Family Table

One of the sweet things about the last couple of days was the excitement from the Little Man over having family dinner last night. He insisted that since we were so close to having the table in the dining area, we’d wait on dinner until we were able to sit down around the table together for our meal. In order to do this, we had to get the table out of the garage, where of course it was trapped behind other furniture, and around the house to bring it in through the front door, as it’s too large to come through the utility room doors.  It slowed down the eating by ten minutes or so… but he was right. Totally worth it. 

Still work to be done, but we’re ready to get on it. The bare wood will be painted and have a bookshelf over it when we’re done.

Food is love. Sharing food is a bonding experience, and a simple meal was made special by having made special efforts to partake. Sitting at the table talking about the day, making plans for the next day, and connecting.

We had been working on the floors in the living and dining room yesterday, removing the traces of carpets past and present – we could tell there had been more than one iteration of carpet, by the different fasteners. There was tack strip, but two kinds with two sizes of nails holding it down. And even older than that, the stray staples, some of which still held a tiny amount of a green under-layer of foam, when the fresh foam we’d removed was off-white. House archaeology. Finding layers of paint in varying colors as we remove and replace trim. In other houses, I’ve seen layer upon layer of wallpaper. Peeling back the layers is a look into the past, into changing tastes and styles and even economic circumstances. 

Hard to believe this gorgeous stuff was once declassee and hidden under carpets.

Talking with a friend yesterday about her upcoming plans to move, and the trials of combining two households into one, made me remember what I’d thought as we were putting all our worldly goods into storage a year ago. I really should have made more effort to declutter and get rid of stuff before we moved. Especially furniture! What works in one house may not in another. Putting the oversized chair into the narrow living room here (this house really needs a name… ) made me realize that it’s not a good fit. For the time, though, it’s what we’ve got. And in time, I’ll find furniture at my leisure that will fit and suit the room. Moving from one home to another is complicated! Simplify it, if you have the time, by reducing what you physically move along with you. 

Bookshelves, though. Those, I can usually find a place for! I’ve got two in the living room already. Even wound up with a stray box of books I went ahead and unpacked onto the shelves. Feels like home, that does. We plan to put up built-in bookshelves, although I realized the other day I’ve not done built-ins and am going to have to take a look at how, so we can engineer good sturdy shelves to hold all the books. All of them! Finally, my library back under one roof! Muahahaha! 


Where was I? Oh, yes, the importance of the table. It’s not just a flat spot to catch the clutter. It’s a center around which we can settle down, look one another in the eyes, and connect at least once in a day. It’s not in the kitchen, here. Most of my life, the kitchen has been the heart of the home. Perhaps at this house, that heart will have moved a bit to be centered where we sit and pass the food while we plan for what comes next, so we can present a united front to the world. 

Still have to paint the trim, but first, sit a little.

5 thoughts on “Family Table

  1. Totally agree about a home having a name. Our place here is called Druidenwiese (druids’ meadow) — long story — and it fits.

    We built in bookcases in our previous house. When we finished, no one could tell they were additions. Took several hours of measuring and re-measuring, deciding how deep/high each shelf needed to be, and then off to the lumberyard. Only took a day to build, then two days to paint. When we sold the place, that wall of bookshelves was a major selling point.

    1. I have wanted built-in bookshelves for a long time, so I am excited about this. For the first set(s) of shelves in the dining area, I only want them 8″ deep, so I don’t lose too much space for seating. Besides which, that’s deep enough for most books.

      1. Heh. Built-in bookcases can actually save space, because the 2 sides of free-standing bookcases eat up a lot of room. I suggest wooden, or glass doors on shelves above reach, which makes daily dustings (snicker) much easier. The formerly-wasted wall space above doorways also is very handy for either more shelving, or for a cat-perch.
        Lastly, if drafty windows become a problem, a quick solution used full-width sheets of bubble-wrap, kept in place with marching magnetic strips, or with Velcro, does work. Catching the condensation-drip from the bottoms of the bubble-wrap installations is a problem for the student. I imagine mini-eavestroughs emptying into jugs for plant-watering. Grin.

  2. Just a thought, you’ve put tons of love and elbow grease into the home, using (and discovering!) tons of beautiful wood for everything from doors to floors to wainscoting.

    Elbow grease -> Elbow -> Bend -> Bent

    Bentwood seems appropriate. Call the house Ben or Benny for short. 😉 Side bonus, sometimes a ‘benny’ is slang for a ‘benefit.’ Seems like the house is full of those for your family.

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