What I Shed Today

lightening up a little at a time

coffee table

on January 14, 2014

Today I took steps to shed our coffee table.

I’m grieving this, not the loss of an object but a constellation of meaning and regret around it. The table was a Christmas gift from a generous congregation while Nimue and I were practically still newlyweds. They saw that the parsonage was furnished in graduate-student-eclectic. Without criticizing at all, they asked us to drive to a furniture dealer in the state capitol (our little town lost its store years before) and pick out something we liked.

I was drawn to a coffee table. I’m not sure why a coffee table … perhaps I had some vision of conviviality gathered around it. Mostly, I loved that particular table’s Art Deco style. I’ve never been convinced Nimue liked it as well as I, but she agreed to the choice.

coffee table, US-made, ca. 1990; Blueberry & Muffin, ca. 2006

coffee table, US-made, ca. 1990; Blueberry & Muffin, ca. 2006

For over 20 years, we’ve moved the coffee table around with us. As I dreamed, it has held warm drinks, and friends occasionally have circled it. But over the years we’ve realized we always find ourselves organizing a room around the coffee table, whereas the pattern of our lives might have more naturally done otherwise. It hasn’t fit how we live. We talked about selling it, letting it go to someone whose life it would fit.

Then the table suffered an accident that broke both its glass top and the cross-braces between the legs. It wasn’t the end: a glass company can cut a new top. I’m handy enough to make new braces from the pattern of the old. I said I wanted to do that, and refinish it too, before we tried to sell it. I have a parsimonious streak, but I was less moved by extracting all the value I could than by the sense of obligation I felt.

I haven’t done so, though. For good reason: other projects, like remodeling the house, are much more urgent and important. The What I shed today initiative has helped me accept it’s time to let go. I’ve listed the coffee table on craiglist for $10, just enough to insure that its buyer has invested a little in its future. Though if it doesn’t move in a week, I’ll lower that to a buck.

shedding style: resell
destination: craigslist

Comments welcome … what might you shed today?

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One response to “coffee table

  1. […] who buys distressed furniture, repairs and refinishes it, and sells it in her shop. (She took our art-deco coffee table for a buck.) “Stephanie,” I e-mailed her, “I have chairs, same terms!” But alas, […]

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