Sunday, October 29, 2006

Table of Malcontents

Yesterday we took a drive in the country to view the fall leaves as there aren't many maples and elms in San Francisco. We browsed in several antique shops, and Flip bought a library table to use for his digital recording studio. It's a gothic-looking dark oak, suitable for Halloween, that completely fills one wall of our small apartment. I keep expecting hell bats to fly out of it. The witch in Hansel and Gretel might have owned such a table, if her gingerbread house had been bigger. Did I mention our apartment is small?

We rented a truck to pick it up today as the antique store doesn't deliver. We got a panel van that previously transported 412 illegal aliens, all of whom smoked. We stopped and bought a can of Ozium, which is quite nasty stuff in its own right. It did nothing. I felt as if my lungs were exploding all the way there and back, even with the windows open. I hate smokers. HATE them.

The rental company hadn't packed any furniture pads, so we had to find something in the Town of the Table to ease its pain in the van. "'We'll just buy some blankets," said my valiant husband, owner of the verylarge table. I declined to spend even more money on this project. He said I was raising my voice. In public. He slammed himself into the van and said we should just forget the whole thing.

I yanked his door open and yelled, "Are you CRAZY? You want to abandon something we spent that much money on?" (I didn't say "blew." Or "wasted." Really. And I only yelled loud enough to get his attention.) I looked at the receipt. In small print at the bottom, it said, "All sales final." Of course they are. Who on earth would keep such a table after coming to their senses?

"I guess we'll find out what's Important to you," he said. Implication: If I am so crass as to care what the largest piece of furniture I've owned since I gave my father's piano to my brother looks like, I couldn't possibly care about his feelings. And at that moment, I didn't.

We agreed that we didn't want to be in each other's company just then, so I took a walk. I wondered if I'd have to walk home to the city, which is about 60 miles from where we were.

I checked out two other antique stores. I realized I was hungry, since I had only had coffee before leaving, so I headed for Victoria's Cafe, breakfast-all-day. I love places that serve breakfast all day. I thought about how far from home I was. I wondered if the trains even run that far. I considered which shoes I was wearing in order to calculate the feasibility of walking home. At least my lungs would air out.

I knew he would have a problem at the bridge because there is a toll, and he rarely carries cash. I keep a quarter roll or two in the car for meters as parking tickets in this city are like personal hate mail from God. But I knew he wouldn't think of using them at the toll booth. Men don't consider coins real money. This thought didn't fill me with pleasure, even though I would have liked it to. Oh, wait. We weren't IN our car. We were in the big, smoky van. And I was the only one with cash money on me.

I reached for my cell phone to call him a second before it rang. We met on a street corner under a large, hanging pumpkin filled with mums, and had breakfast at Victoria's. Things always look more mellow with a full stomach.

I noticed a liquor store. Liquor stores have boxes. We asked if they had any empties. They did, already broken down. We took all of them and spread them in the van to protect La Table. We went back to the antique store and Flip and the owner hauled it out and slid it into the van, coffin style. How appropriate.

I have to be fair. I didn't tell Flip how much I disliked the table before we bought it because he was so taken with it. So basically, I deserve what I get. If I had spoken up, we wouldn't have bought it. But he probably would have sulked. I can't stand it when he sulks.

I have created a monster.

I think both my lungs are cancerous after today's ride. Or maybe I have black lung disease. Since I have never smoked or mined coal, this is highly unfair. I hate smokers so much.

We had to replace the half-tank of gas we used before returning the van. $67. 43. This is one expensive table.

It does look better than the Ikea desk we set out on the sidewalk. Maybe we'll actually bond. If I live long enough. And my hives go away.


JR's Thumbprints said...

My wife brought home a coffee table from a garage sale. She spent $5 on it. Best damn table in our living room. I put my feet up on it when we watch t.v. However, there are no ashtrays on it. Smokers can stay out in the cold, or face the firing range.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

YES!!! The firing range. Lemme in, Coach. Death to smokers.

I kept remembering how when Secretary of State William Seward purchased Alaska from Russia, it was referred to as "Seward's Folly." I didn't share this insight.

