Chapter III: Life Beyond Mr. Wonderful – Exposing Twitter Trolls and Class-A A-holes

Rob had a lot of online friends. As a man who spent most of his adult career traveling from state to state, even country to country, never landing in one place too long, there were few elements in his life that were constant. But his online activities were. He was online meeting new people back before most of us had personal computers. In short, he was comfortable online. He was well-spoken, smart and polite, so friends were always easy to come by this way.

Rob Russia Revealed towel

Rob shows off his Chris Nethery’s Russia Revealed design on a beach towel in September 2017.

Not too many years ago, Rob decided to look into Twitter as a means to expand his audience. See, what he really wanted to do was to write. He wanted to share his life with the world, from his three dogs to his recipes to his travels to his politics… So he checked out Twitter in an effort to increase his reach. His handle was meaningful to him and a variation of his long-time screen name: akula_51. In looking over the following screenshots of conversations, you will see this handle when he is being addressed or spoken about.

Eventually, he found some folks who had some of the same interests that he did, and he became a part of their “community” so to speak. His was a voice among many, but a voice to be remembered just the same. When people in that “community” speak of him today, they say things like, “Rob was always so accepting of other points of view,” or “Rob made me a better American, because he made me see the issues for what they were.”

Early- or mid-last year, Rob went to work on a website for Chris Nethery, a specialist in Russian Active Measures. Chris Nethery’s Russia Revealed ( website was built by Rob and he was proud of it.

Rob felt like that site and its successes at reaching the masses was just another great lesson and proof-of-concept that spoke to his ability to drive good website traffic (Rob’s specialty). It was all just a formula for Rob, but he saw things so many of us couldn’t. Anyway…

I called Chris a day after Rob died. In speaking with him, I understood immediately why he and Rob got along. Chris is quick to laugh, smart as a tack and passionate about his work.

Veritas AkulaThe buzz on Twitter surrounding Rob’s death was immediate after speaking with Chris. The news was shocking and not everyone was kind. My friends did a great job of deterring me from interacting with anyone there. It was a good thing; I wasn’t thinking clearly enough to even consider engaging these virtual strangers. And at the time, I felt like many comments were attempting to bait me into giving information that I wasn’t ready to share just yet.

What I didn’t understand at the time of Rob’s death (and soon after) was that there were two distinct groups that Rob rubbed shoulders with on Twitter: The Resistance and Team Patriot. According to this website belonging to a member of the team, “#TeamPatriot is comprised of dedicated & hardworking Patriots of every political ideology researching, reporting & exposing the #Truth about all things #TrumpRussia. We are #United in fighting all things #TrumpRussia & the corrupt #TrumpRegime.”

Louise doubling down

When Rob died, members of the Resistance and Team Patriot pointed to the other, assessing blame for trolling him to suicide. Both were guilty as sin.

I’m told and readily believe that Rob was friendly with folks on either side. But Rob also had critics on either side. I can only assume that insecure people didn’t care for the fact that he was outwardly balanced, well-informed and kind. So those people, and the people who “serve” them treated him in some not-so-nice ways.

I’ll start with the Resistance first.

It’s been hard to determine who leads this group on Twitter, as the most vocal of them is a lunatic who has managed to alienate some of her most ardent supporters of late. It seems her methods of opposing Twitter critics or those who would dare disagree with her are less-than-ethical. Some would call them downright evil.

Robin Brenizer had some indirect contact with Rob by allegedly creating a site that mimicked the site he built for Chris. The fake one was, and it was meant to “troll” (her word, see above screenshot) the people supposedly opposing the Resistance, Chris Nethery in particular. It has also been asserted that she and her affiliates also created a fake Twitter account meant to look like Rob’s. I haven’t been able to verify that claim.

Rob bio RRR

11/10/17 capture of published/trolling RussiaRevealedRevealed website bio.

Fake bios of Team Patriot, and those connected with them, like Rob, were created and featured on a page of “contributors” on the spoof website. (See image left, dated Nov 10, 2017.) Taking the time to build the site and then make fun of people affiliated with it was a nasty little thing to do and Rob mentioned it to me at the time it happened.

