Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Mist Across the Window Hides the Lines, But Nothing Hides the Color of the Lights That Shines

Today Griffin randomly invited a classmate over for a playdate and I let it happen.

Now, this may sound a wee bit bad, but I shouldn't have let that happen.

You see, Griffin has these grandiose ideas of huge playdates and parties. And when he invites kids over without asking permission first and then me allowing it to happen is usually a disaster. Especially when it's someone I barely know and I haven't had a chance to put a fresh coat of white paint on the ceilings.

But I digress: the playdate went well. And I'm convinced my freak-out and subsequent high blood pressure can count towards exercise for the day.

{I heart autumn}


I spent most of my morning bitching out my eating table.


We have a love/hate relationship.

Our affair has been going on for nearly two years. My in-laws purchased our table and chairs two years this November ago after squeezing eight people around our itty bitty old table (which now makes a fabulous sewing table, thank you very much).

In any case, I love the table (and chairs) because they are cheap. And I mean CHEAP. They are Martha Stewart's Everyday Dining Table and Chairs (and OH HONEY, I got mine 30% off the price and the original prices were way below what they are now). I love the cottage-y/farmhouse feel of them. The chairs had a bad paint job and just figured, hey it looks worn already, awesome (after all, I am the girl who is tickled pink due to our floorboards peeling and exposing the old green paint underneath).

About a year ago I realized the table was oddly sticky. Like, grossly sticky. So I scratched it over and over with my fingernail. And? Blech.

Fast forward another year and honestly? I'M ABOUT TO TAKE THE TABLE OUTSIDE AND BURN THE DAMN THING.

Now, let me say: I'm a very laid back person. Okay, actually? I'm not.

But I am learning to not worry and obsess so much.

However, I just cannot seem to Let This Go, Oh My Hell.

Now, I really enjoy having a laid-back table. I think it's great. Growing up, my family had a very heavy, oak table that would get gray rings when a glass was placed on it and my dad would go apeshit. I wasn't allowed to paint or color at the table. Hell, I wasn't even allowed to do homework at the table. I never wanted a table that would make me go apeshit on my kids. Which is why it's a great table bu-u-u-u-u-u-u-ut...

I cannot get this fucker clean. Like, clean-clean. You know, PROPERLY CLEAN.

(I would like to say I increased the lights and darks to make it more noticeable; it doesn't look that bad in real life, but it looks a thousand times worse in my mind.)

I think what's happened, is over the course of that first year we'd spray the table with an soapy spray, wipe and go. I'm pretty sure it's a buildup of soap, dirt and skin cells and has make the table darker, slighty sticky and obviously gross.

Having the table look like this isn't good for my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Unless you're my kids. Then you're getting away with all sorts of shit while Mommy screams at the table.

I've tried the magic erasers (they work a little bit, but take a lot of elbow grease. also? they burn the shit out of my hands), goo gone (didn't do anything but make my house smell like oranges) (mmmmmm, oranges) and a wide variety of cleaners (which, guess what -- didn't do shit to help).

The only thing I've found that remotely helps is Windex Wipes. Not spray Windex and a paper towel, oh no. They have to be the Wipes.

If I rub-rub-rub-rub and curse and use five wipes and throw out my back, I can get a slight sparkley-white strip in the midst of dingy part of the table.

So my question to you, my dear internet friends, is what the fuck should I do?

I realize that once I get the table adequately uniform white, I'm gonna polyurethane the shit out of the table.

But how do I get it clean? Continue with the Windex Wipes? Lightly sand it and put a top coat of paint to match (in the hopes that it Actually Will Match)? Is there some other magical alternative I haven't thought of?


lera said...

Hmmm. Sorry. You're on your own with your table. I think you've tried everything.

LJ said...

sand and paint. the kind of paint that people use on walls that are kid proof. then put polyurethane on top then put plexiglass on top of that...now let the kids do homework and arts and crafts and you and Aaron could uh hubba hubba wink wink...BUT not at the same time as the children are doing crafts mind you!
Love the spider picture!

