When one lives in a house the shape of a sports utensil (e.g. tennis racquet), the little things become important. Running water, or say, coat racks. The former was an intermittent luxury for four years, not counting the "three-month-I promise" stint in a twenty-year old mobile home that extended to a nine-month temporal stay in purgatory. When we moved in to the (remodeled) home, the latter changed from being a necessity (as in, a coat closet) to a 'luxury,' as in, "not everyone has the luxury of a coat closet." That's right. And those folks happen to have died in the fifties, prior to standard coat closets, or they live in the woods where the outer loin clothe is placed on a tree.
Time marched on, the railroad tracks of remodeling wisdom criss-cross lines across my face, still without a coat rack. For years, women have come through the front doors, looked around for a reasonable, nea normal, surface appropriate for such items.
I'm a girl that believes a dream is a vision with a deadline. In my case, I have 18 women, give or take, arriving a week from yesterday at my house for an auction kick-off meeting. Food? No problem. Drinks? Taken care of. Atmosphere? Candles. Coat rack? egads. Not again.
I frantically look on-line in a way different from the prior 9 years. This time, I'm desperate.
"Just get one from Target," Rog suggests. "It's a luxury."
Turns out luxury means fifty bucks and four prongs. I peruse coat racks, coat trees, western coat trees, giant coat trees,' modern coat trees, and other variations to identify a holder of coats. I even find the metal coat holders used in convention centers around the world, as though I were going to roll off with a hundred coats while my guests swarrayed around the piano.
I find the five hundred dollar coat racks with benches (too big for our space, wrong style), ones that hold shoes (see my thoughts on the taking off shoes in my house) and ones with mirrors (we have windows everywhere. Lots of opportunity for self gazing). None of the variations have more than 8 prongs. Not good.
"Seriously," I said, rising from chair. His look turns to undisguised dread when I tell him to grab the chainsaw.
"What?" I say. We have plenty of trees. We are in the middle of the woods. No will know or miss a log. "Glue some limbs on and we have a coat tree!" I remind him the leaves have already fallen, cutting down on the work. "Two hours-max!"
Rog doesn't stir. Then he truly did surprise me.
"How about the log home guy that has worked on our house?" Rog--my dear, wonderful, penny-pinching-I-can-do-it-all-myself husband? I mumble something about cost, and figures "it has to be far better than what we'll get on line."
I practically bound from my position in my superfly attempt to dial the phone. Sure enough, Terry says he'll do it. I plead a hardship case for my upcoming event, and as a married man of thirty years can surely understand, this is an important cause.
"I'll have it in a few days," he commits. I'm over the moon. I'm going to get a custom-made tree to hold other people's coats and bags in my very own house. Today, at eight-thirty in the morning, I get a call.
"I'm ready to install it in your house," Terry says. Install? Wow. I've hit the bit time. Even though the dog is barking, my daughter's running nose has dribbled to her chin, her fifth tooth poking out in a red, slightly bloody mess, it doesn't matter. Something has been created just for me, for my house. A coat tree.
Seconds later, a chill goes down my spine. Install conjures images of an art show in New York, where millions of dollars worth of paint gets 'installed', not hung, placed, or positioned, but installed, until it is purchased by hedge fund managers with forty-thousand square foot homes on Long Island.
"How much did it come to?" I ask, fearful, though trying to keep on a facade of confidence, as though I can still afford whatever he's created.
"A little less than I figured," he said. This inspired a different type of concern. It was fast. It was getting installed, but it was not bordering on economical instead of purely gratuitous.
We agree he'll come over at 1, and Terry being Terry, he shows up at 11:30 am. This is Maple Valley folks. Land of the meth labs, low Sheriff count, and really nice, prompt, affordable folk.
A big, burly guy that speaks little English emerges from Terry's pickup, that resembles a roaving workshop/semi than a Dodge. They proceed to remove an eight foot log from the bed of the vehicle and trudge it up the stairs. I'm still holding toothless, and grow concerned when I hear Terry panting.
"Rog!" I yell. He's grumpy I've disturbed his one-space, until he sees the log veering dangerously close to the hardwoods. He loops his gorilla arms around the center, and the three haul this 8-footer over to the designated spot.
Turns out, Install was an accurate term. For in fact, the log was going to be reassembled, per my request (as the art director of my own coat rack-The Met art director has nothing on my now). Me and toothless give our opinion.
One by one, the branches go up. Soon, they are consigned to a lifetime of holding layers of wet clothing, heavy purses full of make-up and lotion along with a resting place for the errant umbrellas. This is Washington after all. Only visitors bother with umbrellas. Residents are tougher than that. Of course, I note that a few of the branches will only be accessible to Jaws' ancestors, but no matter. We have a few friends stretching 6'6" before extending their arm. As long as my daughter doesn't use it as a jungle gym, we are good.
After I determine the largest limb should actually attach to a log in the ceiling, I call Rog out for a final OK. I'll do a lot of things without Rog's approval, but OKing a drill into a big beam isn't one of them.
The guests coming over in a few days will have no idea the suffering, the emptiness, the sheer irritation my coat tree has fulfilled. Of course, I still have to coat it with a clear lacquer to match the other wood in the home, but I'll do that Saturday when the kids won't inhale the stuff. I'm hoping the experience will clear out the last of my plugged sinuses.
I'm tempted to carve out a heart with my initials in the bottom, just for an added touch. Maybe an arrow through it. For I'm sure that's the way the natives in the woods do it, right near their loin clothe.