As I struggled once again with a drawer that refused to do what a drawer was supposed to—open and provide us with access to what we had stored in it—I hoped, i.e. grumbled and swore …
As I struggled once again with a drawer that refused to do what a drawer was supposed to—open and provide us with access to what we had stored in it—I hoped, i.e. grumbled and swore furiously, that some day I would no longer have to fight with my furniture and fixtures.
That particular recalcitrant object was in a dresser we scavenged off the street. It was far sturdier and better built than the one we had actually gone to a store and spent money on a few years before: a charming white dresser with adorable red drawer pulls, for the new baby. I had put irresistibly adorable tiny baby things in those drawers, dreamily looking forward to parenthood.
Alas, like all things that seduced me with their looks, its usefulness waned along with its appeal. Its flimsy pressboard drawer bottoms slipped out of their grooves with only the slightest provocation. Instead of holding the items securely, the drawers dropped tiny bright-blue baby shirts and onesies into the dresser’s nether regions. It forced a flustered new mom to fumble blindly in its depths, trying to find one clean outfit for the naked little critter, aka (until the next two babies and now the grandchild) the most wonderful baby ever born. That dresser did not accompany us to New York, but the sidewalk cornucopia there did not fail us. We found a large, heavy, solid and unbroken dresser on the curb, and managed to drag it to our apartment—though I have, mercifully, forgotten how. Our new sidewalk dresser’s surface was not in great shape. I painted it a glossy black and for several years it accompanied us in moves from Sunset Park to Sheepshead Bay and to Brighton Beach. It did duty first for my husband and me for several years, and then for my sons, as both they and their clothing expanded and took up more space.
But a day came when the middle drawer would not open. Wiggling it didn’t help. Banging on it didn’t jar it open. Insulting its ancestry didn’t faze it in the least.
Tried to pull out the drawer above to get to the contents, but, surprise! that didn’t open either. To get to my sons’ clothes, we had to use the claw end of the hammer head to pry off the front.
We discovered one of the inside support pieces had become detached and fallen into the drawer beneath, the now partially unsupported drawer above following it into the lower drawer, the whole wedged so snugly that none could be opened. The wood on the supports broke and was not mendable.
And after the paint, the moves, and the years, it didn’t even have the courtesy of being good-looking to make up for its failure. Back to the curb it went, this time for the garbage, not the needy.
In our new home, the kitchen has very nice, solid cabinets and drawers. Their maker’s mark is proudly inside: Scheirich, a company which went out of business the year I should have graduated from college had I not taken the scenic route.
But for cabinetry reasons I do not claim to understand, the slides the drawers rest and pull in and out on were only six inches long, though the drawers are a full 18 inches. The inner two-thirds of each drawer was supported only by its first third. As sturdy as the cabinets are, as with many things over 50, they have lost some of their bounce—uh, structural integrity. They can be forgiven for being a bit droopy. They obviously need more support.
Every time we used them, they seemed about to collapse, and they did occasionally spew utensils into the pots, pans, baking dishes and lids in the cupboards underneath.
We put up with the necessary wiggling and yanking for a while, but after a few, more urgent new old-house fixing-ups were taken care of, we hired a very nice guy to replace the truncated slides with newfangled, softly closing ones that stretched the drawers’ full length.
After the installation, the gentleman explained the drawers had lost much of their former firmness, and while he had replaced the slides, the years of strain and gravity had weakened them, and the new slides could not compensate.
Even with the new slides, the drawers, rather than gliding gracefully and slipping into the cabinet box gently, still must be tugged and yanked to open—though if we push them in just right amount, they will softly close for the last couple of millimeters.
I told myself it was nice to get a bit of exercise every time we need a spoon.
After no little expense having all six kitchen and one roll top desk drawer re-slided, while I was writing this, my husband tried to open a drawer. Its front panel fell right off.
The battle continues. I know now I shall never win.
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