Hi,

Like I’ve said, our home here in Las Galeras is magnificent but, as they say, that’s all about location.

While our house is comfortable, it’s a far cry from elegant (and your bungalow isn’t even within earshot of elegance–but more about that when you express an interest in actually visiting…)

If you’ve been reading these missives for awhile, you know that Denise took the month of February off to attend to matters in the “Other Washington” and that I’ve seized the chance to do some heavy lifting around here in the deferred maintenance department. As a consequence this place is trashed. And it’s been trashed for, well, it’s beginning to seem like forever.

There’s no two ways about it: Denise left town and I turned our idyllic little home into a construction site.

All of the cupboards and shelves were removed weeks ago and their former contents neatly arranged in logical piles covering every horizontal surface in the living room while I sought (in vain, as it turns out) for a single stain color to unify the wide variety of woods and finishes used in building this place. It really looks arbitrary: door casings one color, window trim another, that sort of thing. I can just imagine the carpenter selecting material based on what was in stock on any given day. I have no idea what the painter was thinking.

The furniture and cabinets built around Las Galeras is only a slight improvement over the concrete blocks and planks and orange crates last seen in graduate school. In fact, some of my better orange crates could easily pass muster for the trim here, given a coat of earth-colored varnish.

Interestingly enough, your more competent furniture mechanics smooth the surface of their work with a side grinder and sanding disk before applying one finish coat of a varnish-and-paint mixture. The gouges and swirls add texture and create a nice effect.

I quickly realized that, short of opaque paint, color was not the way to tie this polyglot together. So I decided to appeal to the sense of touch and perhaps strike something close to a uniform sheen. Accordingly, I hied off to the ferreteria and bought some sandpaper (a LOT of sandpaper.)

It was not easy, but I managed to track down a half-sheet finish sander of unknown manufacture. In the process I actually began to understand the attraction of the dominican approach to wood finishing. I relaxed my standards somewhat just about the time I went into my 15th ferreteria looking hopelessly for a palm sander.

Fully equipped, I spent DAYS going after the badly-finished and unfinished lumber and our splintery cabinetry with a vengeance. I raised huge clouds of dust which would have settled evenly on the logical piles, except that I’ve been constantly rummaging through them in search of one thing or another.

Recently the dust is swirling through the living room, forming little eddies and washing up against the piles of kitchen utensils and linen. It’s even beginning to settle into miniature dunes in the lee of some of the more tumbledown heaps.

Sweeping helps a little, but at some point you’ve just gotta stop generating dust.

Which is why I’m glad that Denise will be back soon. It’s time to call this little project good and pull things back together, maybe wash up and put everything away.

This stuff may not be made from orange crates but it sure ain’t no piano either.

Regardless, I imagine that Denise will be pleased. I’m certain that even if she is not she will say the right thing when she sees this.

That makes me a lucky man.

Bill
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1 Comment on A Little Bit Like Varnishing an Orange Crate

  1. Memo says:

    View

    Here’s our place, with a little neighborhood context.

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