FROM THE VALLEY: As I was saying before the break

Tom Valley

Last week I started the story about making and selling Adirondack chairs. I mentioned that I had several orders from people, and realized too late that I’d bitten off more than I could chew.

I ended last week’s article by mentioning that I spent a laborious session, in the heat, in front of Home Depot picking out just the right lumber. (Yeah, right, “boo-hoo” for me, huh, Mr. Nit-Picker?)

I then pushed the heavy cart into the building and asked the cashier if it was okay if I left it there – out of the way – until I finished shopping. “No problem.”

When I came back with the hardware I needed, I pointed to the pile of cedar I had set aside – which I noticed had been moved — and said, “Don’t forget to ring that up.”

Looking at me like a teenager who had just been asked to clean her room, she pointed to the cashier across from her and said, “She already rang it up.”

“That’s fine,” I said, “but I want to pay for everything with one check. Should I have her cash this stuff out, too?”

“Well,” she said squirming slightly, “Some other guy came in, pushed the cart over to her and said he’d take all of it. So I saw her scan the wood and ... I guess, he paid for it. He’s still in the store somewhere. I thought he was with you.”

My mental capacity, suffering from a personal inability to function in the heat, started to spit and sputter. The overload was too much to bear. My brain crashed, resetting to a rudimentary default position which – for whatever reason – had me unconsciously blurt out “Does Home Depot provide good health care insurance for the both of you?”

Let’s move on. As I mentioned last week, my friend, Svein, suggested I advertise and introduce the few chairs I had for sale (in the front-yard), to this generation’s social disease … aka: social-media. I’m as familiar with that as I am with rocket science. And so I asked him if he could do it for me. Graciously, he did just that.

Apparently, as evidenced by my earlier comment about “biting off more than I could chew” it’s quite the effective tool. I was immediately getting texts. (Last week I incorrectly said it was posted on “Ass-Book.” I have since been corrected. It’s not Ass-Book. And, honestly, I don’t know what it is. And the reason for my ignorance is because I don’t want to know. I am quite content living my life, maxed out, about 3 clicks above the Amish limit for modern conveniences.)

Of note: It takes about a day to complete one chair. Besides the cutting and assembly there is a ton of sanding. That’s because I buy rough lumber to keep the costs down. As I was soon to find out, that’s fine – the laborious sanding part – but only if you’re making a few at your own leisurely pace. More than three with a scheduled time-line? Fuggeddaboutit!

I received a phone call from a super gentleman in the Caledonia area. He’s a pastor there. Pastor Curtis wanted to know if I could make 10 chairs for him. I said I’d be thrilled, not realizing the mountain I had to climb — a mountain called ‘commitment’ — I told him I’d do it and send him progress reports. He agreed and that’s when I set off to Lockport to get the lumber.

When I got home, it was late in the day. Since I already had three chairs made, I had to make 7 more to complete his order. I got to work.

After a couple hours into the project, I got another text regarding the chairs. Some guy said that his wife wanted 4 of them – but he had to have them by the next morning. I thought ‘why not?’! I could hurry to make one by day’s end, add it the other 3 (already made) and bingo-bang-bongo make a quick buck. I could start the order of 10 the next day.

Not so fast, my friend. Things never go as smoothly as you hope. And you guessed it, you’ll have to come back next week and see what I’m talking about … again.

Join me right here for the conclusion of this tale in a column called “Holy carp, is he done yet?” or “‘The Never Ending Story’ has nothing on me.”

And that’s the way it looks from the Valley.

Contact Tom Valley at