And then the man went to China, leaving me with an unusable, but beautiful, table:

Pretty, huh? Maybe even worth all that screaming noise.

So. For the last few months, we've been eating our dinner on our eighties table in our living room:

Which is tough for a few reasons: 1) Kids spill. A LOT. And cleaning spills off the carpet? Not preferable. I'd rather clean spills off the hardwood floor. 2) We've always had a "no food in the living room" rule. But since the table is in such close proximity to the couches, the kids are starting to migrate with their food to the couches. I have to constantly remind them to keep their food at the table. So the living room and couches have more crumbs on them than usual. Which makes my skin crawl. 3) It's just so ugly. I'd soooo rather have a cute, skinny decorative Ikea table there, a la the one in our dining room:

Am I right, or am I right? (*Note - that big, bare spot above where the eighties table currently is? It's awaiting my beautiful painting of Chinese cherry blossoms, which will be here, along with its handsome giver, on Tuesday!!!)

On the upside, it's the perfect place for kids to do homework, or for my sisters and Mom and I to play cards, say, during March madness games. So that's been fun. We'll see what we decide to do with it when Ben grouts the table and we can actually eat at it (Which I'm hoping is next week while he's here. I have a list of Honey Do's a mile long).

In the meantime, I've tried my hardest to keep the kids and their messes away from the ungrouted table, with minimal success. Note the Nerds candy:

The leftover Trix cereal dust:

And remnants from Dylan's dinosaur bone excavation kit:

I think I'm going to have to get that office spray stuff that sprays air really, really hard. You know the types they use to clean keyboards and motherboards? Yeah. I'm going to have to shoot that stuff out of there so Ben can get his grout on.


Welcome said...

i think, and i'm thinking out loud here, i think if you can swing it, you should hire/ask someone to grout it before ben comes home(if ben wouldn't object - ownership thing) so that way, when ben comes home, you can just enjoy him (and he can work on other things on your list.) =) just thinking. (exciting that he'll be home for a bit! and, it's going to be a real art piece when it's completed. you will loooovvvvee it!)

Mindy H. said...

The table is beautiful! And so are your new family pictures. I have gotten sooooooo behind on checking blogs over the last two weeks, but I had a blast getting caught up on all of your crafty adventures this morning. You are so talented (as is your table-building hubby) !

Patty said...

Ben should start a table etsy shop. I'd buy one.

And... I'd try vaccuuming all those cumbs and nerds out instead of blowing them out.

Emily Empey said...

I love how the tables coming!! I can't wait to see it finished!!!

megan said...

I would vacuum all the crumbs and nerds out like patty suggested. I'm excited to see it all done and finished!! I couldn't live like that. If I/we start a project it needs to be finished asap!! I'm going to be working on the counter and painting walls etc in the upstairs bathroom in a couple weeks (Mark doesn't know this yet...) and I hope to finish it all in 4 days!! :) I can't wait to hang out with you guys next week!! The table is gorgeous (if I haven't already mentioned that)!!:)

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