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One of the unfortunate byproducts of being married to an accountant is that sometimes you have to resort to going underground to shop or shopping with cash, because they’re so fucking tight.

 

At the moment, I spend many of my nights hidden under the covers with my torch light as I research the perfect set of dining chairs, frantically searching through all the cheapest online stores for a bargain set. $_20

 

These white French Provincial Industrial Cross Back chairs are the style I’ve decided upon, because I’m certain that while he was drunk the other night, the old man fully agreed to replace our current dining chairs, (but not the table yet), and this style will work with the range of eclectic furniture and existing dining table we currently have in our apartment – that is until the next full moon, bottle of vintage whisky or sexual favour, when he allows me to replace the table, too.

 

The topic of the embarrassing ‘sadness’ of our existing dining table and chairs has come up for discussion several times over the past five or so years. I bought our current dining set proudly from Ikea when Kurt was about two years old – so, sixteen years ago – out of the first earnings of (ironically) a painted furniture business I’d set up. We were about to enter the dinner party phase of growing up, and I remember how excited I was as I screwed in the last F167585 with my Ikea Allen key. We’ve hosted many dinner parties on that table, Christmases and most recently Easter lunch, and it may actually bring a tear to my eye when I offload it to some deserving student.

 

Or not.

 

Because the poor quality of our Ikea dining set has not gone unnoticed by our friends, in fact it has become something of a laughing point among the old man’s work mates and my family who know his reputation for stinginess – an accusation he has always responded to with pride.

 

In truth, I never expected the bloody dining set to last this long. It has survived through at least seven house moves and travelled halfway across the world and I can’t help but feel secretly a little disappointed by its durability. However, because there’s nothing structurally wrong with it, in the old man’s eyes, he feels it doesn’t need to be replaced. Unlike me, I imagine. And now is not the best time anyway, when money is tighter than usual as he tries to make some new highly risky work project successful so that he can continue to work from home.

 

It’s not that the set has even gone out of style, particularly, but the table top is showing signs of ageing like the rest of us, with its knife wounds, glitter, play dough and glue globules stuck in the grain from when the kids did craft on it – in fact there is probably a full history of the past sixteen years embedded in its timber veneer and I’m sure that whichever student house on Gumtree is lucky enough to end up with it, will love it as much as we have, even though I admit to praying it would fall apart during our last three house moves…

 

Replacing home decor has always been one of the more intrusive bugbears in our relationship, as the old man sees furniture as something functional rather than a necessary aesthetic commodity that can bring pleasure just by its beauty. It may be shallow of me, but having worked in the interior design business for many years, I now feel ashamed of my Ikea dining set and I don’t think that sixteen years is too premature to insist on a refresh.

 

Our table and chairs has almost reached the age of our children and as we come to the end of our rearing era, is it superficial or wrong of me to want to retire it for something stylish rather than functional for our home?

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