I’ve been convinced for the last year or so that the only thing standing between me and really incredible, Martha Stewart-level dinner parties was our lack of a dining room table.  I mean, obviously the problem couldn’t be my all-consuming exhaustion, lack of enviable cooking skills, or inability to lure friends out of their houses with anything short of a steady rainfall of chocolate and booze.  No, no, the table is clearly the problem.

It’s not that I haven’t been looking for a table. Oh, I’ve been looking. But I can’t buy a nice table because I know that Michael has a vision for making one. I’m sure that this future, handmade-with-love, one-of-a-kind piece will be beautiful, and I am eager to see it, but there are many other pressing concerns that take precedence over buying a bunch of hardwood for a table. I’ve been searching for months for a used one that will serve while I wait for the masterpiece, but so far everything I’ve found has been too small, too big, too ugly, or $1,500.

(Attention Craiglist: if I had $1,500 to spend on a dining room table, I wouldn’t be consulting you.)

Anyway, at the end of the day or at least this complaint session, we have no table that can seat more than four with any level of comfort. I bemoan this fact with regularity, usually during some kind of passing crisis over not having a social life.

So that’s the lengthy background behind my reaction on this past Saturday, which is when Michael casually mentioned that he had invited some friends over for dinner on Monday.

I should have been excited, right? People were coming to dinner! I wasn’t excited.

“We don’t have a table!” I whined. “I don’t understand where you expect me to put people. We need a dining room table!”

“Don’t worry about a thing,” he said. “I’ll take care of it.”

On Sunday I saw this in my driveway:

That’s salvaged wood from old shipping crates.

He topped it with a piece of plywood that’s been propped up against the dining room wall for about a year now.

Then I threw some linens and every candle in the house on it, surrounded it with the kitchen chairs, the bench/coffee table from the living room, and Annabel’s bench seat from kitchen, and made my eyes and my brain really soft-focus.

Just like that, dinner for seven.  It worked just fine.

I’m very excited to have people over for dinner now.  But I’d better do it quickly because I’ve been informed that Michael will be needing that piece of plywood back for Memorial Day weekend, which is when it will be turned into the other  kitchen bench seat.

I suppose it’s best that we have a deadline. I’ve been sleeping on a bed made from 2x4s and plywood for about seven years now.  You know, the temporary one.


Who wants wine?