Thursday, November 20, 2008

The War of the Table

Stop me if you've heard this one... or been there...

On February 28th, 2009, I will celebrate my 5th year of marriage to The Lovely Steph Leann, 5 years of fun, 5 years of romance, 5 years of movies, 5 years of music, 5 years of laughter... and yes, 5 years of such bitter disputes that perhaps there is no compromise. Dave! There's always a compromise. Yeah, there is... one of us says, "Screw it, I don't care."

While working today at The Happiest Place in the Mall, a buddy of mine dropped by--Bobowen, husband of The Freckled Becca... I call her this only in love, as I think her freckles are adorable, lest you think I'm taking a dig at her--I personally think she's a beautiful girl, but I'd never tell her that. So keep it between us, 'k? But on Clouds in My Coffee, we all get fun names, don't we?

Anyway, Bobowen used to manage a TJ Maxx, and has now moved over and taken on the opening of a new store in town, IO Metro. Bobowen told me that I should stop by after work to see the grand opening, and I texted The Lovely Steph Leann and let her know we should do that very thing. She texted back, called me later, then texted again for me to come home and meet her at The Cabana, and we'll go get dinner and visit the new store.

I did, passing Lil Sister Ashley along the way in her vehicle, Barney, and met The Lovely Steph Leann here. We got into her car and drove back to the Patton Creek Shopping Center, where we pulled up and parked in front of this huge Pier One type furniture & accessory shop. I was surprised, I thought it would be one of those boutiques stuck into a corner somewhere, but no, its a pretty big place. Its a furniture place. The Lovely Steph Leann, being 1043% more cultured in this stuff, knew this. I didn't.

We go in, and are greeted warmly by The Freckled Becca and Bobowen, and The Lovely Steph Leann and I start touring the place... well, she does, I actually head straight for the refreshment table, where they are serving a cheese plate with four or five different cheeses (one of them was pink... not sure how that happens, but it was good) and a bowl of crackers, and next to it, the cookie table, which I didn't touch, but just glanced at. Right.

Now, we've been in The Cabana since February 8th of this year, and after living in the apartment--The Casa de Pesos--for almost four years, between the two of us we have acquired most of what we needed furniture wise... well, let me rephrase that--for almost four years, she's had the time to acquire most of what we needed furniture wise while slowly getting rid of what she didn't like of mine. But that's marriage, right?

We were blessed to have some money to furnish our home with when we moved in, much of which we've used on various things like housewares, a futon for our guest room (a good, sleepable futon, not one of those cheap, board in your back futons from Wal-Mart), desks, lamps, and other small things we've needed. We still want to toss up a backsplash in our kitchen (mind you, before The Cabana, I didn't even really know the concept of a 'backsplash') and get some shelving done in our attic closet we've turned into a bonus room and so on and so forth.

The two glaring things that I think we need, and I'm guessing that The Lovely Steph Leann would put them at the top of her list, include a living room rug and a dining room table. And of course, chairs to go with the table. We both agree we need to have our living room painted--her because she doesn't like the neutral color we currently have on our walls, and me because the sooner we can get the room painted, the sooner we can start putting stuff actually on our walls. And she eventually wants a hutch or a china cabinet to hold the china.

Well, we work our way around the store and actually find the rugs... and actually find a rug we both like. Once again, we want them for different reasons--The Lovely Steph Leann wants a living room rug that will accent our pillows, go with our couches and give more life to our living room... I want a living room rug because I am tired of tossing down cloth mats on the hardwoods to put my tv trays when I'm eating in this room, or I'm blogging here. Currently, my laptop sits on a tv tray that is sitting on what I only can suppose is a pink bathmat rug. The bottoms of the trays are rounded, which means that little felt thingies on the bottom won't work--they fall off. We've tried it.

But, we found one we like. And this is a major break through. Because up until this very moment, I'm not sure we ever found one we both liked. And then, a few minutes later, we a dining room table we both liked... two, in face. A rectangle and a square one. The price is good. The look is good. This night might be golden. Bobowen is happy for us. The Freckled Becca is ecstatic, not just because we might be purchasing a big ticket item, but because she's frequented The Cabana, so she knows what needs we have.

We talk to a few of the sales people, and one of them makes a solid case for getting a square table instead of a rectangular one, a case so good that I'm now going square all the way--mind you, our friends Sammi C and Paulie Walnuts have a high table in their apartment, with high barstool-type chairs, and I love this, but The Lovely Steph Leann doesn't care for this very much.

I've also seen a square table in another store that I promised The Freckled Becca I wouldn't go to--it sounds like "Nashley Burniture"--with chairs and a bench on the backside. I am very pro this style, but The Lovely Steph Leann isn't crazy about it.

You have to know The Lovely Steph Leann... she lets you know pretty quickly when she likes something and when she doesn't. And she hasn't liked any of my table choices... for me, though, when it comes to furniture, I'd pretty much go along with whatever, I just know what I don't like. I mean, I know what I think is ugly, but sometimes my answer is just "that's fine", and it means just that very thing. I don't love it. I don't hate it. I feel as if it would serve my table needing purposes just fine, and I find it agreeable. Go with it.

So back at the store, we've toured the store twice now, and I think we've settled on a rug, and I am pretty sure The Lovely Steph Leann is leaning toward this table we like. The chairs are an additional expense, but I tell her, "Ya know what, we buy two tonight. Maybe three. Maybe one. Whatever. Anyway, every month or two, we buy another one. After six, eight months, we have the entire set." She nods agreeingly. This is great!

