Our old table was wobbly and warped. And no matter where you sat, it seemed, there was a leg in your lap. It was also too low to cross your legs under. So I searched and searched, and found just the right table. Perfect for eight, big enough ten, for twelve at a squeeze. A trestle, so no leg in your lap.
I ordered it.
And of course I was at the grocery store with my mom when they called and said "We're here! With your table!" Half an hour early.
It arrived in a box about four inches tall. Clearly, some assembly would be required.
"Where would you like it?" he asked.
"How much does it weigh?" I asked.
"Three hundred ten pounds."
"Ha, ha, no really, what does it weigh?"
He showed me the bill of lading - 310 lbs. - and the third guy he'd brought to help unload. Clearly mommy and I were not going to be able to get it into the back yard on our own.
"Come see where I'd like it, and tell me - if I pay you extra, will you carry it around the house? No steps..."
He looked. He agreed. I peeled of three twenties, one for each guy. He walked to the front of the truck where the other guys couldn't see the money, counted it, sneered, and held out his hand.
I was pissed. It was clear the other guys were not gonna get their fair shares. I almost snatched the money back, then I remembered: three hundred ten pounds. Oops.
"That's nearly as much as I paid to have it shipped from the warehouse! That's all you're getting! Take it or leave it!"
He took it. On the back patio they propped the box with the new table against our old dining chairs and left, and when I came home later it had flopped flat. Double oops.
Wally helped me set the table top upside-down on the cardboard lid so it wouldn't get scratched when I assembled it.
I unpacked the parts, and started to put the legs together. Except the parts, supposedly numbered so any idiot could put the table together were...mis-numbered. Took a bit of vocabulary enrichment and several iterations before I figured that out...
Incredibly well built and thoroughly cross-braced...
with beautiful curved legs
when I finally figured out the mis-labeling it went together in a snap.
Even at three hundred pounds (there must have been ten pounds of cardboard and bracing) we managed to turn it right-side up.
It's perfect. I didn't realize until we got this table how out of scale, out of balance our old table (now my potting bench) was. This one looks like it was built for the space. And since I built it, I suppose it was.
The way you can tell if something is really well designed, really in the right place, is to ask yourself: "Does it feel inevitable?" This does. And the fact that table is part of the word inevitable just makes me smile.
Come for drinks. Stay for dinner. Linger until the candles gutter out. It's summer, and we have the perfect outdoor dining room.