We woke up in our “new” home & town today. We spent Saturday in downtown Chicago, before heading to our new suburb of Glen Ellyn Sunday. After a HOT time at Taste of Chicago, and several hours watching USA lose in the World Cup, we went to Room & Board to look at couches. Sunday we stopped off at another store to look at couches. Hopefully we’ll order one soon. We are showing up with hardly any furniture and if you continue reading you’ll discover why…
How long do most families keep their furniture? Our family room couch and love-seat are going on twelve years and they are definitely past their prime. In 1997 we had moved to the Northwest and into a brand new house. The blue and white striped couch and love-seat we brought with us from the mid-west weren’t exactly “white” anymore. There was a logical explanation but new friends probably wouldn’t be able to relate. In Illinois we had lived in a darling cape cod with a blacktop driveway. Oh I remember how hot that blacktop felt on a steamy summer day if I ran down to get the mail without my flip flops. I also remember the year my husband saved us money by smoothing on fresh black asphalt himself rather than hiring professionals. It was REALLY black! My four young children often ran around barefooted and then would come bounding in the house and go directly to the striped couches. Let’s just say the black jumped onto the fabric almost as quickly as the spot moved around in “The Cat and the Hat” story.
After contemplating buying slipcovers to make our furniture look newer, we decided to head to a Labor Day sale at a furniture store that practically requires roller skates to cover the distance of the square footage. This store made furniture shopping an event! You could even buy popcorn and snacks. Low and behold we found a comfy couch and love-seat in a super suede/almost leather –look that had plump down filling and the price was right!
Now jump ahead several years. Our extremely overweight orange tabby routinely climbed up to the top of said furniture to nap and ripped the seams quite a few times. I had a professional upholsterer mend it the first time, and then I attempted to sew the tears. (Tigger has also has sharpened his nails on the front a bit…*#%@!) Our lab-mix dog used to climb up at night to sleep leaving behind her hairy evidence until she was caught and punished enough that she stopped using them as her personal beds. I got pretty good at vacuuming and fabreezing and fluffing them before company came so I wasn’t too embarrassed. Our kid’s friends often spent the night on the couches and were quite satisfied with their place of rest.
Last year was going to be the summer we replaced them. Our oldest son was graduating from college and moving into a little apartment for his year in graduate school. He was going to get our old stuff and we were moving on to a fabulous sectional or swanky leather sofa. Well, my dream was squashed when;
A. Money was tight (could this be due to two in private college and me not teaching?)
B. We discovered his former roomies had about eight couches that were being left behind at the rental his sister moved into right next door to his apartment. Another set of couches was definitely not needed.
Well, it’s moving week and our oldest son is engaged. We are giving him the couches as a “wedding gift”. I will miss their comfort, but will get to enjoy them when I visit in Spokane AND I get new furniture! As I watched the couches leave on a truck to be stored until after the honeymoon, I had a flashback. It was Christmas time and on a quiet, rainy afternoon I came downstairs from wrapping to find my husband asleep on the love-seat and my 6’3’’ teenage son asleep on the couch. They looked so peaceful and comfortable. Our trusty couches were very “nap friendly”. As we try to replace these couches with a stylish leather couch for our great room, and a comfy sectional for our walk-out basement I am reminded of other furniture stories…
Over two thousand years ago another Mom was probably looking at her son resting in a less than hoped-for piece of furniture. The manger that Mary laid Jesus in after his birth was a bit old and smelly, but was warm and soft and our savior didn’t complain. As Mary thought about her past, present and future, I am sure she decided that it is best to live in the present. She was grateful her baby had finally arrived and was peacefully sleeping. She couldn’t control her surroundings, but she could accept them with gratefulness and thanksgiving and hope. Did Mary have any idea that the cradle and the cross would be the most amazing wood the world would ever know? That just seeing a manger would instantly make us remember that God came to earth as a tiny baby to live among us and save us?
Furniture can be beautiful even if it isn’t lovely to look at.