15 March 2012

Wednesday, You're Kind of a Jerk

Alternate Title: We Didn't Need Those Dining Room Chairs Anyway

If you follow my Twitter feed at all, you already know that yesterday was one of those days: super-irritating, super-depressing and generally of the drive-you-crazy variety. If you're not a fan of Twitter (or of me on Twitter, natch) then let me fill you in: yesterday was super-irritating, super-depressing and generally of the drive-you-crazy variety. Allow me to elaborate:

I woke up yesterday morning all full of vim and vinegar (I was going to use another word for "vim" but this is a PG show, you know) and determined to finish up some projects that I've started but let lag (need I say it? LIKE USUAL). The hallway has been languishing while I search for the perfect wallpaper to decorate the back of the bathroom door, which will be the jumping-off point for the ceiling paint colour and the cupboard doors. Everything is on hold while I search for that wallpaper but so far, no luck.

Feeling frustrated, I decided to tackle a different project outstanding on my To-Do list, namely the dining room chairs. I've been intending for a while to freshen up/dye the chair slipcovers (which I debated about way back here), and to sand down and stain the orange legs a much darker brown to compliment the rest of the dining room furniture. Wednesday felt like just the day to get at it!

I started by stripping all the chairs of their slipcovers which, once I really looked at them with a critical eye, were much more sad, disheveled and dirty than I had realized; amazing what you can overlook when you want to! Along with the marks and stains of regular use, including very distinct evidence of chocolate sauce fingerprints from way back in January at A's birthday party (and which I did not, until today, realize were there), we had some very red paw prints to contend with on a few of the seats. During an evening of painting a while back for class, Chloe had run across the table and stepped in my paint palette, then jumped across several of the chairs. I had hoped that by letting it dry, I could scrape most of it off and the rest would come out in the wash; yesterday was the test of my theory.

Pretty paw prints. Gross everything else.

Once all the chairs were stripped (which, I'm not going to lie to you, took a bit of effort; those suckers were velcroed up pretty tight!), I threw the whole pile into the wash on heavy load, with hot water and bleach. Once the cycle had run, back upstairs they came for the whitening process.

A few weeks ago during a routine perusal of the dollar store, I came across some fabric dye packets that included a whitening agent, among other colours. I was skeptical but for a buck fifty a box, I could hardly go wrong. I bought four boxes ... I was really determined to get those babies whiter than white.

My skepticism hit an all-time high when I filled the tub with water and emptied into it two boxes of crystals which were ... wait for it ... BLUE. Like, bright blue. I failed to see how blue crystals would turn my slipcovers white but I figured at worst I could just re-wash them or dye them another colour if it didn't work out. So into the tub they all went, for a long soaking bath.

Slipcover bubble bath; hold the bubbles

I pulled them out after 20 minutes or so (I gave them some extra time on account of having eight of them, and their being rather thick fabric), then hauled them back down to the washer for a final rinse and spin. And then it all went wrong.

Being generally an impatient person and not being overly interested in waiting the 36-or-so hours for them to dry fully, I decided what harm could it do? to dry them in the dryer on the Air Dry setting. Yeah, famous last words. In our dryer, the Air Dry setting on Low basically just uses cold-to-room-temperature air which, since that's what they would have been drying in anyway had I laid them out upstairs, made perfect sense to me: the same temperature, only faster. Perfect. Except, as it turns out, NOT. Because after an hour and a half on the lowest tumble dry setting, this is what happened:

You know what that is, peeps? That's SHRINKAGE!! And not just a little bit: I shrunk every single one of those bad boys so badly that there isn't even a chance they'll fit on the chairs. Not one single chance. I have eight dining room chairs and zero dining room chair slipcovers. For those of you who liked it all spelled out: I wrecked my dining room chairs.


Um, sadly ... yes.

On the plus side, the slipcovers are very nice and white, except the paw prints didn't come out. Also, staining the legs turned out to be a disaster. As it would happen, they don't appear to be real wood, so even though I sanded down a test patch and stained and stained and stained it, it all basically just wiped off and now just looks sort of dirty. Awesome.

So in the midst of a ton of other projects that are mid-process and currently at a standstill, and at a time when there is no latitude in the budget to replace eight soup spoons let alone eight dining room chairs, I've set myself back considerably by destroying an element that I totally could have lived with for some time to come, and can't replace. If you're so inclined, donations are welcome. I'm partial to Parsons chairs with white slipcovers.

And as IF I needed a capper on such a crap-sandwich day, it appears that Garcia and Kevin have broken up on Criminal Minds. I'm basically inconsolable, and may or may not be eating emotionally.

So here's to Thursday, which can't help but be a better day. Maybe I'll just stick to cleaning the kitchen :)