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August 7, 2006
I'd say the chairs are just about done -- I've had them out in the yard for several weeks, weathering. Now most of their lacquer has worn off, and areas of grey raw wood peek through the blonde makeup they came with. We got them sixteen years ago -- Pottery Barn, nothing special -- and I must say their sleek finish and sturdy construction have held up extraordinarily well, considering what they cost.

But they looked too new in the kitchen as it is now. It is becoming more and more period every day -- as are the homeowners, come to think of it. You can refinish this as good as new, the man at the antiques store said, hoping to clinch a sale when I bought four old barrister cases from him. Their white painted finished was crazed, their interiors dark with age, but their glass doors were intact. Perfect. I didn't want them as good as new. I'm not as good as new. I'm better.

I am looking for a counter surface that is not shiny and new. Wood, maybe, from somebody's old floor. Or maybe from an old table top. Or stainless steel, its shine burnished off. Slate, maybe. We shall see.

All this is hard on Q. He takes another approach to the distressing of the kitchen: let it happen naturally. Even more naturally than leaving your kitchen chairs out in all kinds of weather. Just don't do anything. Eventually the kitchen will look decrepit enough for anybody. Someday Formica with tiny green and turquoise stars going to be like colonial pewter is today. The place is a gold mine. Just be patient.

But I'll be with Jesus by then, I tell him, and I won't be able to enjoy it.

On we go: my bright ideas, his resigned sighs. My fantasy is that he will one day be overcome by the beauty of it all, by its breathtaking efficiencies, and that he will sink to his knees in thanksgiving.

I told you it was a fantasy.

We are on our own in following our bliss, mostly. It is apt to be a bliss uniquely ours; we shouldn't expect other people to thrill to it. It is enough if they stifle a sigh and make room for it. It is, after all, its own reward.
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