Chickenbells said...

Sand and paint baby! OR decopauge...ohhh...then you can polyurethane it within an inch of it's life...OR vintage tablecloths...wait...too valuable. Those plastic ones! Wait...too gross...Oh...oil cloth...Make a new table out of Legos!

Fuck it...just eat in front of the TV like everyone else.

Marshamlow said...

I would try vinegar first, with a scrubbing brush, the grout scrubbing type with the coarse bristles. If that didn't work I would try nail polish remover with the brush. Then a flame thrower. LOL. Good luck.

PamKittyMorning said...

Vinyl table cloth. Seems obvious. GIVE IN TO IT LAURA. There are tons of cute ones, you can wash them till they're near death and buy more.

Or maybe that goof off crap will take the crud off the table. I used one of those super scrubbing erasers for the build up on my wood tables that the computers are on. (we're nerds, we have several computers) which really cleaned the gunk off, but also the finish. But still way worth it.

Anonymous said...

I dunno... a solution of hot water and ammonia? But you will most likely be allergic to that. I would probably sand and paint and polyurethane that bad boy.

Anonymous said...

Have you tried Spray Way Glass Cleaner? It's awesome. It comes in a blue and white can and it is foamy like shaving cream. I think I would just let the kids finger paint on it with lots of handprints and put a sheet of glass over it! Good luck! I have 4 kids and have had many dilemmas!

Lala said...

We have a coffee table that I admired at my SIL house... she gave it to me and IT HAS THAT WEIRD STICKINESS TO IT... but it never did at HER house... Hmmmm... EVERYTHING sticks to it... and it is just STICKY (which to MY OC mind translates as DIRTY right?)... I've tried everything... I'm with the lightly sanding and wither painting or staining and then polying the top (like 50 coats).... let us know what you decide!!!

Glad the playdate went well!!! :o)

Lala :o)

Anonymous said...

Alcohol-based hand sanitizer will often work as a solvent when other things won't. I've used it to cut through a bathtub ring like a knife through butter. It's the same idea as using hairspray to get out ballpoint pen marks from fabric.

A small bottle is quite cheap,a nd you might be surprised. I'd use it with an old, rough washcloth (the flat, nubby kind -- not thick terrycloth), becuse that will help absorb the, er, detritus.

The only potential downside I can think of is that if the underlying paint has started to chemically decompose, it may well not help take care of the stickiness. You'd have to strip it for that.

Anonymous said...

I am thinking the stickiness is actually the paint finish getting soft. I'd sand it, PRIME it, and paint it with oil-based paint which is very stinky, and I'm sure allergy inducing for you guys, but you wouldn't have to worry much about the glass rings. If you think it wouldn't match, paint it a different color... you know "I meant to do that" different and distress it a little.

Or if that's too much work, a bonfire is always cool in the fall...

Stacy said...

Have you tried straight vinegar?? And, this is gonna sound really odd - but I've found that Oxy pads will remove paint and extreme grime. (yep, I'm talking about those things you use on your face! I keep them around for such emergencies...)

If nothing works...sand and paint. And, plexiglass or glass on top to prevent a repeat performance.

I like that table set!

Heidijayhawk said...

i would have to go wit hthe sand and paint. what the hell...you could do something funky!!

Anonymous said...

I agree that it's probably the paint that's becoming sticky. I would sand it and paint it. Chalkboard paint would be cool!

Anonymous said...

I had to comment on a post that is titled with a line from my favorite song!
Table - I'd just cover it with an oilcloth tablecloth and forget about the crap underneath.

Ali said...

Get a nice piece of oilcloth and staple it to the underside of the table. Because kids and loose tablecloths just don't work. And life is too short for the complete sand and refinish option.

jac said...

