It started with Auggie’s Ice Pops.
We picked a couple up from our awesome local cupcakeitorium Life is Sweet and headed back to our place to do some good old fashioned summer stoop sitting with dripping popsicles. It was epic. The sun was beating down and melting the popsicles to a perfect drip down the stick and onto our fingers. The day was hot and there was a lovely breeze rustling leaves of the big maple tree out front of our old apartment.
We live in a hundred year old walk up with about eighteen apartments in it, right next to a twin building with another eighteen apartments. The place is full of ‘character’ but it leaks like a sieve so it’s stifling in the summer and freezing in the winter. The amount of character in it is a fair trade off though and we stay because it’s pretty sweet digs, the rent is cheap and it’s a block away from the beach.
Back to the stoop. We’re eating our ice pops (crammed with fresh Ontario fruits with some crazy delicious flavours like Ontario blueberry lime mint and strawberry basil lemonade) and they’re melting all over the place. We’re on the concrete front steps of our building and I say, “This is some pretty good popsicle eating/stoop sitting” and Ben says, “Yeah but wouldn’t it better if we had some nice Muskoka chairs?”
Ben’s the kind of guy who always wants to get just the right bit of equipment for the moment. That’s one of the many things I love about him.
It just so happened that we’d passed some of those Muskoka chairs on the way home with our ice pops at the local hardwareitorium Home Hardware.
So we finished our ice pops, smacked our blueberry stained lips and took off to grab the chairs.
I wanted to get purple, but after a lengthy discussion we decided on a nice, tasteful red. Ben said it was more Canadian and ultimately (although I love purple) I agreed.
We lugged them over our heads to get them home, much to the delight of our neighbours (the Beaches is like a small town, very sociable and everyone has a comment when you are doing something slightly odd).
Then we plopped the chairs down on our tiny slice of front lawn and wrote our address on them with a Sharpie (to dissuade someone from stealing them because they would have to look our address every time they went to sit in them and feel the burning guilt of the theft).
In our desire to eat future ice pops on Muskoka chairs though, we couldn’t have known that our simple purchase would cause a building revolution.
Word spread fast that we were the bringers of the chairs and people started congratulating us when they saw us around the building. “Amazing chairs” they would say. “They raise the property value of the building!”. But what’s more, those chairs quickly became occupied. And the next building over got some chairs of their own and soon the whole front of our building changed into the place to be.
There was food and wine being exchanged, people hanging out with beers and guitars. The building cat became an active presence by the chairs and neighbourhood dogs on their way to the beach were treated to dog cookies by the guy across the hall from us.
People thanked us and offered to somehow (in some obscure way) return the favour of the chairs. The chairs (and us by proxy) gained a bit of a celebrity status. Someone brought out a chain to chain them together to make them harder to steal because “Those are our chairs”, the building loves them and has claimed ownership.
Somehow these two red plastic chairs changed summer for us in the building. People hang out with each other more, because they have a nice place to sit. It’s amazing what fifty bucks and a whim can accomplish.
Personally, the chairs have improved our summer too. There was something about the communal outdoor activity of it that made me crave more summertime fun. We went swimming in the lake for the first time the other day, bought ping pong balls and paddles to play at the table they installed at the park down the street and I jogged for the first time in my life three days ago and kind of loved it.
The chairs were a gateway drug to summer.
And now I’m hooked.