Thursday, February 5, 2009

Requiem for a Couch

We should have known it was ill. After all, it had been a comfortable piece of furniture when it was young. Many pleasant hours of reading and napping were had there. It was cheerful just to look at its yellow and red English Country print.

I don't know exactly when the decline started. I think it was when the skirt began to sag, touching the floor. I chalked it up to the probability that the cushions weren't quite as cushy as they had been in the beginning and no doubt the springs had lost a little of their springy-ness. But I didn't dream it was anything really serious.

Then that little tear appeared on the right arm rest. That was understandable since the right end of the couch got sat on more frequently than the left end. I lamented the fact that the couch had not come with arm rest covers. One day I decided to google the couch's Waverly fabric. I went through pages and pages of fabric on E-Bay, and there it was - a yard and a half of the exact fabric! I bid and won.

That was probably two years ago, and I still haven't made those arm covers. I covered the tear by using some arm covers off an old recliner. They didn't look great, but they looked better than the tear - and at the time I thought it was a temporary measure. It became a permanent arrangement after I had looked at the mismatched arm covers so long that I didn't see them anymore. I still have the yard and a half of cheerful Waverly fabric.

The next symptom of the couch's illness was the annoying tendency of the seat cushions to slide forward. I was forever having to push them back under the permanently attached back cushions. The back cushions had sagged a little and I figured they were pushing the seat cushions forward.

At some point during this process of decline, I stopped sitting on the couch. It just wasn't comfortable anymore, but I attributed that to my aching arthritic joints. The last time I took a nap on the couch, I thought it was odd that I felt like I was going to slide off on the floor. "Age sure is changing me," I thought, "I used to really enjoy a nap on this couch." I didn't think much more about it and started taking my naps in the recliner.

Last week we had a visit from one of my fountain pen friends. She is also a cat-lover and wanted to meet Teche, the Unsociable. He always hides when we have company. As I sat on the couch, I leaned over and lifted the skirt to peer underneath since under the couch is one of Teche's favorite hideouts. I didn't see Teche, but what I did see shocked me! A piece of wood - part of the couch's frame - was hanging below the couch, stretching the black filmy stuff that they staple to the underside of furniture. I quickly dropped the skirt, wanting to preserve the poor couch's dignity in front of company. But I finally understood that the illness was serious.

Today Jerry and I turned the couch over. He unstapled the black filmy stuff and discovered that not just one, but two cross braces were hanging loose. He went out to his shop and came back in with clamps, a crowbar, hammer, and other miscellaneous tools. The surgery began. He worked for about an hour trying to restore the couch's skeleton to a healthy state. Jerry doesn't give up easily, but he finally declared that the whole frame was skewed. He would have to tear into the upholstery to even attempt a cure. Even if the cure was successful - and he wasn't certain that it would be - the entire couch would have to be re-upholstered at a cost equivalent to or exceeding the price of a new couch. The illness isn't just serious. It's terminal.

With a heavy heart I went couch-shopping today. I don't like change. I'm not one of those women who gets tired of things and wants to redecorate just for the sake of change. If I like something, I like it until it wears out; and then I mourn for it. The new couch will arrive Saturday. I can't talk about it right now.

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