Thursday, September 3, 2020

Everything old is new again. And blue.

     The two old motel chairs gave a certain Dogpatch feeling to our front porch. Mottled with rust by their—what?—nearly 20 years of being battered by the rain and weather.
    The thing to do would be to pitch them and get new chairs that cost, what? A hundred dollars or so?  That's what people do; throw out the old, move to the new.
     But we liked these chairs. Comfortable.
     "Pick a couple colors," I told my wife, and she did, grabbing two cans of Rustoleum at the Ace Hardware. I set about repainting the chairs. First I took a wire wheel brush, set on the end of a drill, and flayed the rust off. Then a sander. Then I masked the things off, and painted the selected colors. It took a few days, what with the drying and retouching. But finally I finished the first chair.
    "The blue is a little bright," I observed to my wife.
     "Yes," she said. "Brighter than I thought it would be."
     "I could repaint it a different color," I suggested.
     "No," she said. "It'll be nice bright."
     Maybe it is. You tell me. I finished the first and am, today, beginning my vacation by going after the second. There is nothing wrong with bright blue chairs, per se. The neighbors won't complain. I hope. Who knows? Maybe they'll like them. I do. Or at least am trying to. Giving it a go. They seem an improvement over the rusty chairs. Heck. I'm sure that there are people who prefer bright blue. For me, there will be an adjustment process. I really need to have them both set up on the porch, and come home for a month, or a year, or a decade, before I decide.
     "You know," I might observe to my wife one day in 2032, out of the blue, as it were, "Maybe those are too bright..."
     The chair-painting process is oddly enjoyable, though time-consuming. Maybe because it's time consuming.  I'm not sure what I'm really accomplishing, writing this. But those chairs sure are re-painted. No denying that. 
    I don't repaint chairs much. In fact, I don't think I've ever repainted a chair. It's rather peaceful, with the masking and the going over rough patches with steel wool. The result wasn't perfect; that is the hardest part, for me, even harder than the bright blue. And perhaps the most valuable part as well. I'm used to polishing sentences, going over the imperfect improving it. Just stopping, and having it be finished, though a bit homemade, well, that's a new skill. I was aiming for a higher state of perfection. But didn't make it. You can't really tell from the photos but, well, rough around the edges. A bit ragged, close up. 
     Which is how the world is, and accepting it as such is a useful skill. I can't fix anything, completely. But I can get rid of the rust and repaint, though not in the shade prudence would dictate. Anyway, the sun's up, and I better get at that second chair. 



  1. Much better than brand new.


  2. As a person who put a roof over the families head and a couple boys through private school and college partly by restoring furniture let me say : well done!

  3. Well I like it! Maybe for fun you could reverse the placement of the two colors on the second chair.

    1. Blue borders on the other one, white in the middle...with four six-pointed stars near the corners. A tribute to the flag of the City of Chicago. I fly one (along with the pennant-shaped Ohio flag that looks like a yachting burgee) from my garage. My neighbor (who came from Kentucky) thought it was an Israeli flag.

  4. The new chair looks great, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

  5. In the U.P. some people paint their houses bright blue so they can locate the house in a blizzard. Think of your chairs as a beacon.

  6. We've never bought new outdoor furniture...not once in 28 years. It's amazing what people throw away. We shlep it home and my wife does what you did. Some of it has been painted blue...I remember two blue Adirondack chairs we had, and we had a couple of metal motel chairs like yours, that also became blue.

    Love seats, benches, patio chairs, bamboo couches...we've scored some amazing finds over the years. Sometimes we'll even take home stuff, spiff it up, and donate it to the Habitat ReStore, where it usually sells pretty quickly. Yes, it gets restored, and goes to the ReStore...couldn't resist.

    We kept the wooden patio table with the metal legs, though. Probably Forties or Fifties. Looks soooo nice with our Cinzano umbrella. Painted it a nice shade of match our siding. Old furniture was built to last forever, and goes better with our pre-WWII blue bungalow than the new and the shiny ever would. We vastly prefer our "nostalgic" decor to the schlock of today.

    There's a Yiddish word I use to describe us..."schnorrers"...which literally means "moochers" or "beggars"...but it can alson mean somebody who acquires something for nothing (legally or otherwise) and puts it to good use. I've been a schnorrer all my life. I furnished entire apartments, in college and as a young adult, through the fine art of schnorring. If it raised an eyebrow or two, I never cared. Some people even thought it was pretty cool.

  7. "those chairs sure are re-painted. No denying that."

    Uh, that's what I noticed, right off the bat, when I saw the photo. The one on the right looks a lot better than the one on the left; had you not raised the question, it would have never occurred to the likes of me that the blue is too bright.

    Personally, not to be argumentative, I don't like the idea of reversing the colors and having them not match. That would probably cut down on the brightness, though.

    And, if it's not too cheeky for me to say so, here's the payoff for your patience with some of FME's less appreciative comments! : )

  8. Nice work, the chair and the column.
    Trying to appreciate my good fortune while so much is falling apart around me. Not easy. Distractions help.
    Survivor’ s guilt?

  9. I think it may look so bright because it is next to the other one. Fix that one to match and they'll be nice. Your patience and attention to detail are better than mine.

  10. now, if the border was white, you could say you were riffing on the Israeli flag, and if someone objected to that, you could say"okay, Greek then".


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