Monday, March 14, 2011

The Chemicals May Just Kill You - A Love Story (Part 7)

A Tale of Two Dressers

Yes readers, it has been a while. But not for lack of material. Only a lack of time. So much has happened with the wife's sniffer these last four months that I can only share with you the best and most recent episode now.

For the last five years, the wife has been pleading with me to buy her a dresser, as her clothes are strewn across our bedroom floor, occasionally making it to a laundry receptacle. This may come as a surprise to anyone who has been reading, but the wife is, how shall I say...a fucking slob.

Crazy, right? One would assume that with all her sensitivities to noxious odors, she would in turn also be a neat freak. Not the case.

Our house looks like an episode of Hoarders, but instead of garbage bags full of soup cans or feral cats cluttering the house, our place is wall-to-wall hairballs and dust bunnies. It's all organic, locally-grown dust, though, so it's fine.

Anyway, the wife wanted a dresser. And I was all too happy to provide. I took pictures of dressers I found in antique stores. I offered to order one from Crate & Barrel. But nothing was good enough. Either the drawers didn't open smoothly. Or The style wasn't right for our room. You know, that early-mission-I-just-don't-give-a-shit-style.

And of course, there was the smell issue. Anything new would be treated with chemicals and anything used would have someone else's smell on it.

Now, I am sympathetic to my wife's affliction, but every once in a while, I demand that logic come into play. She may not like other people's smells, and I'm with her there. But other people's smells should not cause the same reaction that say, a wood stain, might. Body odor is not chemically engineered.

My attitude was, buy someone else's dresser, give it a nice healthy scrub (with non-toxic cleansers) and deal with it until it takes on a smell of our own.

The wife went and bought an IKEA dresser. Obviously.

o be expected, the nondescript box with drawers smelled distinctly like new IKEA furniture - a mix of freshly pressed particle board and Swedish meatballs. And while the wife wouldn't dare bring the toxins into our home, she had no problem leaving it in the back of our car for the next couple days. Somehow, she's unaffected by glues and dyes when she's in motion.

So I brought the box directly into our garage and unpacked all 497 pieces. Never mind the fact that this would take up a ridiculous amount of space in our already cluttered garage. That thing had some
off-gassing to do. At least two months worth.

In the meantime, with clothes piling up in every corner of our bedroom, the wife surprised me one day as I returned home from work. She's purchased a lovely, mid-century modern dresser that she found on craigslist and had it delivered to our home - already assembled. I loved it.

All I had to do was repackage the IKEA dresser, drive it back to the burbs and reclaim my $100. And with the help of our neighbor, I carried the pre-owned dresser upstairs and found a nice spot between her just laundered jeans and slightly soiled jog bras that littered the floor. Perfect.

Perfect until we opened up a drawer. Yes, it smelled. Kind of perfume-y. Kind of moth-ball-y. But according to the wife, all deal-breaker-y.

She gave each drawer a once-over with our highly ineffective non-toxic cleaners but it still smelled. And yet, as if the smells inside the drawers were hermetically sealed in this wobbly mid-century modern design, the wife closed the drawers up and went on about her business, leaving the dresser where it sat, mere inches from where we sleep at night.

That was two months ago. The
used, mid-century modern dresser still sits empty in our bedroom. The new, unassembled, IKEA, off-gassing dresser still sits in pieces in our garage. And the woman's clothes still take up every square inch of usable floor space in our bedroom. She refuses to put her clothes in the used dresser. And we can't assemble the new dresser until we sell the vintage one.

So, anyone in the market?