Monday, March 1, 2010
couching the family
( from left to right..Nigel, Bandit and Charlie..note-I didn't name
any of them. They all came to us named. Only
Charlie's suits him)
We had hardly any furniture when we moved into our house almost five years ago. I had three kids, one on the way, and no chairs...or tables..or a sofa.. About six months before we had moved, a friend of ours offered us a houseful of furniture. She had inherited it from an estate and had no where to put it. In fact she was rather eager to get rid of it. She offered to give it to us-even to pay for moving it to our house! What a windfall! Or so it seemed. At the time we were living on a shoestring. Our mortgage payment was excessive..I wasn't working..we had three kids. There wasn't a whole lot left over at the end of the month for "luxuries". The meager amount of furniture that we did have was o.k., it served its purpose. I was pretty pleased with the idea of having some new things...perhaps a place for people to sit down.
One night, my friend called me rather frantic. "There is a lot more furniture than I first thought! You have to make sure that you have room for it!!!" I assured her that we did. So, I doing what any sensible person would do. I held a garage sale. I sold every stick of furniture that we had-anything we didn't sell, I donated-or threw away. With the exception of our beds-my house was empty. I believe we made a whopping $134.00. Sammy was not pleased. Change for him is very hard. Letting go of possessions, even harder. "But Mama! I loved that couch!"Sammy buddy..it had a hole in it." "I liked the hole!" "Sammy, the dog threw up on it..you threw up on it..Oscar threw up on it, I WANT to throw up on it!..I don't even know what the original color was..it stinks..it's dirty..it is time to throw it away." "Can't we save it?" "For what?!" "For later!"..."Sammy..change is good...things change all the time.." "No Mama, It's not." sigh. I did finally convince him that we were better off with out the couch-but it was a challenge. There were bribes involved..markers, paper..a "Wiggles" dvd...but in the end it all worked out. Sort of.
The problem was that I couldn't get in touch with my friend. Messages were either misplaced or ignored. We spent a lot of time on the floor. About three months after the garage sale, I got a phone call. "Oh! You must think I was crazy going on and on about the furniture! I'm so sorry, but life has been really hectic. I will have my assistant call you about it next week. She will set up the delivery time with you." That was four and a half years ago. It was also the last time my friend ever spoke to me. I still don't know what happened. I valued that friendship, and I was really sad to find that the feeling wasn't reciprocated. We had no other option at the time but to sit in our mostly empty house listening to "The Wiggles" almost non-stop. Perhaps Sammy was right..we should have kept the stinky couch..Maybe all change isn't good.
Shortly after we moved into this house, I decided that I had had enough. We were going to get some furniture come hell or high water. Nothing expensive, just a place to sit. I was hugely pregnant at the time and attempting to get up from sitting on the the floor was near to impossible. I looked like a deranged Teletubbie rolling back and forth trying to get the momentum to stand-only not as colorful.
We decided on a couch and love seat from a discount furniture store. It was not well made, or even pretty..but it was cheap. Cheap being the operative word. I thought that if we treated it gently, it could last us for a while. I made up a set of ground rules. No eating on it, no shoes, no jumping, rolling, drawing, no pets. Basically, you were allowed to sit on it gently IF you didn't breath to hard. Within the first week, Oscar threw up on it more times than I care to count, Lily peed on it..and the sneaky dog jumped up on it while we were sleeping ripping a hole in the cushions with his paws. I learned to live with it. Better to sit on a stinky couch than roll on the floor like a children's television character.
This year, we bought yet another new couch. This time it is going to be different. I moved the stinky couches into the playroom-keeping the nice new one in the living room. For the first time in a very long time I can sit down without fear of what I'm actually sitting on. I don't have to share this couch with the kids. They can do whatever they like with the ones in the playroom. I finally have my own space..I can stretch out..this baby is mine!
The other night, I walked into the living room with my laptop and a nice cup of coffee only to be met with four kids sitting there. On my new couch! "Why are you sitting here?? You have couches in the playroom." "But Mama...we like your couch...and there's no room on the playroom one.." "What do you mean there's no room.?" "Go look..." So I did (see picture) What else could I do but say "Scoot over..I want to sit down.