We both marveled at how petty people must be to take the time to do something so stupid. What small lives they must have. Sad, sad, sad.  So many people have turned their backs on Brenizer and her closest cohorts for their distasteful behavior and proof of their villainy, acts which lack creativity and are seemingly never-ending. This transgression seems to be one of her lesser misdeeds, but that’s a post for another day, if I can even stomach the information I’m bound to uncover. I doubt I’ll be up for that. Ever.

She was kind enough to pepper me with messages one fine day (see screenshot) when I was at work, apparently not getting that not everyone is on Twitter 24 hours a day. None of those messages received a response. Apparently it’s against the law not to call someone back when they demand it. Who knew?

My suggestions for her: get in therapy or get a new therapist and get off social media. Life is too short to be that miserable. It takes a toll and not everyone has the constitution for it.

Unfortunately, people still seem to follow her, but I can’t for the life of me figure out why. Perhaps they’re paid; it’s the only explanation that makes any sense. But what do I know?

As easy as it is to believe that many people claimed Rob as a “friend” after his death, it has not escaped me that many of the same people expressing their condolences and sorrow were pretty awful to him in the past. I’ve been told that much of the proof of online harassing was wiped out when news of Rob’s death spread. As a friend says, “light scatters the roaches.” And the showboating is and has been epic on Twitter; everyone is a star these days, you know? Not. <Yawn.> Below are just few examples of the nasty things people say. My favorite has to be the Jumbo Sandberg guy saying that he and his crew are the only ones speaking the truth about Rob. The cojones on that guy. It’s clearly a sock account (secondary account, fake name), so it’s not even someone who’s using his real name, expecting folks to accept his (anonymous) word because…? Uh, helloo! Wife over here – with Rob’s life story, theories, passwords, last words & wishes, everything – right here, folks. No need to look to others at this point because others have proven they don’t have the ability to tell the truth if it is in conflict with what their objectives are. My objectives are pretty clear: Rob asked me to tell his story, so here I am.

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The same Jumbo Sandberg was also keenly interested in my BFF, who dared ask questions and speak her mind on Twitter. This veiled threat got my attention and received a swift response. What a coward.Tundra Jumbo Amy MJTeam Patriot now claims Rob as one of their own, but not so long ago, their public (and unfortunately, incredibly vocal) face quashed that idea with extreme prejudice. I am posting the conversation as it still appears on Twitter today.

Why would they claim him if he wasn’t really a part of their efforts/team? What would be gained by doing that? Even those truly close to Rob will say that Rob was not a part of the team, but suggest that had he lived, he might have eventually been accepted into the fold.

Louise Mensch RIS AkulaSome suggest that Team Patriot wanted to deflect attention from their leader, Louise Mensch, who clearly had a bone to pick with my husband and whose followers joined her in harassing him. It was well-known her distaste for him, and her followers were quick to jump on the bashing bandwagon time and time again.

Louise calling Rob “Vlad”, a stupid way of suggesting he’s with the Russians. And her super-charming follower piling on.

If you’re like me, your next question is, “Who is Louise Mensch?” Well, in short, a former politician with a penchant for way-out-there conspiracy theories and f-bombs. I guess she was a former member of Parliament? I could look her up but I really don’t care who she is. She has upwards of 250,000 Twitter followers and Tweets roughly 50 times per hour. In short, she has too much time on her hands apparently. And, boy, does she hate the Russians.

Were her followers afraid she could be named in a lawsuit? Is that why they laid the blame for his suicide on anyone but her? They’re not telling. Having become acquainted with several of her underlings, I hope that this theory is false, but there seems to be no other explanation. In short, their work means more than my husband’s life or suffering. What a sad display of humanity from a group so publicly complimentary of their friend, not to mention, a group so vocal about their pursuit of truth. Blinded by allegiance, knowingly choosing the wrong path. Doesn’t sound like a group Rob would have ended up siding with. I’m now confident of that.

Unfortunately for their “leader” (and those associated with her), she was misinformed when he died and made a most ignorant statement regarding Rob’s harassers and death (below).


