“I’m on my way to purchase a $25 coffee table. Do you think I’m nuts?” my oldest daughter informed her mother over the telephone recently. I knew Katie had been trying to figure out how to spruce up her apartment with a single gal’s budget in mind. And yes, her old worn-out one had been a recent topic of discussion. I think the dog used one of the table legs for a toothpick one too many times. But come on … 25 bucks for a coffee table? As long as there wasn’t any Dumpster diving involved, I was committed to being supportive. “You know the old adage, ‘you get what you pay for?’ Well, I have it on good authority it is absolutely true,” I remarked, not wanting to answer her question directly, but yes, her mother did believe at that moment Katie resembled a member of the hazel or Brazil nut family. I paused to ask just where in the heck she had found this table. “Oh, I found it on Craigslist. They have a photo of it online. Mom, I absolutely love the style. It’s oval with Queen Anne legs. It will look perfect in my apartment,” Katie added. “OK, but just who is Craig … and what is so darn special about his list?” I asked, not quite as serious as a heart attack … more like a bout of the flu. Obviously, I continue to be … so last century. After a brief explanation, the gist seems to be an online kinda thing where people post jobs, resumes, personal ads, services, things to sell, etc. And since Craig has lists in all kinds of major cities, unlike eBay, there doesn’t have to be any shipping involved. Hence, the reason she was driving 50 miles to pick the table up. “Now you don’t have to actually purchase the table if it looks yucky,” I added, knowing that Katie would indeed come home with a table. “From the photo, it looks like it could use a little refinishing. It has a few scratches here and there. Maybe Dad and I can make it a project,” Katie added with enthusiasm. Mmm … a project. I had to admit the two were way past due for another “project.” Their last involved a vintage Volkswagen when Katie was in high school. It is probably why Katie to this day changes the oil in her car all by herself. I gotta remember to have her teach me how to do that. Maybe I’ll just opt for her to show me where the dip stick is in my car. But geez … furniture refinishing. It was close to 30 years ago when Rick did his last project. That was back when the world was populated with lots of unfinished furniture places. With catchy names like Nude Furniture, Bare Furniture and the like, Rick and I purchased a tall, sturdy dresser in a local strip center when we were expecting Katie. I recall it was lovingly finished with a walnut stain. Oh, and we took off the boring drawer pulls and replaced them with colorful, wooden baby blocks. I can still smell the sweet, scented drawer liner. That dresser lived in the nursery for all three of the Frantz babies. On Sunday afternoon, our grownup Katie pulled into our driveway with a beyond battered coffee table perched precariously in the front seat of her little car. As Rick carried it into the garage, we noted, yep, there were indeed scratches. Did I mention that all four legs had chew marks someone, or something, thought they were Kentucky Fried Chicken drumsticks? And the gouges on the table top were so long and deep, it looked like the mythical Big Foot had a late night party on the table top before sitting down to cut his toe nails. I wasn’t overly optimistic, but learned to never underestimate the power of a father and his heavy-duty sander. It took a couple of weekends, but after lots of sanding of Big Foot’s claw marks, the table was looking pretty darn smooth. “Where did the claw marks go?” I asked. “Let’s just say it’s definitely a lot thinner table top. Katie is going to have to think lighter on her appetizers. If she puts anything heavier than a plate of chicken wings, it’s gonna fall right through,” Rick remarked. All that is left is the staining and sealing. Geez, I can hardly wait till I get the phone call that Katie has found a $30 couch. Dixie Frantz is a Kingwood resident and newspaper columnist for the past 12 years. E-mail Dixie with your comments at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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