The Bench

Happy Monday!

It’s October, and you know what that means! It’s the most wonderful time of the year! I’m an October baby so it’s my birthday month, and it’s obviously my favorite. The temperatures have dropped and we broke out our Carharts over the weekend, but that also means beautiful fall colors, smells, and all the things that come with October. It was busy in our house this weekend, and as Matthew is working as many side jobs as possible I have been keeping myself busy with various projects for our upcoming move (we are moving to a new apartment in a couple weeks, our very first home together!!).

One of my newest hobbies is refinishing old furniture, primarily dressers. I haven’t perfected the methods I use yet, and frankly I’m not the most patient person in the world so I keep the projects fairly simple. So far though, I’ve had great luck and I’ve really enjoyed recycling sad old dressers and giving them new life. I finished some work on a dresser last Friday, and Saturday I decided I would start a new adventure-building a bench for our little walk way in the apartment. I watched a 5 minute YouTube video on how to “build a bench in 15 minutes!” and decided I could handle it. So off to Home Depot I went, not knowing the long day I had ahead of me.

I was determined to have this bench built and done by the time Matt came home so that I could show him all my hard work and what not. So I went in with my list of measurements and what I needed, and after waiting in a long line for this poor kid working the lumber department all by himself, we finally got the right cuts. Nash was with me and all he cared about were the lawn tractors he saw on our way in, so it was fun dealing with him crawling out of the cart and hollering for the tractors too. 😀

I got home and realized I bought the wrong screws and hardware for the dresser I’d finished, so back to Home Depot I went. After my second trip which was much smoother and quicker, and I was ready to take it on once I was home again. I borrowed my brother’s drill that had been charging for about an hour. What a piece of junk, you guys. For real, I don’t suggest getting the black and decker brand of power drill. It just had zero power. So I had a couple screws half in and I had to try to pry them out. The YouTube video didn’t mention the step where you drill holes with a drill bit first, either. So that was something I learned. After 30+ minutes of frustration thankfully, my Bumpa arrived! That’s my grandpa, by the way. A little background on him: he had a stroke almost 30 years ago, so he doesn’t have the use of his left arm and his vocabulary is really limited. I never knew him when he could talk, and mostly we just play charades to guess what he’s talking about. Sometime I’ll write about my grandparents’ marriage and how they met, because it’s up there with “The Notebook”, but for now just know that my Grandpa is Bumpa and Bumpa is a very hard worker, he just doesn’t have a full vocabulary.

Anyway, so Bumpa arrives. He finds me an old school plug in drill that’s awesome, except it’s very difficult to switch between bits. If he had 2 arms and hands to use it would have cut our time in half and been much smoother, but we used what communication we had and our 3 hands together. In our defense, the guy who was swamped at Home Depot totally cut the seat boards wrong. One is maybe a good 2 inches longer than the other. So that was one issue. We ran into a knot in one of the boards that we thought we could use a hammer to drive the screw through, but that just dented the head of the screw into the board underneath it. Once we got it in, it was a little tippy and off balance, but it was too late now. Munga repeatedly told me to wait for Matt to get home, since it would have been a looooot smoother, but nope. I was determined to have it done. So we then assemble the bench altogether, and realize it not only rocks, but the dented board is screwed face up so you could snag your bum on it is you weren’t careful.

Not all of the boards are screwed tightly together, it rocks a little bit, one board is obviously longer than the other, it’s really heavy, and if it was a woodshop project I might have failed, BUT…it makes me laugh hysterically when I look at it. We struggled with that thing for well over 2 hours or more, and after I stained it it didn’t look terrible from a distance. I also have something now that I can say I built with my Grandpa, who has one good hand and is 73 years old. When i revealed it to Matthew he laughed with me at all it’s character and totally amateur flaws. He is such an engineer/builder that he could have built it quicker, smoother, and he could have sold it as an expensive show piece if I had waited. But, I am as determined as an ox and have been since the day I was born and so here I am, hillbilly bench and all. I love it. I wouldn’t change a thing about the process or the experience and I told Matthew if there is ever a fire in our home (God forbid), after I get Nash and my comic books out, he had better come out carrying that darn bench!

Things Gabby learned in bench building 101:

  • It will not take you 15 minutes unless you know EXACTLY what you’re doing because you’ve done it 100+ times already.
  • YouTube lies. Don’t believe the smiles and nods and thumbs ups from the beautiful video bloggers DIY-ing their hearts out…they are all pros and amateur videos would make for better entertainment anyway
  • take the time you think you’ll need, and triple it, and then times that by 12
  • Employ someone who knows what the heck they’re doing
  • Preaching to the choir here-be patient-do it right and take your time!
  • ASK for help at Home Depot and bring snacks for tiny humans while you wait for the poor understaffed guy to get to your boards
  • YouTube is a liar
  • Don’t be afraid to try something out of your comfort zone. You’ll never know if you’re good at it or if you like it if you don’t try!

Good luck out there all you DIY-ers! Let me know if you have any DIY mishaps that make you laugh, I’d love to hear them!!


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