Okay, are you ready for a funny story? It's one of those so-not-funny-at-the-time-but-now-that-it-all-turned-out-fine-we-can-laugh kinds of stories.
Once upon a time there was a really beautiful vintage 1967 Drexel solid wood china cabinet available on Craigslist for a GREAT deal = $100.
The problem was that it was pretty far away, only accessible by braving awful traffic through the city. And since it's a one-piece unit, it wouldn't fit in our minivan...and we don't own a truck.
Since moving to the DC area, I have learned the hard way not to even bother with any Craigslist furniture in or near the city - it's just not worth the stress and hassle. Rule #2 was not to consider anything that couldn't fit in my minivan and/or I couldn't handle myself. Especially if it's far away.
Well. You've already figured out that I broke both of those rules for this piece.
On a Saturday, we discovered that trucks are very hard to come by. Our friends' trucks were being loaned out already, and not a rental truck was to be found anywhere. So Steve, trying to be supportive of my crazy infatuation with this china cabinet, went down and rented a cargo van (not a full-sized moving truck, but a large van) because it was the same price as a truck and the inside dimensions would accomodate the large size of the cabinet.
I drove separately in my van with our kids so we could both be there to load it up. It took an hour to get there, and I was blessed with the melodious sounds of my kids whining and bickering the entire way while I was trying to navigate through unusually thick traffic on the Beltway due to an accident. Sidenote: I can't stand driving on the Beltway, and I can't stand my kids fighting....and they can't stand being dragged around in pursuit of CL deals. So you know that I REALLY wanted this piece of furniture!
We finally arrive (phew!) and go to load it up. Except the back doors of the cargo van are about 8 inches less wide than the belly of the van. You guessed it = IT DIDN'T FIT. Not even sideways or at an angle.
Deflated but not defeated, we labelled the $80 it cost to rent and pay for the gas of the Uhaul van as our "Stupid Tax" and made arrangements to come back on Monday with a friend's truck. Because, after all, $180 is still a great deal for such a good piece.
Monday came, the kids were in school, Steve had a day off, and we picked up the cabinet without much trouble other than dealing with traffic and a long drive (for the second time).
That's when the yellow light turned red as we were going through an intersection in Maryland. Maryland, the state ranked #1 in loss of freedoms for its residents, the state with Big Brother cameras at intersections to send tickets to split-second runners of short yellow/red lights despite the fact that it would have been dangerous for us to slam on our brakes at the last second with a big piece of furniture in the back of the truck.
The next week, our friends (the truck owners) get a friendly $75 ticket in the mail from Maryland's automated (and very busy) ticket distributor service. Sigh. This china cabinet is becoming less and less of a bargain every minute.
Anyway. I very carefully sanded down the entire piece, and used 6 cans of black satin spray paint (Valspar brand from Lowe's) to paint everything black except for the back, which was in such good shape I didn't have the heart to paint it. When it was all dry, I realized that the 4 cans of paint that I made a special trip to the store for weren't just producing shiny results when the paint was wet...the paint was mislabelled and was, in fact, glossy and splotchy all over the place even when dry. It looked AWFUL. I almost cried. And I had to take a break from dealing with it for a few days.
Then I went out and spent $5 per can to get the good stuff, the paint that has never failed me - the brand I should have used in the first place = Rustoleum indoor/outdoor satin. Not to be confused with Home Depot's Painters Touch paint made by Rustoleum!! Lots of pretty colors in that line, but they changed the paint formula and it can bubble and wrinkle on previously finished furniture, as I can attest to. But the regular Rustoleum brand worked beautifully = huge sigh of relief.
So in the end I spent about $50 on paint. Which brings the grand total of my dear china cabinet to over $300, not including the gas in the other vehicles we used.
But despite all the insanity, I'm still in love with this china cabinet! Especially after I cut some skinny masonite to fit in the back and wrapped it with some of my favorite home dec fabric (a nubby, linen-look print called Amsterdam by Premier Prints...sold at Fabric.com).
I'm so excited to have "showroom" space for my favorite dishes with plenty of room for off-season dishware to be stored compactly in the lower cabinets.
And everyone lived happily ever after. The End.