Little Spouse On The Prairie: Squeaky Wheel

Feb 9, 2019

The desk chair in our study is vintage.  It’s one of those old oak banker’s chairs with the vertical slats on the back, a scooped seat, and four casters.  It’s a beautiful piece to look at, made even more attractive by the fact that I paid ten dollars for it an auction.

In the last year or so, what the chair offered in visual appeal, was being overshadowed by how incredibly noisy the chair was.  It popped when I sat down, it squeaked when I leaned back, it groaned when I shifted from side to side, and it let out a very embarrassing noise when I rolled forward on the casters. 

I had been taking some important business calls in our study, and if I was sure to be seated prior to answering, did not shift even slightly during the call, and never once tried to roll on the casters,  I could avoid the distressing noises.  But some of the calls lasted about 15 minutes, and more than once, I was sure that the person on the other end of the line wondered whether I was sitting on a chair or a toilet. 

A couple of months ago, I mentioned to Joel that we (and by “we” I meant Joel) really needed to do something about the humiliating chair.  At the time, he said, “Huh.  Never noticed.  Now that I know, I’ll be sure to sit in it if I need to relieve myself without anyone noticing.  Thanks for the tip.” 

I assumed (wrongly), that he had been joking, and that he would help me oil or repair the chair soon.  In another few weeks, I experienced another distressing chair/noise/phone incident, so I gently reminded Joel that perhaps the time had come to address the chair issues. He replied, “What chair issues?”

When I explained, again, how the chair was impacting my daily life, Joel just laughed and said he assumed it was a problem associated with all the cauliflower I’ve been eating on my new low-carb diet. 

So last week, I did the thing that is guaranteed to get results from husbands around the globe.  I started fixing it myself.  Now, I am not helpless.  My talents simply lie elsewhere.  Fixing squeaky chairs doesn’t fall in my skill set.  Nevertheless, I fetched some spray lubricant and flipped the chair over.  Unfortunately, on those old chairs, there really isn’t a lot of metal.  Even the thick post from the seat to the wheeled base was a big piece of wood.  Also, a wooden box with nuts and bolts all over it was holding the seat to the post.  I went to the toolbox and started rifling through, trying to find a wrench that might remove some of the nuts.  Though I tried to be extra quiet when rummaging, Joel’s hearing suddenly becomes acute whenever anyone is messing with his stuff. 

When he asked what I was doing, I replied, “Trying to find a wrench to remove the bolts on the squeaky chair in the study.” 

“What squeaky chair?” he asked.  By that time, I had found the correct wrench and was returning to the overturned chair.  Joel suddenly looked annoyed.

“Gimme that,” he said.  He started huffily removing the bolts.  “There’s nothing wrong with this chair!  Although there might be by the time we’re done with it.  These old chairs are supposed to be squeaky.  I thought you liked furniture with character.”  He took the seat part of the chair and stormed out of the house. 

I knew I wouldn’t see him for a while, because I never do when he goes to the garage. I was trying to get some work finished, which was hard without a chair at my desk.  That’s when I got the idea that the chair at Joel’s desk in his office nook might actually look better than the squeaky one anyway.  I retrieved the chair and was blown away with how perfect it looked in the study.  I’m not sure why I hadn’t thought of it before.  I sat down.  This chair was actually more comfortable, and it didn’t squeak.  When Joel returned a couple hours later, still looking annoyed, I said, “Good news, Honey! You get the chair with character.”