22 May 2009

Moving to Alaska, Part 2: Staining with Dad

For the first time in my life, I have my own apartment.  Oh yes, this is the life--in all of its rent-paying, fixtures breaking down, paying for my own utilities glory.  

Well technically, it's my place for three months and then it's "our" place in all its rent-paying, et cetera, et cetera glory.  Kip is moving in after the wedding in August, but that doesn't stop him from helping me by being Mr. Fix-It!

One would think that after living with three other girls and their three other cleaning habits, I'd want to revel in the glory of this three-month Bachelorette pad by myself.  But no, I am the world's most extroverted introvert.  So maybe that's why I spent the first couple of days at my new apartment with...my dad.  Or at least, with my dad metaphysically.

He didn't make the trip with me and Kip.  He didn't ship himself in a box or show up for a surprise visit.  What he did do is teach me how to finish wood furniture.  

Years ago, all I wanted for Christmas was a proper desk.  The pink one I'd painted when I was six had been outgrown by me, my homework, and my tastes in interior decorating.  So Mom and Dad took me to the unfinished wood furniture store and we chose a desk.  For the next three days, Dad and I hung out in the garage refinishing this masterpiece of mahogany (okay, it was pine, but go with me...).  He taught me how to prepare the wood, how to sand in between coats and what to do to make sure the stain was equally distributed.  He taught me what the grain was and how to go with it.  After what seemed like an eternity, it was finished.  And it was beautiful.  Not just the finished product, but the entire process.  It was fun.  It was educational.  It was one of those weekends that would make an ideal Father's Day montage in the retrospective of my life.  And it was something that I imagine is very much like riding a bike--I'll probably always remember how to tie my shoes, how to ride a bike, how to drive a stick shift car, and how to stain unfinished furniture.  

Years later, I stood in the middle of my first apartment, staring at the corner that I would make into my study nook.
"I'll need to get some shelves" I told Kip.
"You want some wire ones?"
"No, I'll get some wooden ones.  I'll stain them."
"You know how to stain wood furniture?"
"Yeah, my dad taught me."  
Kip was impressed.  Some men are impressed at their future wife's skills in the kitchen or their ability to belch the theme from "Friends".  My hidden talent is refinishing furniture.  Go figure.

So while Kip was busy protecting the citizens of Juneau, I sat in my apartment eavesdropping on the conversations from my neighbors, listening to my "Hippie Mix" on my computer (The Beatles and Cat Stevens are included), and staining my new bookshelves.  Just me and my Dad...well, metaphysically at least.

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