13 February 2015

Cheap Christmas Leather Luxury

by Dixon Hill

Note:  I wrote this a few weeks ago, but then saw that Melodie had already loaded a much better (and far funnier) writerly chair story into our blog list.  At that time, I shelved this one.  Recently, however, I decided it never hurts to let folks know about the physical items directly supporting a writer's endeavors.  After all, someone may be interested.  So, here below is the article about my own chair.

My wife bought me a chair for Christmas.

I found out about it two days before Christmas, and three days AFTER she told me that she and I weren't getting each other presents this year.

She said the same thing last year, too -- which wound up with me out scouring a local 24-hour Walgreen's at around 10 am Christmas day.  So, I'd already gotten her a present for this Christmas, completely ignoring what she'd said.

Consequently, learning about the chair didn't phase me.

Dragging it from the store, bungee-cording it to the roof of our car and carrying it up the stairs, however, did.

Thank God for the assistance of our oldest son, Joe.  Without his help, I'd still be plodding up those steps.  Because that chair is heavy.  I mean, seriously: it probably weighs in with around the same mass as a nice leather-bound set of Hugh Hefner's Complete and Unabridged List of Personal Happy Memories . . . er, uh, I mean . . . his Personal Sins.

Anyway . . .  My wife got me the chair, as she explained, because I needed a better chair for writing.

I certainly wasn't gonna argue about that.  I write (as many of you know) out on our apartment balcony.  I've got a little rolling desk out there, comprising a short but hefty wooden cabinet that our son, Joe, built in shop class, which sits atop a 2x4 & caster device designed to move heavy furniture.

The way Joe built the cabinet, I've got a strong wide shelf about ten inches below the nice, flat top -- upon which perches my laptop when I'm working.  I keep cigars, tobacco, pipes, pipe cleaners, lighters, pens and other odds and ends down on that shelf.  The mouse sits on the arm of my chair, and the keyboard sits on my lap.  The caster wheels let me roll the "desk" up close when writing, and push it back when I stand up.

Until my wife bought me that chair for Christmas, though, I was sitting in a green, plastic, Adirondack-style lawn chair that didn't give me a lot of lumbar support.  Okay: It hardly actually gave me ANY support, being plastic and quite flexible.  Additionally, it was pretty low-slung, so I actually sat a bit too low to see my laptop screen very well.

Perhaps, therefor, you can understand why I wanted something a bit more comfortable.

Problem was: it also needed to be cheap and not too nice, because it would be sitting outside. Winters here in the Valley, might not be too rough on outdoor furniture, but summers are BRUTAL to them.

Madeleine's solution was brilliant.  She found a nice big red fake-leather cushy armchair at Goodwill. The chair was in great condition and had been priced at $25.00, but she got it on sale for 50% off.

So, I now sit in a $12.50 armchair to do my writing.

In fact, I'm sitting in it now. It's 11:11 pm (an auspicious hour, surely! LOL), and chilly enough that I've got a blanket over the chair to protect my backside (I'm wearing shorts) from the cool fake leather.  I'm wearing one zippered jacket in the normal manner, with a second open and spread over my legs.  And I'm quite comfortable.

As to my feet:  They're nice and warm too.  In a pair of house shoes my son, Quentin, gave me for Christmas.

See you in two weeks,


  1. Dixon, Madeleine is brilliant. So's your article.

    Arizona has a major advantage over Florida. Here, the heat and humidity cause everything to mildew. I'd never seen mold on plastic until I came here. Come to think of it, one of my neighbors looks a little moldy.

  2. Dixon, your chair story doesn't overlap Melodie's at all. In fact, I may one day describe where I write in my house. I have written on the back deck, but not often. Kudos to Madeline for ignoring the no-gift agreement and kudos to you for realizing those agreements should generally be ignored. What did you get her for Christmas?

  3. We can add to the old adage that the army travels on its stomach the new, the writer travels on his comfortable chair.
    Glad you've gotten rid of the plastic lawn chair!

  4. Your writing desk/table sounds like something I've been trying to figure out how to cobble together. How would you feel about posting a couple of pictures of it to give those of us without handy-crafty sons some practical inspiration? :-)

  5. Yes, pictures! Pictures! Because I'll bet that most of us are working on the oddest collection of office "furniture" that can be imagined...

  6. I'm sorry I never got the chance to post any replies until now. I had something pressing that had to be dealt with, but I've finally gotten a handle on it.

    Leigh, I think I've met a few moldy old coots in my day. LOL

    Thanks, Fran. I agree with you; I think Mad's quite brilliant. I got her a pair of sock-like footwarmers (because she'd been complaining of icy feet, but tends to eschew shoes when at home) and a silk scarf for Christmas.

    Janice, I love your new adage! And, good riddance to that lawn chair. lol

    Eve, I think you're right. I'd enjoy learning more about the rooms and furnishings used by my fellow SleuthSayers, as well as other writers. I think I'll post pics of my writing environment in an upcoming post. And, Anon, you may well see enough detail in that post to assist you in your endeavors.

    Thanks for reading, all! And, again, I apologize for my abrupt disappearance.



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