11:13 PM

mist1 said...

So when are you going to return my van? i've got people to smuggle.

Heather said...

I long for the days when our house will contain no particleboard ikea furniture. Always glad to read about people who hate smokers as much as I do.

Lex said...

I've come to realize that one of the best things about living alone is that I get to pick the weird secondhand stuff that comes through the door. I don't have anyone to blame but myself.

The worst part...I don't have anyone to blame but myself.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Why are you picking on ME when what's-her-face still has your boots?


I have nightmares about being lost in Ikea while the world ends. It's the anti-everything-I-like store.

Thanks for visiting!


I love antiques and used stuff. I just don't like THIS one so much. It has nice markings, though.

Odat said...

LOL...I do hope you bond with the "big" guy...Funny story (even tho it was true)...At least your hub picks furntiture to bring home. Mine used to buy tools, the bigger the better...He once brought home a jack hammer and wanted to "test" it out..(on the sidewalk next to our house) to see if it worked. It did. However, I never "bonded" with the broken up pieces of concrete that continue to live there!

katrice said...

Boy, this story sure does sound familiar. Walking off, calling each other at the same time, working together in the end, unable to stay mad for long, food healing hurt feelings...

I agree with you about smokers.

I kinda like IKEA. Not for big-ticket, permanent things, but I love a bargain. How can you pass up a $2 ice cream scoop? Or a $20 bookcase?

"Seward's Icebox"... funny, I was just telling my kids about that the other day.


You can't leave us in this suspense. Post a picture of the ugly beast (La Table, not Flip!). :)

heartinsanfrancisco said...


A jack hammer, you say? Wow! So far I've been lucky. My son would have brought one home in the days when he dismantled a toilet with his "realistic" Creative Playthings tool kit. The plumber was quite impressed.

When we had a house, Flip and I both loved tractors. Our first one was a used anonymous brand which he painted green and yellow and called the John Doe. We've had our share of, "But it's a Craftsman, honey-I-need-it" though. Including the next tractor. I still get misty thinking about it. 28 hp V-8 engine :) We each used it once before the house sold, and we gave it to the buyer. Timing is everything. Sigh.


Hey! Whadya mean, UGLY? You can't tallk about my table that way.

It's actually not so much ugly as disproportionate to the space. And yes, a little bit ugly, too. But in a GOOD way, of course.

monicker said...

A pox on all smokers! Well, not really, but I do hate breathing the stuff.

Great story - I've learned to quash my boyfriend's crazy ideas before they develop into ugly furniture hogging up our living room (yep - I've been there).

An explosive said...

AWWWWWW.... we'll I hope you at least had a good breakfast! ~M

heartinsanfrancisco said...


i was in a hurry before and needed more time to reply to your comment. It did occur to me that we were in perfect synch with the phones/cool down, etc. Probably because we both missed breakfast. It's true that we don't stay mad for long. It would be too hard to live like that.

The thing I hate about Ikea is the claustrophobia it induces. They make it so difficult to get out because they want you to see more stuff. It's a point-of-purchase store. I seriously get nervous when I'm ready to leave and can't find an exit. No stars to navigate by, it's just not my thing.

So there I was, thinking "Flip's Folly" to myself. Maybe next time he'll bring home an igloo.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Smart girl. I have only myself to blame. Besides, he's really happy with it, so how can I object? It doesn't seem as important today as it did running on empty with impaired lungs.

My heart,

We did, thanks. Tarzan & Jane eat breakfast. Food good. Hunger bad.

Crankster said...

This rang true--I loved that the two of you decided to take a walk, and I loved the call. Of course, as a former smoker, I'm a little taken aback by the intensity of your feelings. Fight the real enemy--the tobacco companies!

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I should be more specific. I don't actually hate smokers; I hate smoking. Near me. It makes me angry. I hate feeling that way.

The tobacco companies have no conscience. It is up to consumers to resist them for our own good.

I am appalled that so many teenagers are doing it. There is no excuse for this when we know how harmful it is. It is NOT cool to cook your lungs and cause cancer cells to spread throughout your body.