Once, a long time ago, some little boys unwisely carved their names on their dressers. Admittedly, the dressers were of unpretentious build and an indifferent color described “maple” in the stamp on the back. This did not excuse the small boys from needing to rectify their wrongdoing. Someday, their mother said, they would have to sand them and refinish them.
A few years rolled by until the mother deemed them big enough to start the process of refurbishing their furnishings. She instructed them to empty their drawers, haul all the pieces outside into the brightness of a gorgeous day. The boys were delighted to wield screwdrivers and a power sander, removing hardware and orange-brown finish with great zeal.
There was this really neat tutorial online for a dresser project that looked very similar to what they wanted their end result to be. Step by step they followed, painting their drawers and dresser bases a beautiful oceany green. That was the point where they ran out of supplies and besides it was lunchtime and everybody was hungry.
The smallest boy got dispatched to the kitchen to make pancakes and fried eggs for the crew while his mother finished up the trim work and wrapped up the brushes.
They decided to do a quick run to town for the missing supplies, dropping off the little sisters at Grandma’s house for a few hours. There was the aisle of Back-to-School stuff, all stocked and not crowded, so they meandered along and picked up their supplies for that as well. Small boys are concerned about their mechanical pencils, especially when confronted with a dozen varieties, but the decisions were carefully made and they returned home to continue the dresser project.
Enroute they had passed a stand with sweet corn for sale, just great for supper. The smallest boy once more got sent off to husk corn and prepare the kitchen for supper. His style of painting was a bit too flourishing for the top coats, his mother decided privately. He might as well do something that he can do well. Besides, stain is a different animal entirely from washable latex paint, as she explained repeatedly to the interested noses poking around while the staining process was going on. “You cannot be needy right now,” she said to the little girl who was whining about not having had her story yet. “And go get me that piece of cardboard in the school room, please.” The little girl countered with, “Why aren’t we allowed to be needy but you are?… Okay, I am going!”
It was getting late, time to cook the corn. The father of the family called to say that he would be working four hours longer than scheduled, so they decided right then that supper would be corn and applesauce only. Who needs protein anyway? The little boy made the supper just like he had made the lunch, surprisingly competent. Then he cleaned it up while his mother and older sibling returned to their project.
The dresser remake only lacked one more step before it could be left to dry overnight. Very cautiously they mixed the paint with plaster of paris, just like the tutorial said. It seemed odd, but they really wanted their end product to look like the photos of the one online. There was a moment of panic when the mother stirred the plaster of paris into a half gallon of paint. Her older son looked at her in sheer disbelief. He knew how fast it sets up and set to stirring vigorously, but it wasn’t being incorporated into the paint quickly enough. The immersion blender, that would do it! It was an inspired idea, but sadly the blender was already on its last spin before it was plunged into a bucket of slurry the consistency of lumpy pudding. It quietly expired before it really did much good, so they were back to stirring. What in the world were they thinking in that tutorial? They wondered this aloud as the two hastily painted on the gloop and spread it with a brush. The plaster was getting stiffer by the minute. This was going to be one hard surface!
By the time the drawer faces were done, they had to spread the paint with a brush dipped in water. It really did seem odd, but they were game to see how it would all turn out. That was when they noticed that they had missed the step of mixing water into the paint mixture. Oh well, tomorrow is another day and they have plenty of sandpaper.
And who did eat all those cookies? I suppose a mother who sends people off to husk corn and clean the living room and go away to play somewhere while she messes around with paints shouldn’t be surprised that there are only crumbs in the jar at the end of the day.
Besides, she knows where she hid the cheesecake.