“After he died (from trolling and not from my opposition; he left a note, per his friends, saying so); mutual friends told me his pro stance was NOC for research. In which case, he wouldn’t mind, and would expect patriot opposition.” – Louise Mensch on Twitter, 19 Nov 2017.

Basically, she’s suggesting that 1) yes, he did kill himself as a result of being harassed online, 2) he had it coming, and 3) her Twitter enemies were to blame for his suicide. Doubling down on bad information is such a sad situation for someone with the kind of following and resume she has. I sure hope this isn’t a blemish on her reputation, but I fear it has the potential to be.

The fact is that Rob DID, in his 3-page suicide note, mention the accusation that he was a Russian spy. And that was the only SPECIFIC claim he mentioned. As of yet, no one can produce any evidence that anyone not associated with/following Ms. Mensch also made that accusation.

Not everyone will understand the devastation that a true patriot like my husband would have felt at being accused of being the one thing he detests the most. No one loved their country more. The mere suggestion in a hugely public forum by someone of her political position is a blow. And depending on one’s state of mind, it can be a fatal one.

The “You’re RIS!” finger-pointing to anyone in disagreement with her is a ridiculous and common course for her to make, I’m told, which we all know diminishes its meaning every time she’s wrong. I can only imagine how often that is.

Louise Thump Thump Deaf2cheka tundra

The meaning of this can only be guessed at. Many suggest it’s a celebration. Others, a threat.

RIS LOUISE VLADY FLAD DENNIS HERRINGOne Twitter screenshot shows Mensch referencing her accusation to Rob that he’s “RIS”  two months after the initial conflict. She summons someone unrelated to the conversation, presumably to jump in on and restart the conversation/pile on further.

Not many would argue that this would be considered harassment. Why double back to a brief conversation months later? Unless you intend to further humiliate them or berate them publicly? But now that I think of it, after you’ve harassed a man who commits suicide, is it (legally) possible to still be “harassing”? In any event, it’s petty and it’s indicative of someone with an obsessive personality, at best. Gosh, what would our world be like if people focused those kinds of energies on sharing love and happiness instead? Where people were lifted up instead of metaphorically smacked around?

Louise cookie RIS

Louise deserves more than a cookie. I would recommend 3 squares per day courtesy of the Commonwealth of New York.

But it gets even uglier. Check out this tweet, where she awards herself a “cookie” for identifying Rob as RIS two days after he died. Celebrating the death of my husband? Could I possibly be reading that right? Or, if we give her the benefit of the doubt, at best she’s harassing him further and doesn’t know he’s dead? The time after his death is all kind of a blur, but I do remember wanting to vomit when I saw this right after he died. Again, kudos to my friends for keeping me away from Twitter until I was strong enough to deal with the information appropriately and intelligently. I still have a physical reaction to this particular declaration.

And guess what? No apology. Nothing. Just smug statements that further highlight rampant insecurities.

Tundra Widow Tapping OutAnd I can’t write this entire article and NOT include this clown’s suggestion that he’s fought some battle on Rob’s behalf and will come to my rescue with proceeds from those efforts. I’ve never spoken to this person. I know nothing of his efforts. This, too, was enough to make me cringe. The nerve. The bloody nerve. And please note the 75 comments of of gratitude (some fighting tears), the 540 people who “loved” this, and the other 109 unsuspecting saps who actually re-shared this information. Best case scenario: 724 people bought this shit. And people wonder why our world is so fucked up. <Gag!> (Tweet thread here.)

This “bobs_house” guy (right) even suggests I’m pretending to be Rob’s widow in order to divide the Resistance? Gosh. Don’t people realize that some of us actually have real lives?

