So the first thing is that we sorta half-redecorated the living room after the holidays, and the old walnut church lectern which holds the New Shorter OED got moved from back wall anonymity to relative prominence along the front windows, and my wife used that as an excuse to make suggestions, such as "the top's too small" and "when was the last time you bathed?" She also pointed out that the lip was way too small for the books, so their covers have sagged a bit.
The first thing I did was check the Yellow Pages, or rather all six versions of the Yellow Pages for the address of the specialty woodcrafter store, and when I didn't see it listed I gave up and ran over to Lowe's, which is guaranteed not to carry solid pieces of walnut 3/4" thick, and doesn't. I bought some 4" molding for the front lip and a couple hundred feet of matching 3/4" for the trim, which I planned to stain. I got home and pried off the old lip to find that it wasn't just lap-joined, it also had an odd little hand-cut miter at the bottom, and I was admiring that when my wife got home from shoe shopping...
And here's the thing about that . I have basically three things to preach about health: wash your hands, frequently, and pretend you're a surgeon when you do; eat real yogurt; and never wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row. So my wife starts to tell me about her new shoes, and she lets slip she's been wearing the pair they're meant to replace every day, and I said some things that woke the cats up. Okay, that was probably more due to volume than content. And then she went out and bought a second pair.
She reported that the entire shoe selection was "girly". The first pair she got were Addidaseses, and the three stripes were a sort of sky blue, until I moved away and realized they were reflective, and that there were little reflective details all around them, including some in the front which were the approximate size of immature lemon pips. "Those'll save a life," I says. "Oh, thank God I saw your toe reflectors just in time to run my car over the curb!" At this I made a drastic steering wheel wrenching motion and a loud tire squeal, which woke the cats up again and actually had Stinky running for the basement. "Seems to me they'd be more useful to a stalker." I think that's when she decided she needed to do more shopping.
Anyway, I was fortunate that before she left for that second pair I showed her the odd little mitre on the lip, since that led to the incidental discovery that her earlier expressed desire to see a larger top on the lectern didn't actually mean she wanted a larger top on the lectern. I tried explaining this again to her, from the beginning and with direct quotes, but it didn't work, and I'm sure not gonna waste any more time trying to explain it to anybody else. Just say it eventually dawned on me that I could construct a book tray with the 4" molding in front that could sit on top of the lectern and solve the cover sag thing and keep me out of the return line at Lowe's.
And again I spent a Saturday proving that no project is a simple one where I'm involved. I'm not quite sure how three mitred corners resulted in the use of not just a compound mitre saw, circular saw, hammer and nails and band clamps and glue, but also two sizes of nippers, every form of carpenter's measuring device I own plus a level, lineman's pliers, screwdriver, scratch awl, coping saw, end plane, two chisels, four grades of sandpaper, the Shop Vac, a torque wrench, plus I had to replace two fuses and I was seriously eyeing the adze hanging on the pegboard to my right when I finally left the whole mess to be picked up tomorrow (today). Glad the Colts play the late game.
This gave me the idea that one might combine the average Food Network show (basically that woman who makes everything out of Cheez Wiz, but really it fits at least half the Talent over there), with HGTV and TLC and all those other programs everywhere where people in hipster garb, let by a woman who imagines a bare midriff is the perfect accompaniment to a nail gun, gab unceasingly while painting something the color of an old mustard stain, or a combination of Early Spring Pea and Eerie Plutonium Mishap Glowlight. Call it The Good Enough Carpenter, and have him stain some pine molding he didn't want to return to Lowe's without bothering to do whatever it is you're supposed to do to softwoods before staining them, and then he'd just announce he was too tired to put the tools away and go for coffee.
Which reminds me that I've managed to partly cure my wife of her quasi-addiction to watching those remodeling shows--at least in my presence--and you're welcome to my method if you face the same thing. I began to notice that as the explosion of such programming diluted the, you should pardon the expression, talent pool, that shrinking carpentry skills, knowledge of design principles, or simple color vision was met with a corresponding reduction in the amount of clothing the stars wore, so I started entering the room and saying, "Oh, time for more soft-core porn?"
Makes her change the channel, every time.