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  • My husband recently decided he was tired of our kitchen chairs and spent a lot of time on Craig's List trying to find new ones. Well, not new ones but solid old chairs he could refinish and have re-upholstered. He finally found a good prospect, drove seventy miles to see them and, yes, they were perfect! Chairs in tow, he heads home on the bumpy country road he had taken to get to the seller and hears a terrible noise coming from the brakes of his SUV. He finds a mechanic and spends several hours waiting for a loose bolt to be replaced or some such thing (I must admit I don't even attempt to feign interest in car repair details; I just want them fixed and running). A whole day and a half tank of gas later he pulls into the driveway with our new (but old) kitchen chairs.

    I tried to be enthusiastic but I just couldn't seem to see the same potential in these chairs that my husband apparently saw. Still, I went along when he said we must go scouting for fabric to re-upholster them, and much of a perfectly good Saturday was spent with this as a goal. It was my husband who finally spotted the perfect fabric, and I became warmer to the whole idea. It was a beautiful fabric and perhaps these chairs would be lovely after all.

    The chairs had been refinished, upholstery fabric selected and off they went to the upholstery shop. An ad was placed on Craig's List for the old chairs and, as luck would have it, they were purchased and carted off the evening before the new (old) chairs were to come back from the upholstery shop. We ate dinner in the den that evening; no matter, we would sit in our newly reupholstered chairs the next night! Anticipation was building.

    The dark clouds first appeared when the upholstery shop owner asked for $100 more than what he had quoted, and my husband had to drive all the way home to pick up the quote sheet to prove it to him. Payment finally agreed upon, the chairs were brought out. Those are not mine, said my husband. The frames, undoubtedly, were the same, but the fabric? No, that's not our fabric. Remnants were brought forth to settle the heated discussion, and it was discovered the chairs were recovered with the fabric we sent but the wrong side (which was the right side to the upholsterer). The upholsterer still maintains the fabric is right side out and since all this just happened last week, it is still unclear who will prevail in the argument. All I know is, we now have some very funky looking chairs to remind us that life very often gives us something very different than what we had hoped and planned for. It makes me giggle and I almost want to keep the chairs forever as a reminder that too much expectation of how things should be will trip us up every time. But my husband, bless his heart, is on Craig's List again.

    (photo credit: Nico Paix, flickr creative commons)
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