I have made attempts to relay the correct information to Ms. Mensch through a bewildered but steadfast team, to no avail. I would like to assume that the information was not relayed and she is still IGNORANTLY going on the bad information she quoted ten days after his death. To consider the alternative – that she knows the truth and that she’s just an evil person who gives not one shit about the words and subsequent untruths she spoke and feels justified because, after all, Rob deserved her wrath due to his opinions – is unfathomable. And uncomfortable. To internalize that my Rob, a good guy with a heart of gold and an enviable moral compass, is gone from our world yet she remains makes our world seem a little sadder, a little scarier. I guess I’m used to the movies, where the good guys win. We lost a good one, folks. There’s no telling what more Rob could have done for our world. God, I miss him. My love…

GFM ss 2018 02 02In the days since his death, I have worked with a lot of incredible friends and supporters who agree that mental healthcare is no laughing matter and needs our help. I continue to speak out on Twitter, where I honor my husband’s memory and legacy by taking a measured approach, and exercise kindness. The leveled-out approach is not always my knee-jerk/natural response so this has been an exercise in grace and patience. There’s a certain strength in maintaining composure when everyone around you behaves like banshees though. I feel like he would be so proud of my restraint.

And I can’t overstate that I hope others, in the wake of Rob’s story, take a more measured, balanced and appreciative approach to discourse. Our world is ugly enough; I’m tired of the nastiness people seem to think they’re entitled to. They’re not. And the ends don’t justify the means. Ever. If you’re breaking rules to make your point, your adversaries aren’t the problem, you are.

MJRobDrunkishRob told me, in his last note, that he knew I’d go on and accomplish many things in my life without him. He said such lovely things that I will take with me the rest of my life. I hate that he’s right about life moving on, but I just can’t let him be wrong.

Its ok to not be ok morning day cafe mental health mondayI believe that the kinder, gentler approach has helped me to bring positive attention from many directions, including members of the Resistance and TeamPatriot, to the fund set up in his name. We are on tap to help at least four individuals get the mental health oversight and therapy that they need through a local facility. AND we continue with a monthly event (Mental Health Monday) that Rob’s favorite local restaurant, Morning Day Cafe, holds for those needing a mental health break/recharge. Collectively, contributors have raised over $7,000 so far, and that wouldn’t have been possible without the Twitter community. So I know that there is good there, but so often it’s overshadowed by the bad: the paranoid, the deviant, the bots, the infighting and the showboating. New Twitter friends who genuinely want the truth exposed at any cost have been incredibly helpful in bringing this information to light and I owe them a huge debt. I feel lucky to have come across such good folks. But I know, just like Rob did, that if you look for or expect goodness, you’re bound to find it.

I just hope his harassers find their way back to the “good” too. Because we can definitely agree that it’s never too late to do the right thing. 🙂

*The information contained in this feature include screenshots chiefly from conversations conducted on Twitter. I cannot verify the legitimacy of all of them, although I personally screenshot/collected several from live pages and current tweets and believe all provided images to be authentic. I implore you to do your own research if you’re so inclined.

*Side note. I’ve been informed that Ms. Brenizer is a nobody in the #Resistance, a vast effort. I don’t disagree with that, but for the purposes of this conversation, we can agree that these two people are the chief drivers of bad conduct towards my husband from either direction as outlined above.

The Illustrious Football Career of Jim Cates – Kansas Koyotes Arena Football

I would love to give this a better introduction but my son really wants to show this video to his friends and I’m working to get it done for him quickly. (I’m that good of a mom, yes.)

My dad, Jim Cates, has a big mouth, and apparently a good kicking leg.

This is an opportunity borne of those two talents.

My dad is a hoot. Enjoy.

Chapter III: Life Beyond Mr. Wonderful – Ground Zero AKA “AR00”

I share the following details not because I think people are interested in them. Rather, I need to document this day for my own sanity. When I started writing today, I had planned on a completely different focus. But this is where my mind ended up. So we’ll just let it ride.

The day the unspeakable happened, I was running a few minutes late in getting out of work. My boss and I had a meeting that butted right up to the end of my work day. At 4:29 pm I sent a text to my husband, expecting that he was already waiting for my exit from the building. “Few mins” was my message. No reply was needed but not receiving one was not the usual. I didn’t think too much of it. At 4:41 I walked out of my building and Rob was not in his usual pick-up spot, right up front. A few more messages went out with nary a reply.

I kept it cool at first. It wasn’t until I learned that he hadn’t shown up for work that day that I panicked.

