Yes, you do need to know when to quit. But rest assured – I’m not talking mountains or trekking, at least not yet. More on those forthcoming adventures later. Let’s just mention Kashmir and Stok Kangri.
No, not mountains. I’m talking that old sofa I found in a neighbor’s driveway some ten months ago. It truly was the most magnificent piece of garbage I’d ever seen. It was a camelback, 1920s sofa upholstered in a mustard yellow tapestry. But it had wonderful lines and I could see it in a wine red print that would fit right into my living room. I insisted that Husband J drive me in the minivan to pick up said sofa – otherwise, I explained, I would single handedly drag it along the two blocks back to our house. Rather than face that ignominy, he acquiesced.
Said sofa resided in our garage for quite a while. At our annual Christmas party I introduced many guests to the sofa, confidant in my ability to somehow learn the art not only of upholstery but also re-springing a sofa. Yes, I explained, it might take some time, but at some point that sofa would be sitting proudly in our living room.
I tried. I bought sandpaper. I bought varnish remover. I sanded a lot. I bought furniture clamps and wood glue. I removed all the existing upholstery and saved it to use as a template to be able to cut out the pattern on the new fabric I would buy. (This was my father’s suggestion.) After studying how to hand tie springs, I decided that might be beyond my completely untrained hands and came up with a substitute design that was going to involve plywood and very sturdy foam.
But what beat me in the end? Since day one I had been trying to deny the little piles of sawdust that kept appearing below various points of said sofa. After a while I had to acknowledge they weren’t completely unrelated to the sofa and started to research what they might be. Yes, wood boring beetles.
This led to a new set of internet inquiries – how to rid a sofa of them. Unwilling to douse myself and the sofa in something that looked like DDT, I finally found an organic borate salt product online that seemed as though it should work. Note to self – neither Home Depot nor Ace Hardware have much to say when you ask them about remedies for wood boring beetles.
I did one big application. Things looked good for about three weeks. But then I saw telltale signs of sawdust again. I tried a second time. Hope springs eternal. More weeks; more sawdust. Surely the third application would be the charm.
But by then I think the wood boring beetles were immune. The sawdust piled up the next day. And last weekend I got home from work and saw my beautiful sofa of dreams nestled in piles of sawdust. We have a 1950 house with original parquet wood tile floors. Wood boring insects are simply incompatible.
I told J just to take it away. It’s now junked in the side of our yard, waiting for a trip to the dump. I’m not going to inflict the battle of wood boring beetles on anyone else. But I tried. Like that 20,000 foot mountain that’s still waiting for me to climb, there’s another sofa somewhere.