And now the chair doesn’t seem so bad

2282 2282_ () 2282 2282 A few years ago, I wrote a blog post about an interaction I had with one of my sons. It concerned an old chair that was falling apart and how my son asked if we could shoot the chair with bb guns when we didn’t need it anymore.

What I didn’t write, because I was too embarrased, was that the boy had added, “and then after that, we can set it on fire.”

Later that day, after the post was up, I got an email from my friend Fr. Tim (who coincidentally is the godfather of said boy in this story). All the email said was, “…and then we could set it on fire.”

Totally serious.

After that, I started feeling better about my boys. Maybe they weren’t so over-the-top-nuts after all. Oh sure, I mean, compared to someone’s daughter it’s crazy. Compared to me it’s crazy. But to a former boy? Nah, pretty normal.

Fast-foward to yesterday afternoon and a moment of weakness I like to refer to as “Steve Swenson Syndrome.” Steve Swenson is my dad and growing up, my dad was notorious for getting (awesome) stuff off the side of the road.

I get this love-of-thrift from my dad and maybe sometime soon I will tell you all about my recent trip to Goodwill and how by the end I was fighting back tears because the deals were so crazy awesome.

So yesterday we were dropping off friends and as we approached their house, I noticed a wicker rocking chair on the side of the road.

“Oh. my. gosh,” I said, slowing down. “We have got to get that thing.”

The boys freaked.

“Don’t put that in the van,” they begged and pleaded. “Please. Don’t stop!”

But I couldn’t help myself. Genetics took over and before I knew it I was pulled over, heaving a chipped and unraveling black rocker into the side doors of our van. I turned it upside-down and by the time I closed the door, paint chips flaking on my upholstery, I had a good idea of why its previous owner decided to bid adieu.

By that time, however, I was committed. I was also praying no one had seen us take it, but I had a feeling neighbors up and down the street were all peering through their blinds, calling in husbands and daughters to see what sucker was shoving the chair off to its new home.

But see? The rocker is pretty, really it is. It has such potential. It just needs time and some TLC and a few hundred coats of paint.

We got home and I started to yank the chair out of the van and the boys were still mortified and wondering how we could possibly fix this thing to make it seat-worthy. How could this possibly end up nice? When and how could we fix this thing up?

“Okay,” I finally admitted, “worst-case scenario is we stick it on our curb if we decide it’s too worn down.”

Elliott had a better idea.

“Worst case scenario is we shoot the chair and then burn it.”

Some ideas never die.

My son was quiet for a moment, and then had an epiphany.

“Wait a minute,” he said, “that’s actually best case scenario!” 2282″ .



  1. Rachel,

    First I have to say I LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog. I was sent here by a friend and I laugh hysterically at all your posts. I have to say though that this one came just at the right time as this month I have found a TON of perfectly good (a little loved and in need of a good washing, but otherwise with much life left in them) toys and such on the side of the road. I am a new mom to a 10 month old boy and am already trying to find ways to save our pennies. And what better way than with free stuff, right? But reading your post today was like looking into my future because I have done that with my son in the car and he already looks at me like, “You are not seriously going to take that are you??” Too funny.

    And your sons already sound like they are going to make amazing husbands and fathers some day. Thank you for helping to inspire this newbie. 🙂 God Bless!

  2. I can relate to the whole getting things off the side of the road. My father did it (In fact that’s how my first apartment was furnished. And I still have some of those pieces 10 years later in my current house). I find myself doing it too now. My husband turns his head and rolls his eyes but he almost always gets out of the car to get it for me. I’ve discovered something new and wonderful. Spray paint! Spray paint has come a long way in the past five years. I have a table in my hall that was white, it’s now mahogany and looks like an expensive piece. Here’s to off the side of the road pieces.

  3. I should have also added, or priests! Maybe just great men in general would have been more exact. 🙂

  4. I am almost too embarrased to tell this story but your blog entry makes me feel a little better. We actually had some very old and no longer usable chairs and I came downstairs to them ripped apart and yes, burning in the fireplace while my husband and 2 oldest boys stood smiling.
    Your blog is wonderful! I started reading it after I read your book earlier this year.

    • My husband wanted to burn our old kitchen cabinets as timber *at our son’s birthday party*.

      I put my foot down.

      But all that is to say you would totally fit in around here!

  5. laugh out loud funny

  6. Thanks for sharing this story. As a Mom to four young boys, I am often surprised by what they propose for fun. You see, I grew up in a home of all girls and our Dad was pretty mild mannered. I guess he had to be. The shock at my boy’s craziness has eased a bit, but it’s certainly not fully gone. The good news is I’m learning to roll with the punches. The bad news is my oldest is ONLY 8. I can’t imagine the zaniness that is to come!

  7. I totally thought about picking that thing up when I was walking the other night. Let me know Joe it turns out.

  8. Michelle says

    Another great benefit of having that van! You can fill it up with all sorts of bargains. :0)

  9. I am enjoying your blog very much. Family is wonderful and as my littlest rocks back and forth in the high chair in an attempt to make it work across the floor so the counter comes into reach, I had to laugh about the “shoot the chair and then burn it” because that kind of thing doesn’t happen with girls and even though I laughed I’m not sure I’m not just as happy not to have had a bunch of boys. I doubt my nerves could have handled it.

    Thank you for writing your blog. I needed a laugh tonight! 🙂