Orderly, organized and planned, not the words often used to describe my endevours. Vowing that this project would be different, I started a Pinterest board, titled Dining Room Redo (I’m prone to obvious clever names like that, I also named my gray mare Silver and an orange tom, Rusty). My first stop was Ana White’s amazing website of free and easy building plans, I found a couple of farmhouse style tables that I liked. Not being certain that they were easy enough, I found this blog post after several hours of wandering the net eventually. It was exactly what I wanted.
First order of business was to buy four legs in the appropriate style. Table legs in Spanish are called patas, this actually doesn’t feature into my story, but I thought you might like to know that little tidbit. There is an excellent lumber yard a 100 yards from our home. There I found the perfect turned leg, the price ridiculously low. Unfortunately, there were only three of them. No one seemed to know where that fourth leg had wandered off to. The young lady who works behind the counter, called their sister store but they wouldn’t admit to harboring the errant leg. Finally, she gave up, but not before fishing around under the desk to bring out the phone book. She copied something down on a scrap of paper. “Go here, they will have what you want.” It was the address of Madería Villalobos, the corner of Calles 82 and 51. Calling my friend, we made plans to meet there.
Coming in from the bright sunlight I sneezed, inhaling the perfume of pine shavings, my eyes slowly adjusting to the dim light. Warren-like rooms smelling like sawdust filled with what looked like wine racks but instead of bottles they each held styles of molding, ranging from plain smooth lengths to elaborate detailing worthy of a palace, passageways lined with shelves stocked with fanciful brackets and boxes,little bins full of cut out animal shapes, wooden appliqués adorning every inch of space on the wall above the service area, and display boards scattered about willy-nilly studded with knobs, finals and other hardware doesn’t even begin to describe the riches of Madería Villalobos.
My carpenter friend,A.M. and I wandered around, eventually stumbling upon a rickety staircase leading to a haphazardly constructed multilevel loft, an OSHA nightmare for sure. We probably didn’t belong up there. At one point I stepped back in order to see something more clearly, only to realize that my left foot was not finding anything solid to settle on. We found a bin full of turned wooden legs. Selecting a leg, we made our way back down the narrow ladder, neither of us feeling secure enough to try balancing our find, we leapfrogged it down. I climbed down to the first landing, my head was level with the thin plywood floor, reaching up to take possession of our prize. A.M. joined me on the landing and so we continued until we reached the ground.
Presenting the leg to the girl attending the counter, I asked the price. She lead us around a corner into a doorway we had somehow missed. I had to have her repeat the price because I thought she said that the legs were only $80 mxn each. Four legs came to $320 mxn, A.M. declared it an incredible bargain. We carefully selected four legs, making sure they were smooth and approximately the same. My bundle tied up with string I headed home, fully planning to catch either a taxi or a bus, which ever came first.
As I walked to Calle 74, I was distracted by a tricycle full of lovely plants. Sitting on the seat was my usual plant vender, a young cheerful teenaged boy. Recognizing me, he greeted me, holding up a gorgeous lily. I laughed, explained that I had my hands already full to capacity.
“ So when will you be coming to my house again?” I queried.
“I can come right now” was his immediate answer.
“It’s very far, maybe twenty blocks. I was thinking of catching a bus myself.” I felt that I had to explain my lack of stamina further, “I can walk that far easily, but not carrying all these legs.” He kept pace with me as I headed east, really looking at me and my burden.
“No, problem, I will just put them here on the handle bar.”
So we walked together, I learned that his name is Juan. He is from Veracruz,I asked him if he knew Doña Linda, who owns Madre Selva, because she is also from Veracruz. Turns out that he works for Doña Linda’s daughter but his plants come from Puebla. It was a pleasant walk home, he stopped occasionally to sell a plant or two, catching up with me as I went my steady pace. When we reached my house, I bought the lily and some other plant, he was surprised when I tipped him ten pesos, for a coke.
Tomorrow, the rest of the tale.