Lego's Ninjago Dragon
The last post was written because our friend Debi wanted me to write about our dinner and asked that her name “be all over it”.  Naturally, I was more than happy to comply and shared our story about a great evening out with friends.  Wednesday night Ivan completed a project and was so proud of himself that he asked me to “write a blog about it”.  I have no idea what his concept of a blog is at six years old but I have trouble saying “no” to the coolest kid in the world.  If I am going to start writing on contract though, somebody is going to have to come off the hip with some cash. This is America, after all. Anyways…

Our dining room table is hardly a historic landmark but when I think about it, a significant time of our lives are spent there.  It is more than just a place to sit when we eat and might be the most important and versatile piece of furniture in our home.  We still need our beds but I suppose that every other piece of furniture in the house could be removed and we would get by with just our dining room table for every other function in our lives.

Our dining room table and chairs are inherited from Chris’s grandparents and it is truly a beautiful piece of furniture.  I never had the chance to meet my wife’s grandparents but if I did I would love to thank them for the table and tell them about some of the adventures we have shared there.  I like to think that they would be happy that such a simple piece of furniture plays such an important role in our home.

First, I have eaten some of the best meals of my life at this table.  I have the good fortune of being married to an amazing cook and every time I sit down at the table to eat, I know I am in for a treat.  More importantly though, we rarely just sit down to eat and then move on. Whether it is just Chris and I, or all three of us, dinner time usually extends well past the meal itself as we talk about our days, lives, feelings, or whatever might come to mind.  Sometimes we find ourselves there for hours after a meal and I have to say that sitting at the table with my family is my favorite part of the day, hands down. 

The table also has those cool removable leafs that make it change shape like a Transformer.  Usually we keep it at its standard size that seats six but with the added leafs it seats more people than we have chairs and even extends into the living room.  A table that spans across two rooms is kind of a ridiculous site but we have had some wonderful family gatherings where nobody seemed to mind that they were sitting in the middle of the living room talking to people in the dining room fifteen feet away (as long a tasty adult beverage is still in reach, we are all pretty adaptable).

Our dining room table is also the site of family game night.  It is much easier to play Monopoly, Scrabble, or Uno when you are sitting in a real chair at a real table and not hunched over the coffee table.  Our backs are too old and worn out for that nonsense and flexibility is no longer our strong suit.  And yes,  I know we are too young to say that but hell, we work hard.

When dinner is not being served and work takes precedence to play, the dining room table is also my office.  We actually have a real desk with drawers in what you might call an office/guest room but I have no use for it beyond keeping it as a place to store junk and uninteresting paperwork.  The dining room table actually offers way more space to spread out my work than anywhere else in the house.  From stacks of bills to full size sets of blueprints, it is the only place in the house where I ever consider myself “productive” when it comes down to business.   I even keep one chair as a “filing cabinet” where I store our folders out of view when the seat is pushed all of the way in.

Most Awesome File Cabinet
Let me get to the point of the story as Ivan requested I tell it… our dining room table has also assumed the role of Ivan’s construction site and creative genius. In the last few months he has developed a passion for Legos.  He started by primarily building things from scratch but is now addicted to the “kits”.  He has shocked us by his attention to detail and a dedication to following instructions well beyond what I would expect from a six year old’s attention span.  What began as a 30 minute session to build a Star Wars Speeders has now evolved into marathon sessions building projects that require three separate set of instruction books.  I am not exaggerating when I say that I have seen actual building plans that were less detailed than the instructions he follows.  It makes me wonder how much better things would be built in this country if we replaced all of the architects with Lego designers, but I digress.*

Lego Rain Man
Wednesday night Ivan sat down to work on phase two of a Ninjago set he received for Christmas.  We did not expect him to make much progress on the project since we had friends over and would have thought the presence of other kids in our home would be more interesting than Lego time.  We could not have been more wrong, however, and Ivan sat at the dining room table diligently assembling some kind of alien dragon thing.  I still do not know what a Ninjago is but I know that this thing is way cooler than the Lego stuff I had when I was a kid.

Ivan sat there for three hours and built this monster from scratch, following every step and only asking for help a couple of times.  At one point I suggested that he might have to finish it the next day and he looked at me like I was insane.  Another time I pointed out that this particular project was for kids eight and up and that he might need some help but he politely explained that “the ages don’t mean anything because Santa doesn’t know what he’s talking about”.  

No offense to Santa or the brains behind Legos but I am inclined to agree with him on this one.  As he chipped away at this project with the focus of a surgeon, four grownups quietly marveled at what he was doing.  At the end of it, I do not know who was prouder– me or him.  In either case, I wanted to cry in delight for him when he proudly displayed his creation and asked if I would blog about...  absolutely, my son.

So there you have it… our dining room table - home of great meals, better conversation, games, work, and now, super awesome Lego construction site.  I never thought a single piece of furniture would provide so many memories but I do not know what we would do without it.  Come on by and try it out.  Chris will cook up something great, I will embarrass myself at Scrabble, and Ivan will turn into Lego Rain Man.  Good times!

*All apologies to Stu, my architect friend.