January 2, 2014

Bar none

Stacy packed up the glasses and moved the booze out of the bar in her living room in order to make way for ... toys. Hard to miss the symbolism in that transition, huh?

As I type this, my fingers are black from the newspaper pages I’ve been using to wrap up glasses from behind the bar (as in furniture, not as in a business) in my house. The glasses — beer glasses, wine classes, brandy snifters (never used), margarita glasses — are going into storage, because the bar is taking a bit of a break from life as a bar.

Its new purpose? Storage for Nora’s toys. 

Yes, really. How’s that for a symbol of parenthood? Of getting older and more responsible? Sigh.

Speaking of older, that bar is older than I am. My dad bought it in some distant country during his travels as a C-130 navigator for the U.S. Air Force. It was lashed inside the plane’s cargo belly along with god knows what else until the next time he got home. My mom shellacked wine labels to the top of the bar, and that bar was prominent in our family living room for as long as I can remember. When I graduated from college and rented my first more-than-one-bedroom living space, my parents put the bar in a pickup truck and hauled it across state lines for me. Since then, it has made four moves and waited patiently in storage for three years while we lived overseas. It has always been well stocked, both with glassware my parents stocked it with and booze that I provided.

Friends who visit the house admire it (even though, truth be told, it’s a dark hulk of a piece of furniture, not really in step with the times or our personal style), and a furniture deliveryman even eyed it and offered me money on the spot for it (I declined).

But lately, Nora’s toys have been overrunning the living room, and I started looking at that collection of specialized glasses (most of them dusty) as taking up valuable real estate. So we shoved the bar to a different part of the living room, turned it shelf-side out, and — voila! — glorious shelf space that helped to reclaim some floor space and room to breathe.

But I won’t lie. It was sad putting those glasses in boxes that are destined for the attic. (The booze is stored somewhere else accessible, don’t you worry.) It was emblematic of parties we won’t have, drinks we won’t pour (at least not in the appropriate glasses), fancy bar tools (I don’t even know what some of them do) we won’t use. 

Until someday later, of course. When suddenly it’s the toys that are gathering dust and taking up valuable real estate in the living room when Nora is older and more interested in other things.


And then I’ll really need a drink.

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