Thursday, July 30, 2015

Junk Love: The Hutch

Have you ever fallen in love? Instant, gut-searing, I-have-to-have-you-or-I'll-die love? We have, on many occasions, fallen victim to this condition. Usually, it involves vintage cocktail items or pinups. But once upon a time...it was a gigantic piece of furniture.

We were in the Wilmington, NC area for vacation. The week had been spent mostly in our pajamas in a beach house, watching movies and putting together puzzles. It was a time of relaxation, where our mental reset buttons would be gently pushed. We might venture into town for a nice meal or a stroll around the local antique shops (otherwise we would dry up and die). One night, we drove to the beach to get our toes wet under a wide expanse of Carolina stars. The next day, we journeyed into the big city to have lunch with someone we know there. And afterwards, as we sat in the car waiting for the AC to catch up, one of us said, "I wonder if there's a thrift store on the way back to the house?"

Indeed, there was. And within ten seconds of walking through the door, I was shoving people aside as I rushed to greet my future: a mid-century hutch by Young Manufacturing Co. Glass panels on the sides, glass shelves, and it lights up. At $225, it was pricey for a thrift store find, but a bargain for such a large piece. As I spotted another customer strolling toward it with a contemplative gleam, I considered licking the doors to stake my claim. Luckily, there are TWO Blackbird girls--one to find a sales associate, and one to body-check anybody stupid enough to tread on our turf.
Hutch in its native habitat
Lusty excitement aside, we are also practical gals, so my first action was to get the tape measure from the car. The hutch is two pieces, incredibly heavy, and too big for both parts to fit in the car simultaneously. But, considered individually, each piece would fit. We were an hour from the beach house, but decided it was worth it to make two trips. I gleefully paid for the hutch. And then Carl happened.

Carl is the guy in charge of moving things. And Carl is the sort of fellow who will laugh in a woman's face and tell her how stupid she is. I learned this the hard way. 

I want to take the top half first I told him. It will slide in at an angle, and I have blankets to cushion (because you have to travel with blankets for this exact purpose). He shook his head and laughed and condescendingly informed me that the piece was too big. The top is 48 inches I said. I have 52 inches of clearance in the car. Carl snorted and asked where from my body I happened to pull those numbers. I held up my tape measure, and he snatched it from my hand. I watched through the window as Carl measured my hutch top, watched him shake his head when he realized that it was, indeed, 48 inches high. And then he came outside and tossed the tape measure at me. He spat on the asphalt in front of my toes, and told me that he didn't care what size it was. Nobody was putting that piece in my car. Then he instructed all of his staff not to help us. It was too heavy for two Blackbird girls to handle, and so we were stuck.

From here we entered a Dark Time, during which we called everyone we knew, who called people, who called people, and eventually, we were able to get someone with a truck to come help us. Half of the hutch went in the truck, and the other half went into my car. Sounds like a sweet ending to the story, right? I may have neglected to mention the fact that I didn't technically have room for this piece of furniture at home. Indeed, there was the not-so-small matter of a piano in the exact spot where the hutch would have to live.

The bottom half of the piece, which I affectionately referred to as Hutch Butt, lived in my SUV for over two months. If I got groceries, I would slide open the doors and lower bags into the Hutch Butt. If I slammed on the brakes, it would nudge the back of my seat like a friendly high-five. While Hutch Butt camped in my car, and Hutch Top lived in somebody's garage, I tried to get rid of the piano. Not surprisingly, those tend to be really hard to re-release into the wild. Eventually, I figured out a way to fit the hutch into my house WITHOUT getting rid of the piano--or anything else!

Hutch Butt grows accustomed to its new habitat
All it took was twelve hours of sweaty labor, moving four other pieces of furniture and dozens of associated tchotchkes and pieces of wall art, but finally, there was a space for Hutch Butt. The delivery of Hutch Top was a joyous event, and there was rejoicing in the streets (except not really, because there is no air conditioning out there). Finally, finally, finally--the hutch was in my house, ready to be filled with pottery and other assorted items. The moral of this story? Love is hard work, but a girl would do almost anything for decent storage.

Hutch Butt and Hutch Top compare stories from their time apart


1 comment:

  1. This is funny! I have the same impulsive "need to have" feelings when I see a piece of furniture I want. I just picked up a very similar hutch (mine has four sliding panels on the bottom) that was a part of a full dining set on Craigslist. Also without a real place to put it. Also, Carl sounds like a real dick.

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