Sunday, November 20, 2011

Reupholstering Project, part two

We reached the summit of the mountain around 6 P.M.  In the valley below, four completely reupholstered, completely reassembled chairs stood among the wildflowers and caught the dying light.  I pulled out my field glasses and trained them on the chairs.  They were better than we'd imagined, crisp and alluring, and unlike any chairs on the planet.  Lonely Planet had sold us on this lonely valley with its diminishing inhabitants and the towering, bizarre furniture that festoons its central green, but you never know with travel books.  Sometimes the destination is not all it's cracked up to be.    Sometimes imagination is sweeter than its result.  We hiked for days with our gear in tow, but plunking our asses down on those chairs would not be a pleasure we'd know today.  We eyed our rations: would the carnitas hold out for another week?  And what about our anti-Giardia tablets and our powdered Gatorade?  Would they hold out?  They will hold out.  It must be that way.

But enough of the hiker metaphor!  This is one of the "bags" as we called them.  Hannah sewed four bags today and batted four foam slips.  Last week, when I was selecting the fabrics with Ehu, I told her that it would be a shame to spend the money on the fabrics if the workmanship was not up to par.  Ehu grinned and rolled her eyes to remind me whom I'd recruited to do the brunt of the sewing.  And what sewing!  And what teamwork!  The chairs are truly remarkable.  That Hannah can sew with the best of them.  If you have ever deconstructed a designer Italian chair and then reconstructed it, you will know that there is a ton of story in a chair.  You will also know that there is a ton of foam.  I got hosed on the foam.  Foam, my friends, is more costly than fabric!  Foam!  Who'd have thunk it?  Foam is just grocery bags in another form, and the world is littered with grocery bags.  Sadly, the world is not littered with craftsmanship and teamwork.  It is also not littered with stellar chairs.  It's lightly dusted with awesome chairs, but most of them are sequestered among the homes of the ultra rich.  The 1% if you will.  But not here.  As Hannah said when I misheard her, early in the day, and accidentally brought her a second glass of water: "That's okay; I am now rich with water."  And so I am now rich with chairs.  Here's Hannah doing her handiwork.

The sewing machine was manufactured by a company that manufactures chainsaws.  The model is called the Viking.  I don't know what kind of chairs Vikings sat their brutal asses upon, and I don't care.  What astounds me is that for the price of an email, a pork taco lunch, and a box of dilly beans, shallots, rutabagas and tomato sauce, my vision and my need got fulfilled.  I badly needed these chairs to happen, but they could not have happened without Hannah's skill—and her chainsaw sewing machine.  But I should give myself some credit here: these chairs could not have happened without me either.  I exist in this world, and it wasn't like I sat around on my duff all day doing jack shit.  Reassembling the chairs proved trickier than one would have thought, and so Hannah sewed while I trouble shot.  I sewed, too, but I sewed interior stuff, stuff that could be crude and hidden.  It took two people—no, it took a lot people to make these chairs happen.  It also took a brutal cat (now de-clawed) and some Italian women who burned holes into the original upholstery through which hidden bolts could be driven to affix the backs to the seats.  Just like you and me, hidden bolts affix our spines to our asses.  Here are the finished backs waiting for their seats.  

I will recover the seats alone and alone reassemble the chairs.  But will I be alone when the chairs are complete?  Hell no.  I will gather my closest friends around this table, and we will sit in this splendid valley, upon these radical chairs, and we will eat and drink our fill, and no bankers will be richer than us.   

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