Sand it. Better yet, get someone else to sand it. It's a good excuse to buy power tools, and who is not up for that?
PS. this made me belt out "YOOOOOU... dress in pink and blue just like a CHIIIILD" which is... well, a pretty typical evening actually.

Mia said...

I love how you just sling that "fucker" word around ::laughing::

For the table.. the one thing I find that cleans stuff nothing else can, is Oxiclean. They make it for carpets, general cleaning, whatever. It bubles up and crap. Give it a shot. You've got nothin to lose :)

Laura said...

I think I'd definately sand and paint it, seems like the easiest option and I like easy!Good luck!

Rachel said...

ok, my vote overall is for painting...a pain, but the only way to get it perfect. I agree with Alicia that it is probably the paint finish getting messy.

BUT...have you ever used Simple Green? It is a natural product, non-toxic, and amazing! I use in in everything from household cleaning to laundry stain remover. And because you buy it in concentrate form you can dilute it according to your need. This stuff will take grease off of a stove in one swipe! (get it at home depot or lowes)

Anonymous said...

sand and paint it!
burning it would be good too.

Anonymous said...

I say sand it and paint it and then polyeurethane it. Screw all this cleaning nonsense!

Anonymous said...

Have you tried that powdered cleaner they sell in the paint department at Home Depot or in paint stores like Porter? I think its called TSP or maybe TPS? Anyhow, it's what painters use to clean things before painting so they get a good finish and it works pretty good. Even if it doesn't get rid of the goo, you'll be ready for paint. There's also a cleaner they sell in the paint department at Home Depot called Krud Kutter that works real well. Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

Send an e-mail to Martha and tell her to come clean it. I mean politely request that she send you one of her fabulous home care tips.

Anonymous said...

Oh,yes! What Lisa said.
We had some sort of orange oil cleaner that not only took the goo off our table, but also took the paint off. So that might help with the sand and paint portion.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

ah yes. I know the buildup which torments you. It is gross. And if you live here it turns brown from all the damn dust. You need an oil based remover - try a comet paste mixed with 2-3 drops of DAWN dishwashing soap.

If that doesn't work, yep, sand it. Or burn it. Your choice.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm... Have you tried Mean Green? It got about 7 yrs of grease off my wooden kitchen cupboards after I bought my house without damaging the wood or the finish, AND with minimal elbow grease. Or what about baking soda? Toothpaste? TSP? Large sledgehammer?

Jessica said...

Two words... Burn it! All of the frustration and time you have spent cleaning it have probably shaved 3 yrs off your life. I am sure Martha herself would agree with me.

FinnyKnits said...

If Magic Eraser can't fix it, it deserves to be burned as a warning to all other tables never to get so filthy that even the mighty Magic Eraser is helpless against their dirtiness.

Oil Cloth Junkie said...

dude, buy yourself some oilcloth, cover table, stabilize on the underside with small nails or flat head tacks and voila! Clean freakin' table!

ps. I might even have some oilcloth you could borrow.

Ginger said...

Over coffee this morning I read this bit of advice in our local paper. Thought it might be helpful for you. I have no idea where you would buy this stuff, but it sounds amazing.

"Franmar Chemical makes a product that will take latex and oil base adhesives up. It's called Bean-E-Doo. It has no odor and is copletely safe, because it's made from soybeans. Nothing works better.

The company also makes a great paint remover called Soy Gel. It's so great, you can strip furniture inside the house."

Angelina said...

While sanding a painting seems to be the easiest thing to do, it might leave you with too much free time. Why not get a paint scraper and scrape it off? Lots more hard work, but it might be kind of satisfying.

No, really, sand and paint.

Kim -today's creative blog said...

sand and paint. The top doesn't HAVE to match, it can be a completly different color all together if you want. But you can get it matched at the paint store....just chip off a piece from underneath.
I like what Lauraj says about the plexi glass. Great idea.

Chara Michele said...

Oh my! Have you got it clean yet? That would drive me crazy too:) Although I can't think what will help, other than chickenbell's suggestion sand & paint...