Upon learning this, I called my mother, 10 miles up the road, and she was in her car and headed towards me within seconds. We both knew something was horribly, horribly wrong. I paced outside in the 35-degree cold until she got to me. She picked me up in a whirlwind and we made a beeline to my home, where Rob’s and my shared truck was parked out front. Before mom even put her car in park, I jumped out and ran towards the house. Finding the door unlocked, I hurried in yelling for Rob.

From room to room I went, more frightened after discovering each one empty. After searching the entire house, I finally sat down in his desk chair and toggled his computer’s mouse. A document appeared before me where the words were incomprehensible but the meaning was clear.

Rob was preparing me for his exit. The phrase at the end that I recognized through the dread told me he was gone: “inevitable outcome.” It was then that I called the police.

While waiting for them, I called my son across the state, Rob’s parents in Florida, my dad 60 miles away, and several close friends scattered throughout the US. “I don’t know where he is but he’s done something,” I repeated again and again, “He could have stepped in front of a train for all I know.” The news was met with horror and surprise. How could this be happening?

After 20 or 30 minutes, I called the police department again. They said someone was on their way.

Sgt. Smithmeier showed up and asked the usual questions: When was the last time I saw him? Had he ever done anything like this before? What makes me think he’s done something drastic? Did he leave a note? – All easy questions. The hard one was: “Where is he?”

He walked throughout the house with me and after a few more casual questions asked me if I had a shed out back. Unbeknownst to me, my mother had mouthed that question to him behind my back, as she knew it was the only place I hadn’t looked on the property. According to her, she had been hopeful that I wouldn’t go look out there; she panicked at every door I flung open as it was. But back to the question. “Um, yes,” I remember barely saying aloud, “there’s a shed.” “Is there a lock and key or would it be open?” Sgt. Smithmeier asked. “Huh? Oh, yeah…,” I said as I moved toward my grandmother’s oak buffet, “there’s a key to the lock in here.” I opened the top left drawer and looked in the front of the right side, where the shed key, attached to one of those cheap aluminum bottle openers, was always found. But the key wasn’t there. “Oh,” I said dreamily, “it’s usually right here…” And I tried to play it cool. But I knew.

Sgt. Smithmeier headed out the back door, suggesting politely but firmly that I stay behind. I stayed seated in my living room. I couldn’t see him as he approached the back door again, but I could see my mother’s face, at first hopeful and then crestfallen. Sgt. Smithmeier came in, not meeting my gaze, and asked me what clothing Rob would have been wearing. “Gosh, ummm,” I recalled, “Something dark, a dark t-shirt and dark sweatpants maybe, maybe his leather coat?”

And the news followed from out of the mouth of Sgt. Smithmeier: “Then I am so sorry to have to inform you, but your husband is deceased. He’s out there.” I don’t remember the exact words he spoke. I just knew that my Mr. Wonderful was gone forever. And I remember nodding as I stared at Sgt. Smithmeier’s mouth speaking the words to me. Somehow that made it easier to focus on what he was saying? I don’t know…

At this point, my mother and I got on our phones and called family and friends. My son was driving on the highway when I told him that Rob had killed himself. I had to tell him to pull over; I was afraid he was going to get in a wreck. I’ve never heard him cry like that. He and his girlfriend were quickly on the way from St. Louis. They would arrive four hours later.

I had called Rob’s parents when he was missing but when my mother offered to call them with the news of his death, I agreed. They had recently placed an ultimatum before Rob: their help and their money or me, so at the very moment I learned of his death I had no intention of speaking to them ever again. Their actions suggest that they agree with that plan, but that’s a story for another day.

Several more police officers filtered through the house in the coming hours, and by that time my dad had arrived. I sat somewhat catatonic throughout further questioning from the Coroner’s office, answering but kind of floating above everything mentally. I stayed in that floaty state for several weeks.

To be continued…

Chapter III: Life Beyond Mr. Wonderful – Grandma’s Reminder

I’ve been told that journaling might be a good outlet for me. Because this blog already exists for me to vent, I’ll just park those rants right here. My husband built this blog (and many other websites) for me. Thanks, baby, for giving me an audience.