And to top it off, we're actually looking at hutches. We are checking out china cabinets. I say, "You know, I think its funny that the dishes we use all the time are piled up, various colors and randomly, in a closed cabinet, hidden away, but the dishes that we never use have to be put into a thousand dollar cabinet, for the world to see."

The Lovely Steph Leann gave me a look.

(This is where all the guys nod their heads and say "Yeah, brother!" and all the chicks shake their heads and say, "You're really stupid, and you just don't get it.")

I'm doing the math in my head (and the cabinet we are looking at doesn't cost a thousand bucks, lest you think we're rolling in the dough--we aren't) and I know we can't get all the things we've looked at. I even make the declaration, "If you want the rug and the table, we can get the cabinet too. We'll pay more than what we've got for house money, but the extra can come out of Christmas fundage--this will be your Christmas present. A new china cabinet." I'm feeling pretty good about myself, by the way.

Bobowen comes over, we chat for a little while, then The Freckled Becca comes over, and she's telling us how much she loves the table and rug we've discussed purchasing. I glance over, and The Lovely Steph Leann is holding her small calculator that she keeps in her purse... she's doing math too. We walk over and sit down, and begin to discuss the parameters of what we might spend and how to make it work...

The table and the hutch, no rug? The table, the rug, all 6 chairs? The table, two chairs and the hutch? What about the hutch and the rug only?

And then... its like... its like I saw it coming... I mean, I knew it was coming, but the process had started before I could stop it. Perhaps my guard let down, because I was excited that we might have a dining room table--remember, I lived at The Deuce with four guys... I've never owned a dining room table, especially not one this nice and this cool. And its a cool table. With cool chairs. And we both like it.

But... somewhere... it just... it just started...

The Lovely Steph Leann began to talk herself out of all of it.

It begins with an expression on her face. One of just, "Hmm... is this what I want to do...?" Then, its followed by something like, "Well... we could just... not do anything tonight..." And by this time, by the time the expression and the words come so close, its over. There is no discussion, there is no battle to be fought, there is no pleading and begging. Its over.

The Lovely Steph Leann has now expressed doubt about the table. And even further doubt about the cabinet. At this point, I'm under the delusion that the table can be saved, but fully understanding that cabinet is in the North Atlantic with the Titanic going down behind it. Its gone.

Its now to the point where, if we purchased the table (and I think had I pressed the issue, we would have bought it) then when people come over to The Cabana, and comment on the table, the response will not be an excited, "Oh yeah, we loved it when we saw it!" or a "Yeah, I thought it fit this room well!", it will be more a shrug of, "Yeah, Dave liked it, and I thought it was okay, so we got it." This is NOT how to furnish a home.

The Freckled Becca comes over, and so not only has The Lovely Steph Leann begun to express doubt about the table, The Freckled Becca, being a chick, begins to understand her logic and reasoning. She even uses the deadly words, "Oh, I know, my husband and I have that problem", said only to mean, "Oh, I know, I have a husband who just doesn't understand how the women need to furnish a home the way we want to furnish it..."

Let me stop right here and say this... I have fully comprehended the concept that a house is an extention of the wife. If the house is messy, not a big deal for the husband, you just pick it up and clean it. Eventually. For the woman, though, it makes her feel like she's failed as a homemaker and housekeeper--I get it, I get this... but... the table... it was so nice... it was so....

"You know, if you aren't crazy about it, don't get it," The Freckled Becca says. "When you envisioned your home before you moved in, if you didn't see a cabinet like this, or a table like this in your dining room, then don't get it."

Its as if The Freckled Becca loaded the gun and then handed it to The Lovely Steph Leann who shot the table as it lay helpless, defenseless. Bobowen raised his hands, smartly, saying, "I'm not in this. You're on your own." There are some things that guys just won't help each other out with... I'm not sure I would have come to his defense either.

Then, out of nowhere, The Lovely Steph Leann turns to the rug. Even The Freckled Becca is shocked--"No, no, the rug... it has to stay!"

I told Steph, finally, "If you want the rug, get it. Do not get it if you only are throwing me a bone here. At this point..." and I said the words that a guy should never really say to a woman when furniture shopping, at least in the tone I used... "at this point, I don't care."

She gave me a look, and we walked back over to the rugs.

Well, we got the rug, so The Cabana will now have carpeting for its living room. At what price, though? The Freckled Becca was excited for us, still siding with The Lovely Steph Leann ("you should go visit this other furniture store, you might find something you like there...") and Bobowen just happy we came out...

Dinner was quiet, as I think she was a little afronted, and I was just irritated that we still didn't have a dining room table, one we both liked--that doesn't happen often, remember. But as the night wore on, we loosened up a little...

Finally, back at home at The Cabana, she was in the crop room upstairs, so I dashed up the stairs, grabbed her, kissed her a few times, told her I loved her a few more times, and just hugged her tightly. For me, the table issue went away, as most of life's problems do, however temporarily, when I stand with The Lovely Steph's Leann's arms wrapped around me.

I should have gone to bed about an hour ago... but I wanted to post the next part of A Very Deuce Christmas Story and also to write this up... something I thought you could all relate to.

Now, I'm going to go wake up my wife and give her a big hug again. When she gets over being annoyed I woke her up, she might even kiss me goodnight. Just sayin'.

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