Real FurnitureMarch 22, 2008
When I separated from my (now) ex-wife, I tried to take as little as possible with me. I needed to make sure that the kids had everything that they needed, and I wanted them to feel some consistency, even-though Dad was not living there anymore. I took my digital piano, the stereo components, my weights and weight bench, and my clothes. That meant that everything else I had to buy or scrounge. I was a regular at yard sales, Goodwill, and my parents’ basement and attic.
I started with a “love seat” that looked like it came out of the waiting room of a doctor’s office in the 1960’s. It was somewhat Danish Modern and upholstered in a brown vinyl. It wasn’t comfortable. My coffee table was from Goodwill and looked like it had been handmade by someone who failed wood-shop in high school. I painted it white. It helped, if only a little. I found an old tv with very little red left in it at my parents’ house. They also gave me an old chest of drawers.
Starting over, the best piece of furniture I purchased was the bed. (Read that again, this time with dripping sarcasm.) It was a twin size air mattress that needed inflated every night before I cried myself to sleep. Bedtime is not exactly the time one needs to be reminded that their life just fell apart and the future isn’t looking good. So for that first month of being on my own, I had a constant reminder that perhaps, I had screwed up in a major way. Sleeping on an air mattress on the floor of my crappy apartment was the nightly jab that would get my mind rolling with doubt.
It wasn’t long before I was able to find a full bed frame with a mattress and box springs. The price was just right: free! One of my co-workers at school had recently purchased a new bed for her daughter and offered me the old one. All I had to do was find a way to transport it to my place. I jumped at the chance to have a real bed. It has served me well these past few years, although, I did find it necessary to replace the mattress with something more comfortable. The replacement was a hand-me-down too.
My partner moved in with me six months after I rented the apartment. We slowly found better furnishings, either as donations from sympathetic relatives, or flea market finds, or even roadkill. Gnawing persistently at my brain was the thought that we’d never be able to select the style and quality of furniture ourselves; we’d be held captive to the dated styles of others. They would cast off their bad taste, and we would grab it, proclaiming it to be “not that bad.”
Life did improve. We were able to purchase a house in 2007. We moved all our shabby chic pieces into this shabby chic shack. After we discovered that we could actually afford to live here, I felt the need to have “real furniture.” I wanted to pick it out, at the store, maybe even have it delivered. I wanted to look at a couch and say “no, I don’t like the fabric” or “do you have something a bit more masculine?”
It’s finally happening. We purchased a sofa back in November. It’s big, it’s well-stuffed, and it’s a vision of chocolate micro-suede. I love the big pillows that came with it, as well as the opportunity to pay for it on credit.
We had seen some beds at Levin Furniture back in November. We had even returned to the clearance center to purchase a greatly reduced bedroom suite. As we entered the store, I told myself that if it was still there, it was meant to be. It had sold a few days before, but I looked at it as being a sign that I needed to wait. I’m glad I did. Purchasing an entire set of furniture is not what we needed to do. The cost of the bed and the mattress set would be about all we could afford.
Today, we returned to the store because we had seen a television ad offering no interest for 5 years. We knew that purchasing the bed and mattress set would meet the minimum dollar amount required for the deal. Sadly, none of the beds on the second floor showroom appealed to us. I kept thinking “where are all the great beds we saw a few months ago?” We decided to look in the clearance center, which is just across the street. As we were about to exit the retail store, we noticed a mission style bed in the window. We took a quick look before heading across Main street. I kept looking at the bed in the window. There was nothing appealing in the clearance center, although we thought the deals on the mattress sets were good. We wrote down a product number, thinking we could buy the bed in the main store, and the mattress from the clearance center. Our salesman offered to cut the price of the mattress to approximate the clearance center price, pointing out that we would then benefit from a 10 year guarantee.
We bought the bed! We pick it up on Wednesday. It’s a beautiful Mission Oak style that will work nicely with either a rustic cottage theme, or a clean, organic Japanese environment. Now, we’ll be needing a new set of sheets and of course, a bed spread that will fit a queen size bed. Now who has a queen bed and might have some old sheets they want to give away?