November 7, 2011

to bring home a bench

Once upon a time, when Briton was two and the three of us were living in Dublin, we ran into a little problem. How, exactly, do you get a Christmas tree home to your apartment when you have no car? Later we would find out that the answer was that either you a) went to a tree lot that delivered or b) weren't in so much of a hurry to get your tree that you buy it at the tree lot two miles away, one will pop up two blocks away a few days later. Live and learn. But as I said, not until after we had already tackled the problem.
There we were, out in the cold, dark and wet night with a tree that had looked small when we bought it but seemed to be growing the further we walked, with a freezing cold and tired two year old. No taxi's to be found. No stroller because, you know, that would have been the smart thing to do. I held Briton's hand in on one of mine and carried one side of the pot (oh, yest, this was a live tree, which came with a pot full of dirt, making it extra heavy, except it wasn't a live tree. But I'm getting ahead of myself) Will held the other side of the pot and wheeled his bike with his other hand.

After about half an hour of walking through dark streets, we finally came to a major road and a plan. We wold un-pot out tree for the time being. I would take the boy and the pot home in a cab, Will would take the tree on the bike. Somehow. SO we hailed a cab and started to carefully extricate the tree from the pot when it popped out with a thunk. Not a live tree. At all. Instead it was just a tree that had been "Potted" in some rocks and dirt. No wonder the damn thing was so heavy. After some choice swear words for the tree salesman, I put a now asleep on the curb Briton into the cab with the pot and sent Will off with the tree slung over his shoulder. To this day one of my favorite memories of Ireland is standing out on our stoop watching Will fly down the street, black wool coat, black wool hat, black wool gloves, looking like some kind of Santa-ninja with a tree on his back.

So what does this have to do with benches?

This weekend, after much debate (much debate - which one, do we really need a bench, how much do we want to spend on a bench) I bought a bench for our hall. Our coat rack that my dad made has been perfect except that there was a table in the hall that got in the way of hanging anything long on most of the hooks and when you want to put your shoes on you have to either lean against the wall, go to another room or sit on the floor. So, the table needed to go and a bench needed to be there in its place. I actually spotted this bench at the flea market when my parents were here but Will wasn't sold on it. There would be something better or cheaper or something-er. But on the day of the snow, with boots and scarves and lots of coats lumped in the hallway, it became obvious that we needed a bench. We actually intended to go last weekend to the flea market, in the hopes that it was still there, but never made it.
So, bright and early (really early as it turns out, I forgot about the whole daylight savings thing) I popped the kids on the bus and took them down to the flea market. Will was gone at a 24 hour visualizing marathon that was in it's 22nd hour and I wanted to get the bench home before he got there as a surprise (to go with a couple of projects that I did while he was gone. I still can't resist diving into big projects when he is away. But more on that later). I found the bench and a vintage suitcase that I need for a Christmas Project and a few other little things. Fantastic. Success. And it was still early! See how nice that worked out? Now to get it home.

Lately I've had some run ins with bus drivers and bringing home bulky items. Groceries, mostly. Some bus drivers in New York seem to understand that you have to get your groceries home, and the bus is often the best way to do this. Some obviously have cars because they wont let you one the bus with your grocery cart. The bus we took to get to the flea market is the line I usually have the most trouble with when it comes to cantankerous bus drivers, so after standing at the stop waiting for a few minutes, I decided not to chance it. Instead. We'd take the subway.
The kids and I hauled the (quite heavy as it turns out) bench and the suitcase and our coats because now we were getting hot with all the hauling, up a few blocks to a subway station that didn't have an actual person in a booth (not taking any chances) and down through the turnstiles. We got some looks, yes. And there were some awkward moments, like, say, how does one gracefully bring an antique bench through a subway turnstile without getting stuck (you get stuck, and then you twist your body and go under the bench and then pull it out, just fyi). But there were upsides as well. No seats available on the platform. No problem. We brought our own.

Ahh city life.