My husband committed suicide on November 7 of last year and although I appear to be functioning, I feel as far from that statement as is possible.

I go to work, I take care of my dogs, I pay the bills, I return some phone calls. I make my bed, I brush my teeth, I fuel the car, I cook, I clean… But I’m not really here.

Sleep is elusive. Connections with people are difficult. I desperately want attention but don’t want people fawning over the widow.

In short, I’m a little lost.

I’m going to start off this blog series, Chapter III: Life Beyond Mr. Wonderful, with an article I wrote about my grandmother back in late 2004 or 2005. I wrote it when I was with a small publishing company in St. Louis.

It serves to provide me with a reminder of what my role is in life going forward. (I hope.)

2004 will go down in the story of my life as the year that I sat up and took notice of the little things.

My grandmother died this past Spring. My mother’s mother, she was 75, and had battled cancer for almost 20 years. She was opinionated, sweet, wise, and always upbeat and fun. She took pleasure in the little things, and never asked for approval from anyone. She approved of herself, and people respected her for that.

Up until two weeks before her death, she traveled extensively. Her last trip was with a group from her church and I remember talking to her about whether or not she should go. She said she just didn’t think she was up to it. We all knew she was dying; she had been in poor shape for months. But I encouraged her to take the trip. “Grandma, if you’re going to feel icky, do it somewhere with a view.”

She relented, and went on that trip with her friends. At her funeral, her church friends remembered aloud how much fun they had with her on that and other trips, and they shared stories about her fearlessness. They all knew that she didn’t feel well on that last trip, and admired her for smiling and laughing with them nonetheless. She would never dream of complaining; she would say that she was lucky to get to go at all. At her funeral, someone asked my mother if there were any of grandma’s grandchildren who were “like her”. I almost burst into tears when my mother replied that I was took after grandma most. What a compliment, and what an incredible legacy.

Since her death, I have been decidedly free-wheeling. I’ve traveled more, I’ve laughed more, I’ve loved more, I’ve lived more. It didn’t necessarily take losing her to make me re-think my life, but I have re-evaluated how I view things. If she were here she’d say how that’s “just part of it.” She’d smile at me in her knowing way, and I’d feel silly for questioning an experience that has made me a better person.

Grandma and Grandpa’s wedding day, 1947

I’ve met someone, and it makes me sad that she will never get to meet him. She and I used to compare notes about dating, as she was widowed more than ten years ago. She and I had a decidedly similar view of dealings with the opposite sex: stay around till I get sick of you, then go away till I tell you to come back. Her stories about the man who tried to bully her into a relationship with him made me laugh and laugh. As I listened to her recount yet another way he had aggravated her, I could relate, and we would giggle about it together. Bullying me has never worked either.

If she were here now, I would tell her, “I’ve finally met him.” She’d smile, like she always did when she expected she knew what she was going to hear, and then she’d say, “Tell me all about him.” She’d then sit, lean in, and ask all the cutely worded questions like, “How dreamy is he?” It was times like these that she would tell me stories about my grandpa, like what a great kisser she thought he was. I imagine I have that same dreamy look in my eyes when I talk about my “him” just like she did when she talked about hers.

I rest in the knowledge that she’s “looking at me from the clouds,” like she explained to my 10-year-old son that she would. Although I’ll never get to tell her, she knows, and she’s giving me her trademark, knowing smile, like she expected it all along.

Midget-Century Nightstand Fix-Up

Tiny rooms bring big problems!

Rustic Nightstand by Moxy Liberty

Thrift store mid-century nightstand with original wooden drawer pull, as I found it.

I’d been looking for awhile. See, we live in a smaller house than we’ve ever lived in before, with tinier rooms, tinier closets, tinier storage… You get the idea.

Which brings us to our bedroom. It’s, well, tiny. And we have a king-sized bed. So the room is basically “bed”. Our ordinary nightstands, bought for much larger rooms, won’t fit. So I’ve been on the hunt for small nightstands that are just the right look, feel and price. I’ve been looking for a few years now. The criteria: small, mid-century, paintable and cheap. We live in a mid-century house, so I have this new appreciation for appropriately timed pieces.

