Of Wood Stain and Bedsheets

The morning began with errands and a list. Successful acquisition of the items on the list would make my plans for the afternoon possible. I was going to begin re-staining wooden structures in my garden and I was going to solve the problem of bedsheets. The beds were something of a surprise problem, because of course I have bedsheets for my kids’ beds. Except last Saturday in a flurry of “make it all clean” I discovered that when I stripped all the beds I only had enough clean sheets for two of them. We have suffered sheet attrition between stretched out elastics, worn fabric, and the fact that everyone refuses to sleep on Sesame Street sheets. It was a problem which a shopping trip could solve and then we could begin insisting upon more regular washing of bedding. A good thing in a house which contains two teenagers and two active kids.

The danger of shopping is all the things I see which catch at my brain and say that I have uses for them. Stores do this on purpose. They place things I might want right next to things which are on my list. This was useful in the hardware store as it prevented me from forgetting paint trays. It was less helpful in the bedding section which is full of soft loveliness, none of which fits into my current budget. The sheets were a stretch as it was.

I brought my spoils home and set to work. Setting up beds was clean and soft. Staining was neither. I started with the staining. I watched the paint brush stroke liquid across bare dry wood. Any puddles vanished quickly, soaked in by the thirsty wood. We hadn’t stained the deck or the play set in a decade. The old stain had worn off long ago. It was satisfying to see the new color go on over the bare wood and the remnants of old stain. Stroke by stroke the wood was made to look younger. We could have used a sprayer I suppose, but this method insured that we got enough stain into the thirsty wood. It was slower, but more controlled in result. We did not finish. It is a project that will occupy a pleasant hour or two each day for the rest of the week. The week will be sunny and there is no need to push faster than that.

The kids liked their new sheets. Now no one would have to suffer those scratchy Spiderman fabrics anymore. I helped Patch spread out his comforter across the green sheets he’d picked. His comforter still sports a giant image of Blue from Blue’s Clues. It was Patch’s favorite show when he was four and Link’s favorite show before that. Patch is eight now. That was half his life ago. About six months ago Patch mentioned in passing that maybe he ought to have a new comforter. Three months ago both boys collaborated in removing all of the Blue’s Clues wall stickers from around the wall of their room. That’s not who they are any more. I tucked the Blue’s Clues blanket around the foot of the bed and knew that I have more shopping to do. I must buy a comforter appropriate to the boy Patch is rather than to who he was years ago.

Old things made new, old things which are still good ready to be passed on, and new things to replace those which are worn out. It was a solidly good day. I need to have more like it, although perhaps with less shopping involved.