Husband may well murder me when he gets back from being out-to-sea, but I just had to do it. I couldn’t stand that wobble or the squeak for one more bleedin’ moment. And woo-hoo, boy, the change looks and feels fantastic. Yup, I removed the bench seat on my side of the table in the Airstream. Yup, I did that.
Maybe you should know something about the background so that you can join me in celebrating my epic success. First, I work here. I work from that very spot for countless hours every day, whether we are in our usual spot in Poulsbo, or boondocking elsewhere. Hours and hours and hours every day. And being a normal human person, I occasionally move or shift or stretch. About six months ago, each time I in any way altered my position, I started to hear a squeak. I couldn’t figure out exactly where it was coming from and it was driving me batty [hubs would interject here: “you can’t drive anywhere that you already are” which is what he says every time I mention that something is making me crazy or insane or bonkers]. I tried everything from tightening the screws, to stuffing cotton balls down the crack between the bench and the wall, to attaching a strip of loop (from some extra hook-and-loop I had—aka velcro). Sometimes I would get a few days of relief, but then there it was again, the dreaded squeak. Such utter aggravation.
When we took the Airstream in for a five-year service visit a month ago, I had a list a foot long of things I wanted checked, upgraded, explained, altered, or fixed. Some of the items were silly and some were regular maintenance, but the one concern that I begged them to fix most adamantly was the squeak in my bench. And in fact, they were able to do it. One of the guys uninstalled the bench and added a line of foam along the whole edge where the bench touches the wall. And hey, it worked, no more squeak! I was thrilled … for two days. Then the bench started rocking … and a few days after that it pulled away from the wall. Day after day I would screw the screws back in and tighten everything up, but it just wasn’t holding. I needed to get longer screws to account for the depth of foam that had been used. And I meant to. I really did … but I didn’t get around to it. And then the screws just wouldn’t hold at all any more. So instead of an annoying rocking motion, came the sound of metal on metal, rasping away. I removed the two screws in question to prevent further damage.
So, this morning, I decided to pull the whole bench out (turns out it’s only held in by a total of ten screws), do some serious investigation, and conduct a permanent repair. So out came the screws and away came the bench. Such a relief! Also, now I could get in there and do some deep cleaning where it was virtually impossible to before. I’ve joked (half-joked anyway) in the past about replacing the whole dinette with a gorgeous reclaimed wood table and two comfortable chairs, but husband talks of weight distribution and style. And actually, I’ve grown to really like the pattern on the table and its size. So we didn’t.
Here's what it looked like before:
But there’s another thing about the bench. I don’t like the styling of the unit itself, and I absolutely HATE the fabric. And I mean totally abhor it. This week’s personal project is to recover the last of what still remains (I’ve rid us of most of it)—and I even have the awesome fabric purchased and washed and pressed and everything. However, every time I think of starting that project, I think about those stupid bolsters on the bench seat cushions and dread what should be a fun and fulfilling project.
Once the bench was out, and I could see all that wasted space, I started thinking about alternatives again … and off I went on a shopping expedition (a very rare type of venture for me—I buy books, food, beer, and brewery sweatshirts, not stuff). I knew I needed a chair that would be comfortable, match the feel of the Airstream, and not weigh too much. Also, I would need to find a solution for the storage space that I would be losing by removing the bench. Hells, I realized I was willing to reörganize my stuff and get rid of that much, just to be done with the bloody bench.
I didn’t actually expect to find a complete solution, and I was dreading the return home when I’d have to screw it all back in so that I could work tonight. But I did! I found a ridiculously comfortable chair that met all of my criteria and even a cool rolling storage solution that allotted more space than I would be losing. The two pieces worked together and would look great in the Airstream.
I threw the bench and the objectionable cushions into the back of the truck (they’re storage-unit-bound) and installed my new purchases. They look great, are functional, and don’t squeak or wobble. I couldn’t be happier!
And hey, check out the cool wheels on my new storage unit (and the extra-clean scrubbed floor now that I could get into every nook and cranny):
You may well wonder what the large white unit is under our table—it's our beloved dehumidifier. We run the beast when we are away and at night, and we empty her every few days, no matter the season. Our Airstream never feels damp and we have absolutely no problem with mold or moisture—things we attribute to dehumidifier use in the Pacific Northwest.
In the earlier picture there was also an electric heater under the table, but that too is destined for the storage unit until we need her again in the fall. That little unit has been amazing—worth every penny.
And yes, that is an antique printer! An HP LaserJet 1200. It just won't die and I'm too cheap to replace it until it does. Three years ago she started acting stupid, but then she was fine again. Every time I buy a new printer cartridge (about once every eleven months) I wonder if I should bother, but they're cheaper every year, and the new wireless printer I will replace her with won't give me that kind of life or reliability, I just know it. I bought her in 2002 in San Jose when I lived there—best printer ever!