So I saw this little guy. I wish there were two but I’m glad I found one at all. It was $5 and just needed a scrubbing and a paint job and voila! I used paint I already had, so no extra cost there. I decided to keep the drawer unpainted as a nod to its original state. I feel like its honoring it somehow; my husband says that look is now distinctly “mine”, where you paint most of a piece but leave a part of it “original”. I guess that’s me.

Rustic Nightstand by Moxy Liberty

Before and after of a $5 mid century nightstand. Painted and drawer lining applied.

I added some shelf paper I also had lying around just for a little zing. I think it turned out cute. Just what we needed.

On to the next cheap piece made fabulous!

Would you have taken this troll home?

I admit I was caught up in the moment. An estate sale in my very own town, in a mid-century home whose inhabitants had lived here for at least 50 years. The house was packed with great stuff and the basement was dank, dingy and dirty. In other words, perfect. After a cursory tour, I sniffed out a beautiful old mirror that I was able to negotiate for a tenth of its value. I paid quickly and was headed out the garage door with the mirror under my arm. And then I saw this table. Filthy and long-unappreciated, I casually asked what they wanted for it.

They had to have thought I was crazy. The thing was filthy with car grease and smoke and God knows what else over the years. Both the top and the lower shelf had been covered with a speckled yellow linoleum, secured around the edges with chrome trim, but the bottom shelf had lost most of its trim, so the linoleum piece was barely hanging on. I knew it was old, and I knew no one had monkeyed with it in so long that it would be a good candidate for a makeover.

I handed over the $5 and away I went.

The project took months, and mostly because I was lazy.

My first task was to get rid of the linoleum and chrome and finally discover what was hiding underneath. The top surface was just as I’d hoped: protected for 50 years. Rough and begging for an upgrade. And anything would have been an upgrade.

I cleaned and cleaned and cleaned it. I really didn’t think the dirt would come off. When the paint turned out to be a cream color, I couldn’t believe it. I honestly thought the stuff was cooked on, it just looked so roached and black.

After cleaning, I scraped paint off. The bottom shelf was a really pretty dark stained wood, which suggested the idea of highlighting the natural wood on the shelves.

Then I sanded. And sanded some more. I was lucky enough to have found the perfectly beautiful and breezy day to do it on; it was no chore at all.

I grabbed whatever stain we happened to have in our workshop and I got down to staining the shelves. The color for the legs and such was also an easy decision; it’s elephant gray, a color we have a ton of. After staining and painting, I put two coats of poly on it and almost called it done.

Somewhere along the way, my husband suggested I make the drawer knob white. He thought it would give it a little “umph” and I think he was right. I didn’t actually paint the drawer pull; it is just how I found it, only scrubbed clean.

I think it turned out gorgeous! And now I use it as my printer stand/ an extension of my desk.

Of note: The table is identified on the underside of the drawer as “Davidson’s Furn. Co., Kansas City, MO.” Davidson’s was a high-end furniture store that opened in Kansas City in around 1918. At one time, they had a 20,000 square foot show room. And, of particular interest to me, in the late 1950s they acquired the remaining furniture stock of the local Abernathy Furniture Company, which had closed up shop in the 1950s.


Brenda’s High School Project gets an A+!

Many Saturdays ago, I found myself meandering through the rural parts of Clay County, looking for garage sales. There were a few out there, but not many. But they were in the right places, so I found something really cool at almost every stop. Which brings me to this guy.

It’s no secret that I’m somewhat obsessed with anything between Tiffany blue and seafoam green. This stein fit the bill perfectly, although it had obviously been in a barn for many years. As a matter of fact, the woman who sold it to me, Brenda, said that she and her husband moved it for 30 years and just never really used it. She had made it in an art class in high school.

I brought it home and cleaned it up. I think Brenda did a pretty good job! I love the color and I love the relief  and that it’s still all perfectly in tact. It’s a great piece for someone who wants a splash of breezy blue in their design. Isn’t that floppy-eared dog so cute, resting his head on his master’s leg? I just love it.