We live on one military income. I contribute a few bucks here and there with freelance artwork/graphic design, but our budget is based solely on Handsome’s provision. We are comfortable, but not extravagant. I shop clothing sales, thrift stores, Walmart groceries and tackle a lot of DIY to stretch our dollars as best I can. Craigslist has been kind to me: providing several home & child accoutrements at a fraction of the cost. Most of the time I’m even able to re-sell outgrown items for nearly (if not exactly) what I paid for them.
95% of my Craigslist purchases have been awesome. Nice people, fair price, smooth transaction, no creepers. I did have one nightmare experience where I drove 6 hours round-trip alone with both kids to end up NOT buy something that was clearly broken and totally misrepresented. That was a major bummer, but I henceforth set a travel limit of an hour — no matter how much me likey.
And then along came this console table.
I only drove 15 minutes to buy this antique beauty and I got it for a song. Solid wood, gorgeous detailing, perfect shape and size.
Problem was… the lady I bought it from had it sitting on her covered patio. I only saw it on her patio, purchased it from her patio, and never once stepped foot inside her house. It needed some work, but I saw it’s potential and wasn’t afraid to put in a little elbow grease.
As I drove my new treasure home, the car began to smell. After sitting in my house overnight, the entire living room reeked of cigarettes. Turns out, the table smelled to high heaven. It was as if the poor thing had been sitting in the corner of a nasty dive bar for 50 years. Just look at the thickness of this horrible waxy buildup…
After dry scraping a majority of the table, it still stunk. So I tried chemical paint stripper. The vile sludge that came off that thing was downright vomitous. This was not going to be a quick fix.
It took me 3 afternoons and a few minor chemical burns to get it down to bare wood. Then I repainted, restained, and applied 3 coats of polyurethane.
Looking sharp, right? That’s what I thought too. Until I put it in our bedroom. Woke up with a headache and my room smelling like the aforementioned dive bar.
I couldn’t believe that after all that work the table still had the aromatic potency to clear a room. But I also couldn’t bring myself to sell it (and lie about it’s stench) or trash it (I’d put in so much sweat equity)!
So I put it on my covered patio. For 3 months. Hoping and praying that all it needed was some fresh air.
Turns out, I was right. The little blue console could finally come inside without offending anyone and now lives happily in our master bedroom. If you smoosh your nostrils reeeeeal close, there is a dainty hint of this beauty’s past life of neglect, but she not longer defiles the room.
Moral of the Story: from now on any and all Craigslist purchases (wood furniture included) will be subjected to and have to pass a stringent sniff test.