Not a before or after…a during

Mike and I often lament that we are bad at taking “before” pictures. We plow into an improvement project without properly documenting just how bad things were before we started. And it’s so hard to appreciate “afters” without “befores” to compare them to. (That’s also why we say, “No one will ever understand how hard we’ve worked on this house [sniff]” and shake our heads in a rare moment of complete this-old-house, fixer-upperhood solidarity.)

In this case, the best I can offer is a “during” photo. And already it looks pretty good (trust me, it does).


When Mike bought it for $40 at an antique sale a couple years ago, someone had stained and varnished it over paint. The finish was thick, crackly, and awful. And then it sat in our basement with boxes of junk on top of it. (Oh sorry, not junk — Mike’s stuff. A little sensitivity, please!)

After talking now and then about how “We really should do something about that desk” (that means me nagging him about it), last December, on a warmish day, Mike hauled it out of the basement and went to work on it in the garage. (I know this because when I mentioned to my sister this past Sunday that we had spent all day Saturday working on a desk, she said, “That same desk?!” I had forgotten that my sisters were here for a visit over Christmas and saw [and heard] Mike laboring away on it…for hours…noisily.)

So, fast-forward a couple months and we again had a warm day and the inclination to get back to the darn desk. (Actually the inclination was to be outside, and the desk was a convenient excuse.) Mike had spent at least 8 hours sanding it in December. Then last Saturday we both attacked it, taking off the top so we could get into more spaces and pulling out Mike’s handy Dremel sanding kit in addition to the palm sander (and hand-sanding too).

So here it sits, topless, as a work in progress, waiting for me to clean it up and start staining.


Notice the drawer — we didn’t get around to finishing the sanding on that yet (sigh, more mess). You can get an idea of the old finish from the inside of the drawer.



Funny thing though. Between blogging (here and the new one I started for my business), reading blogs, Twittering, wannabe crafting, trying to stay motivated to exercise, actually exercising, cooking dinner, (notice I’m not mentioning working — scary slow right now), and other normal stuff like laundry, who has time to stain a desk?

At least it’s back in the basement again, pretty much where it started. Without a top, though, it’s a little trickier to store stuff on it…but not impossible.


Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.
~William James


  1. THE CHAPPY said,

    Thursday, March 12, 2009 at 9:45 am

    what happened to work on the porch? who cares about the darn desk? good weather, get back to work on that porch! summer is coming and we expect tea time in the morning room overlooking the new topiary garden! crikey moses where are your priorities? desk…what are you going to do with that….? laughing on the outside crying inside..

  2. WritingbyEar said,

    Thursday, March 12, 2009 at 9:53 am

    Oh no, not porch yet. Powder room is the winter project we were avoiding with the desk, which means it will surely flow into spring and summer. I’ll be surprised if the porch is even done this year (we are a slow people…and tired).

  3. THE CHAPPY said,

    Friday, March 13, 2009 at 10:09 am

    you people need redbull! or how about the energy product from lance armstrong! tired??? crikey you are a bit too young to be crying tired…depressed maybe….speed it up! now laughing outside but still weeping inside..we want tea and scones or cakes on that porch…forget the powder room, nature will do.

  4. WritingbyEar said,

    Friday, March 13, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    We do share the occasional energy drink! I could use one now in fact. OK, I”m fine with “depressed” instead of “tired.” So many projects, so little time.

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