I invited my parents over for a Mock Thanksgiving yesterday, complete with ham, instant potatoes, Rhoades rolls, and a frozen Marie Calendar’s pumpkin pie. Had it been a Real Thanksgiving, I would have made everything from scratch. Which is why I will never host a Real Thanksgiving.
I got up in the morning, planning to get most of the work done before we had to go to church. Among the list of Simple Things to Do Ahead of Time was number 7: Add leaf to dining table.
I got under the table, switched the latches open and started to pull. Nothing. I asked Christian to grab a side and pull. No go. I sent Christian to retrieve Ryan from the office to help. He took a side, I took a side and we both gave it the old heave-ho, and it finally opened. One one-hundredth of a centimeter.
“Why are we putting the leaf in the table?” Ryan asked.
“Because we’re having Mock Thanksgiving,” I said, “and we’re all going to sit together.”
We each grabbed our sides again and puuuuuuuuulled. Nothing.
“Are you sure you undid all the latches?” he asked.
“Yes.” I said.
We pulled again. Nothing.
“Let’s switch sides,” he said.
We switched sides and this time when he pulled, he pulled the table and me three feet across the floor, but the opening in the middle hadn’t changed at all. We switched sides again and this time we channeled all the strength and might of two people who who will not be defeated by a dining table. And suddenly, the table began to move…..about three inches. (You can see the table behind Max.) Thrilled with our success, we kept pulling and tugging and shaking and lifting and pulling and grunting and the table would not budge. Elapsed time on Project Leaf thus far: 43 minutes.
Not being used to this kind of physical labor, we decided to take a short rest.
Ryan went back to the office to work on a paper and I began to use my supreme problem-solving skills to figure out how to get the table open. I began with Idea Number 1: Verbal abuse.
“Stupid, piece-of-crap table,” I said over and over again. Unfortunately, it didn’t work.
Idea Number 2: Belts. I took two belts from the closet, wrapped them over and under each side of the table top and got Ryan again for a pulling session. No go. Elapsed time on Project Leaf: One hour, sixteen minutes.
Idea Number 3: I call this idea WWDD (What Would Dad Do?) Clearly, the answer was WD-40. I went out to the garage, but our can was empty from previous WWDD situations. So, I called Mr. & Mrs. Smith and asked to borrow their can. Christian went over and picked it up and brought it to me. I began spraying every nook and cranny underneath the table, throwing in a little more of Idea 1. No go. Elapsed time: One hour thirty-eight minutes.
Idea Number 4: The Wedge. This was Ryan’s idea. He thought if I could wedge one of my legs in the crack, I could force the sides open. No go. (But I have a lovely bruise as a remembrance.) Elapsed time: One hour, forty-four minutes.
Idea Number 5: Push the damn table back together and forget the idea altogether. No go. Table will neither open nor close. Elapsed time: One hour fifty-six minutes.
Idea Number 6: Call for back-up. Mr. & Mrs. Smith arrived in minutes and between the overwhelming combined physical strength (plus a half-can of WD-40) we got the table open. Six more inches.
“I think it’s open enough,” Ryan said.
“The leaf is about two-and-a-half feet wide,” I said.
I’m not really sure what happened next. I sprayed a little more WD-40 and the four of us shook and pulled and called upon the spirit of Bob Vila to part the dining room table. And lo, the table shook and the sides began to part, and the table did open all the way, and the children watching were sore amazed, and the adults pulling were sore….well, they were just sore. Elapsed time: 2 hours, twenty-three minutes.
(No comments about the dust, please.)
Within minutes, we had the leaf in and the Mock Thanksgiving that was in danger of being eaten on the coffee table was saved!
We had a lovely meal. My mom brought my favorite lime Jell-O with cottage cheese and pineapple, some candied sweet potatoes, and orange-zesty green beans. The ham was great. The instant potatoes were only mildly chunky, the rolls were warm and buttery, the five Advil I had taken were giving me a nice buzz, and I really got caught up in the Thanksgiving spirit. I was thankful for my friends, the Smiths, for their ever-willingness to help a friend in need. I was thankful for the good food and a warm house to eat it in. But most of all, I was thankful that my stupid, piece-of-crap table was surrounded by the people I love.