This is week 32 of Odd Prompts, and we’ve decided on a simple and classic adventure. Our prompt for this week reminds me of Sarah Hoyt’s “Elise Hyatt” furniture refinishing series, but this take on the theme is a little less bloody. I decided to write it diary-style to emphasize the retro feel. “You’ve bought an antique highboy dresser. As you are preparing to put it where it belongs, you discover something has fallen down behind the drawers…”
It’s been a long week already, and we’re only two days in, Part of that is the usual hassle everyone experiences at work from time to time, but this week, it’s mostly because we’re going on vacation this weekend, and I can’t wait. We aren’t really doing anything special, just a little antiquing as an excuse to drive through the countryside, but I intend to make the most of it.
The office was a ghost town already at 3. I guess I wasn’t the only one looking forward to a long weekend. I kind of felt bad for the receptionist as I deposited my last project into my boss’s inbox and scooted out of the door. A quick hope for an easy last couple of hours for him passed through my mind like lightning as I hurried down the stairs into the parking garage.
The first leg of our trip was short on purpose. We made it to the cute little bed and breakfast we’re staying in just in time to check in and write this before the reservations we have for dinner. The restaurant is a cozy little place, more romantic than fancy, and just perfect for unwinding.
I tried to sleep in this morning, but the habit of getting up early was just too strong. I rolled out of bed without waking Ben to look around the room I hadn’t gotten much of a chance to see the night before. It’s perfect as a place to start a weekend of antiquing, with an eclectic collection of obviously well cared for antiques in a variety of styles and of varying age. You wouldn’t think Federal and Neo-greek would go well together, but these worked.
Dressed and breakfasted, we set out for the first shop. The area we were looking in tends to have small clusters of stores, so we chose a group of three to hit up first. The first two had some nice stuff, and we enjoyed browsing for a couple of hours, but in the back of the third, we knew we already had our big find for the weekend as soon as we saw it. We each glanced at the other to confirm, and his face was alight with the same thrill as mine.
The antique highboy had been painted, but one corner was scraped off to show a nice cherry underneath. It looked perfect for the office space we were working on. It would need a little TLC, but it looked sturdy under the coat of paint, and what we could see of the surface looked good too, under the paint. The shop owner even agreed to hold it until Monday, when we need to head home.
We’ve managed to squeeze a trip to every single antique shop in the area into the weekend. With that much running around, you’d think we’d be tired, but we’re actually energized. We found a couple of other small items, but our pickup of the highboy was the part that really got us excited. Looking at it again as we loaded it, it looks like it’s in even better condition than we thought, and the flaws that seemed to be there when we bought it were just thick globs of paint. This weekend has been amazing. We have to plan more like this.
I expected the week to drag because I was looking forward to seeing what the highboy looks like under that ugly paint, but the short week has flown by like nothing. I think I’m going to get things set up tonight so I can get into it right away tomorrow. We’ve cleared out the garage, so I’ll really be able to spread out and work on more than one art at a time.
I thought I was excited about this new chest of drawers before, but now I’m even more interested. I took out the drawers and inspected them to see the condition of the paint and underlying wood, and I noticed something interesting. The nasty-looking paint on it wasn’t actually old. Someone had gone through the work of making it look distressed on purpose. The wood underneath looked pristine. Then I found the packet of papers. If I hadn’t already noticed the paint being made to look old, I might have thought that it had fallen down behind the drawers accidentally and tossed it aside, but I hoped that whatever it was, it would tell me more about why someone would go through all the trouble of painting such a nice piece to look neglected. My curiosity paid off with a map and instructions on how to find a “treasure”. We’re planning to follow it next weekend.
Next Weekend – Sunday
Well, we did it, and it was just as glorious as I imagined. I’m glad I got the new tough hiking shoes, because I put some miles on. I’m dirty and a little scratched up, and the treasure was…the satisfaction of finding a letter from the last person to find a messed-up-looking antique with a letter that had fallen behind the drawers. We’re going to go antiquing again next week. We’re going to find the perfect thing to put a note of our own in and make look mistreated. Then we’ll drop a new letter at the treasure trove for the next person to find.
Our victim this week was ‘nother Mike, who got the prompt “As I tried to hurry through my breakfast, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the cat door open, and a fat raccoon squeezed through. I didn’t start to worry until the fifth or sixth, but they just kept coming.” Can’t wait to see what happens next!