I just moved, starting in February, and it took 6 weeks and the PO still hasn’t grasped the forwarding concept (some mail has been forwarded; most hasn’t and it’s a 34-mile round trip to pick it up at the old place. The mail that has been forwarded took 16 days from the postmark to get to the new place). The irony is, for two weeks, I’m housesitting at the old place….
Anyway, before the move, two things happened. I decided to paint my desk/table to lively myself up. I went to Home Depot to get two premixed (I didn’t want to wait for them to mix up custom colors from the samples, and I only needed two pints anyway) contrasting colors—I found some, and brought them home and began to paint.
Halfway through, I realized I was painting my desk in John Deere green and yellow. Not just sorta. The John Deere colors, exactly. I didn’t plan it, really.
So I can say, my writing pulls the plow.*
Or would have, had not Doug Potter called me one morning. In Austin, we have what is known as Big Trash Day, twice a year (I hear they have them once-a-month in Tokyo). Anything you can haul to the kerb they have to take away; special crews and trucks come around whenever it’s your neighborhood’s B.T. Day. (Back during the Black Mold scare of the mid-90s I saw a whole housefull of furniture out on the kerb, 50’ long piled 10’ high…). South Austin is full of salvagers and scavengers anyway (the old joke was that, when the Revolution came, in South Austin it would be a soft one: everybody would just move to the slightly-better house next door…) Anyway Doug called and said “You gotta come look at this stuff someone’s throwing out—I think maybe the stand you want is there.” He knew I was looking for a stand: I’d had a 13” TV: my friend Bud had gone up to a 54” HDTV and gave me his 12-yr-old 32”er (which took up 1/3 of the room I was living in…)
I went to look at the stuff: it was neat, but not quite right. But, next door to that pile was another; in the middle of it was a wonder: a formica-topped corner desk that used to be part of a custom built-in run of cabinets. I could tell because a) it didn’t have legs, having been supported by the ends of the cabinets and b) the formica had been put on after the table had been nailed to the cabinets. It looked like a big slice of gooseberry pie. It had two shallow drawers. I fell in love. I took it home; I liked it so much, like an idiot I put legs on it and reaaranged my room for it, then had to move everything to the new place. (Bud and Brad Denton brought their pickups; as I said once, “if you have a pickup in Austin, you have friends for life…”) It would have been much better to leave it alone until I got to the new place.
Then: problems. The corner desk, when legged, tended to buck up like a bronco when you rested your elbows on the front. I doubled the single (point of pie) leg. That didn’t help. The desk still tried to move (the new place had shag carpet in the room). I built a 1×4 extension from the front leg toward the center and put a fuckin’ cinderblock on it. The desk still moved slightly.
I also needed a headboard for the studio bed. It was backed onto the John Deere desk which is where the copier and paper racks sit, and all the file drawers and crates are stacked underneath it.
But the pillows kept slipping into the 4” gap between the top of the bed and the bottom of the table apron…
So here’s what I did. I took the 4 2×4 legs off the corner desk and built a new small regular desk, making a frame from the 1×4 cedar pickets I’d replaced on the fence at the new place. I used a piece of 26”x34” hardboard for the top. I moved the John Deere table over to the wall and put the files under it. I moved the new desk behind the bed, where the larger one had been. I took the old, custom built corner desk apart, crying all the time, and took the triangular top and bolted and nailed it to the bed as a headboard and a frame for a pinboard in front of the new desk. (People: do not buy a prebuilt pinboard for $15.00; buy a 2’x2’ piece of foamcore and cut it in the shape and nail it like you want—in this case, a pinboard in the shape of the back of the triangular headboard, above the desk—and save yourself @ $13.00…)
And I painted the desktop and the headboard Navy Blue, and I just realized while writing this, I can paint the headboard bright yellow, like a half-moon, and get some grey paint and put in craters and maria and make it a Half-Moon…
* * *
(for those who haven’t gotten the word: new address: Harold Waldrop, 12608 Wittmer, Austin TX 78729-7787, USA, no phone yet.)
* a line from a review, or blurb, by Harlan Ellison of someone’s work, much parodied by certain types of Internet clown. I never really knew what it meant til I looked at my finished desk.