Thursday, December 29, 2011


My new sofa!  The one I decided on -- coming to a basement near you soon!

I get easily led astray from my column-writing duties around the holidays. Between staring vacantly at festive lights, surviving shopper stampedes, and watching any of the seemingly endless and endlessly cheezy holiday movies, my schedule for the month is pretty full of yuletide distraction.

So when in doubt, my old journalism teacher used to say, "write about what you know." Well, what I know this week is sofas. Actually, what I know now is that I know very, very little about sofas.

After 1.5 years of living here, the basement of my new house is officially finished. New walls, new ceiling, new carpeting. It looks empty. It might be the most unfinished finished basement in history. I currently have an astoundingly beautiful and entirely barren empty subterranean room. Now that I'm single again, outfitting the perfect man-cave has taken a back seat to maintaining an entire man-house.

Good thing, then, that I have the greatest parents in the world. I find it charming whenever people say that they have the best parents in the world. Charming because those people are all WRONG. I'm fully convinced that, given an ample budget, sizable enough control group, and an on-call team of theoretical physicists, I could scientifically prove that MY parents are, in fact, the greatest parents in the world by definition. And those great parents just informed me that they're springing for a new sofa for my basement. Holy Christmas, Batman!

"This will be AMAZING," my brain thought. "All I need to do is hit up a furniture store and find something affordable yet stylish."

In retrospect, I'm now convinced that fixing the economy would be an easier task than picking out a sofa.

The first place I went to is my dream store. It's my dream store because everything in it -- and I mean EVERY single piece of furniture from one end to the other -- makes me drool. It's also my dream store because I'd HAVE to be dreaming to think I could afford ANYTHING in the place. I'm pretty sure that purchasing ONE sofa in this store WOULD fix the economy. Still, I figured I'd pop in to see if they had any good holiday deals. Sure enough, quite a bit of their inventory was marked down at 20% off. I suppose that's a good deal, but when the original price is $10K? I'd need about another 70% off, and despite my pretty face, my bartering skills didn't extend that far.

My primary goal here is to keep things cheap. First off, there's no need for my folks to over-extend themselves just to make sure I have a comfy basement. Second off, until I get rid of this newfound "single" status on Facebook, I probably won't be spending a whole lot of time in the man-cave. But mostly, I know that there's no reason to pay good money for something that's destined to become yet another oversized scratching posts for my home's OTHER tenants.

When I bought my first ever new couch, I had a salesperson tell me that it was made of high-quality, tear-resistant leather. I was also told by that salesperson that cats aren't big on scratching leather furniture. I wish she'd have come home and told that to my cats, because from the first HOUR I had possession of the couch, my cats made it their mission to rip it to shreds. I bought scratching posts for each side of the couch; they batted them away to get to the couch. I even bought a fancy can of some foul-smelling substance that you spritz on your furniture and supposedly it makes your cats stay away. I spritzed it and the cats came racing and spent the next week incessantly licking the couch like it was some kind of fancy exotic treat. I worry that my cats might be "special."

So with cat claws deemed inevitable, there's no point going for high fashion. Instead, I wanted something comfy, cool-looking, and cheap. The second store I went to delivered just that in spades... which ended up being a worse outcome. My eyes immediately landed on a really cool sectional with an even cooler price tag. It was hip, modern, and fit my tragically deranged sense of "style." Just one problem: It was kind of uncomfortable. Well, it'd be comfortable for a doctor's office or something, I suppose, but for a basement? I could do better.

Better was the next couch I tried. Sitting in it was like floating in a marshmallow paradise. Plus it reclines, so double awesome. That said, I swear to you that it might be the ugliest couch I've ever seen. It looked like a taxidermist stuffed Jabba the Hutt and molded him into the shape of a couch. I don't care how comfy the thing is, I just couldn't bring myself to have this tan monstrosity blighting my basement.

That's when it hit me: I am Goldilocks. All I should need is a simple device upon which I can plop my chubby rump and watch a ridiculously unhealthy amount of TV. But nooooo... "this couch is too big," "this couch is too ugly," "this couch is too uncomfortable," "this couch is not the exact shade of toasted mocha I'm looking for," and I'm STILL as of press time unable to find my "juuuust right."

I've been to many other stores, and each came with mixed results. At one place, every sofa in the joint looked like it was designed BY my grandmother FOR my grandmother. At another place, the sales staff was so aggressive that I had to leave before I started strangling the innocent. Everywhere I went, I was greeting by a surplus of pros and cons. It's starting to come across like I'm looking this gift couch in the mouth, and I swear I'm not. I'm just an indecisive idiot.

Reason #3423 to have a signifigant other: let THEM pick out the furniture. Until then, I'll be sitting in the middle of an empty room, rocking back and forth on the floor, in a state of perpetual "maybe." Wish me luck.

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