I called my dog and she came running.
Jumping down from her spot among the spent raspberry canes where she'd been napping while I worked, Gracie trotted briskly around to the back patio to see exactly what t was that I might want.
"Come here, girl. Sit. Good dog."
Grabbing her rarely-worn collar and guiding her into place, I convinced an incredibly cooperative Gracie to pose exactly as I'd envisioned.
Right in front of my newly freshened director's chairs.
They've been my chairs for several years now, but in my mind, they will always belong to my mom. She kept four other director's chairs with solid green covers around the table on her deck at the lake house, but this striped pair was her special pride and joy. And Mom looked after them with meticulous care, pulling them inside at the first sign of inclement weather and protecting them from grandchildren with ketchup-laden hot dogs.I must confess, I've not been quite as diligent.My cats love to curl up on them, which is adorable but leaves behind a goodly trace of dark fur.
Dark grit has accumulated in the cracks and crevices.
And despite all my good intentions and any number of midnight runs outdoors as the pitter patter begins, my chairs have been left out in the rain more times than I can count.The bottom line is that my mom's director's chairs have not been looking their finest.
This weekend, I quite spontaneously decided to put some effort into bringing them back up to speed.
I pulled off the covers, soaked them in Simple Green, then scrubbed them down with a bar of Fels-Naptha and my bare hands. That's a pair of pages taken straight out of my mom's book for serious cleaning.
Once the freshly laundered covers were hanging in the sun to dry, I turned my attention to the wooden frames.
To be completely honest, they were a fright.
Not only had much of the color bleached from the wood finish, the arms in particular were distressed from standing water. The right thing to do, I heard my mother's voice in my ears, would be to sand them all down to bare wood and start over.
Hmm. Right. No doubt that would be the gold standard approach. But here's the thing: one of the chair's legs has long ago begun to split, and while my mom did a straightforward fix with a pair of metal clips, it's a flaw that will not go away. So I decided that I was justified in taking a less than Herculean strategy of my own.
And I had just the one-two punch to bring some life back to my mom's chairs.
Howard's Restor-A-Finish in Golden Oak, followed up with the Feed-N-Wax Wood Polish and Conditioner.
I've used these two products for many years to keep my well-worn wood cabinetry and trim looking lustrous and rich, and I'm still amazed every time I see the results.
The wooden frames of my mom's director's chairs look better than ever, the rain damage is not an eyesore but a source of character and charm, and the wax promises to block out any raindrops that might fall upon them, if I am ever to neglect these beauties again.
I was beyond thrilled when I put the chairs back together this afternoon. They're all gussied up for a new season of life, and I think my mom would approve.
As for Gracie - who is my mother's namesake, by the way - once she finished posing with the chairs, she ran back to her spot among the raspberries, and continued her nap.
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Here's another story about my mom's director's chairs that captures their arrival here at my house.