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When the Spark of Madness Lights a Fire

When I announced my new little furniture business a few posts ago, I alluded to a crazy story. Today I shall tell you, before the hilarious details fade from my memory.

First, if you aren’t in the loop, let me lasso you in.

I’ve flitted from hobby to hobby since recovering from my postpartum depression, but in the last two months I’ve started refinishing furniture. It’s so fun! I love looking for unique antiques online and then bargaining for super cheap prices. I love a good negotiating conquest!

Really, the whole process is fun for me. It’s not just about getting to that final product, which is, of course, a very satisfying feeling on its own. The transformations are amazing.

But sometimes, so are the ways I come to own the antiques. Commence story!

When my husband Thomas was out of town about a month ago, I started “collecting.” We had one big collection day, “we” being me and the kids, who I dragged along for the ride. They were good sports, and after each pickup they got another little snack to munch on. Bribery works like a charm.

We drove out into the countryside to pick up two neat little hexagon side tables in perfect condition. We saw dormant crop fields and barns and drove down a slightly treacherous potholed country road. Gummy fruit snack.

Next we drove back into town and scored an adorable little high chair, which my mother in law purchased. (This was my first sale!) Goldfish.

Then we picked up a cute little desk. String cheese. 

And finally, the Great Seashell Dresser. Applesauce squeeze packs. 

Before picking up the dresser, I stopped at home and unloaded the booty, like a little pirate with eyes gleaming at the piles of gold. I also restocked on snacks. All of this pickup had taken some coordinating to make sure I could pick them all up back to back to back, but I had only just gotten word that I could come get the dresser. This happened to be right at dinner time. Out we went for one more trip, which turned out to be the big doozy.

By this point, I needed to refuel the van. I stopped at the BP nearby and started to pump gas. It wasn’t the cheapest, so I decided to cut it short. Does this ring a bell for you?

As I tried to cut off the gas stream, it wouldn’t stop… My heart started to pound, and I frantically looked around. Deja vu. Oh my gosh, I was at the same pump doing the same thing all over again. You can read I Got Gas to hear how I doused myself in gasoline the first time.

Anyways, how had I let myself use that pump again?! Seriously, this could not be happening… the metal shut off tab flapped back and forth as the gas continued to pump into my car. I knew better than to pull it out this time, hello learning curve, but I still felt that desperation when it wouldn’t turn off like I wanted it to. After about twenty seconds of shaking it and moving around the metal, it finally stopped. I hopped back in the car and told Lyla, “Shew. That was a close one!”

We headed on toward the dresser. It was about a 15 minute drive. As I was driving, Robin Williams’ quote came to mind:

You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.

Robin Williams

I thought, I’ve got it! I’ve got a spark! After a dark year with no spark, no fire, and severe depression, this was a welcomed feeling. I didn’t want to let it slip away, however bizarre it might be.

The guy already had the dresser out on the driveway when we pulled up. He was bundled up because it was all of 20 degrees. Brrrr.

And DANG- the dresser was a monster. A GIANT beastly thing. I kind of knew it would be big, so I brought along bungee cords and ropes, but still… A third of it hung out the back after we slid it in as far as it would go. I think it had nine drawers, so I slid some of them back in and then stacked more in the front seat. Then we tied the door down to the bumper, and I slowly pulled away.

OH- and did I mention we brought our dog along for this leg of the trip? Nope, left that part out. When I stopped at home to grab snacks, our dog Ginger had been desperate for attention. I thought, Well, she can entertain the kids. It will add a fun new element to the car ride. So I threw her in the backseat between their car seats, and they were thrilled to pet her.

Now, as we slowly drove home, and I mean creeped at a snail’s pace, the cold night air blew into the backseat. I had the front blowing hot air back to them as hard as it would go. The way home was on the interstate. Fortunately, there weren’t a ton of cars on the road, but I was so nervous driving on it. I was in the right lane with my blinkers on. Without the door fully shut, the road noise was terribly loud. Ginger was terrified, and Luke was saying, “Door, door, door!” Then Ginger jumped into Luke’s lap… Oh boy. He started screaming because she was scratching him. His head arched backward as he screamed, which scared Ginger even more. She wiggled all over him.

Edit to add: It just hit me. Why would Ginger choose the lap of the child who tortures her instead of gentle Lyla??? Payback.

At this point, I was thinking, This was a mistake. This is stupid. Stupidest thing you’ve ever done, Holly. I exited and pulled over onto the gravel. I hopped out to make sure the door and dresser were secure, then pulled Ginger into the front seat with me. At least that relieved Luke.

Next, I found an alternate route home that didn’t involve the interstate. That was just too scary. Slowly, we started home again. I honestly didn’t know if we would make it home at this point. I was praying, “God, please keep us safe. Please don’t let this dresser fall out and hurt someone.”

Oh, I was stressed. The long route home through the neighborhoods was much better than the interstate. It was quiet and dark, but I was still tensely gripping the steering wheel. I’m sure I looked hilarious- wide eyed, white knuckled, with a shaking dog on my lap who occasionally stepped on the window buttons, making our windows roll down.

By this point I knew it wasn’t just a spark. No, they were shooting out of my ears and my nostrils… sparks of madness everywhere…

BUT, we made it home safely. Thank the Lord! Seriously, divine help for a stupid moment. I won’t attempt that again with the kids or without help.

I put the kids straight to bed. That excursion took waaaay longer than expected since I drove home so slowly.

Then I walked back out to the garage, kind of shaky and exhilarated. Now, how to get it out of the van… by myself. My husband was out of town, remember? I debated calling a friend over to help, but it was getting late. That left ME!

Then an out of town friend called to catch up. I laughingly told her what I’d just done and told her I’d call her back once I got it out.

I was able to call her five minutes later! A little ingenuity solved the problem. Dresser to rolling chair to pillows.

Voila! Now all that’s left is to do some repairs and a lot of fun painting!

At first my husband was a little overwhelmed by the idea of all this furniture lurking about and extra projects for me. Now he is fully on board and even suggested we buy a cheap old truck to transport pieces. I’m so thankful he supports my creativity and the different forms it takes. Thank you for being my biggest fan and helpmate, Honey! I love you!

And thank you all for reading. I hope my story didn’t make you too nervous. 🥴


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