Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The First Step is Admitting You Have a Problem

"Hi, my name is Alexis."

"Hi, Alexis!"

"And I have a problem with furniture scale."

You see, part of me wishes that I lived in a one-level, open-plan ranch house with acres of open space joining the living room, dining room and kitchen. That's the same part of me that apparently saw fit to purchase two hulking dark-gray armchairs and a 53" long glass-topped rectangular coffee table for my living room.

I've lived with this set-up for years now, only surviving by pushing most of the furniture far away from the high-traffic areas and moving fairly cautiously amongst (or over) the furniture when I must. Enter: Michael. Michael appears to be missing the part of his brain that conceptualizes how his body takes up space in relation to his surroundings. To wit: he bangs into stuff. A lot. Well, it seems like a lot to someone who looks like Courtney Love's scruffier and even-more-coked-out little sister just by brushing up against a surface with a hardness greater than that of gypsum. Yes, that's how badly I bruise, so quit giving me shit for acting like Sam Jackson in Unbreakable.

In any event, Michael barks his shins on the coffee table. Often. So often, in fact, that I wince a little whenever his phone rings in anticipation of the audible barking of shin on glass. Add that to the problem of Silent Bob bonking her head on the underside of the table when she's trying to jump up no longer seeming cute rather than the cause of her incipient feline senility, and it seems certain that it's time to replace some furniture.

The table isn't too hard. this more or less fits the bill, although I would prefer something smaller, maybe 30" in diameter rather than 34":

I have no attachment to the Ikea coffee table. After all, that's what Ikea is for: disposable furniture that never makes a serious enough impression on you, whether positive or negative, to keep you from pitching it into the nearest unattended dumpster when it becomes inconvenient. Kinda like a guy you meet online (kidding).

The chairs, though, are another matter altogether. I love them dearly and irrationally. They're comfortable to sit in as well as flop one's self over, the gray fabric hides a multitude of sins (I'm looking at you, Bob), and they're pretty stylish without being all "Hey! Look at me! I'm a trendy seating unit purchased by someone who spends too much time concerned about interior decorating and hence has no inner life to speak of!" Or something. Anyway, I like the chairs, and getting rid of them will be difficult to rationalize, considering they're the first "real" (ie, not Ikea, not scrounged) furniture I've ever bought. I suppose they could go into the guest room, but I really don't want to encourage guests to stay that long. On the other hand, the backup TV (for when I want to watch "What Not To Wear" or Michael wants to watch football and neither of us are feeling generous enough to force ourselves to humor the other, offending-TV-watching one) is in the guest room…

This leads us to FURNITURE SHOPPING! Which is really fun, as long as I don't let my inner penny-pinching Frugal McCheapPants get too mouthy. Or let myself go crazy in Ikea, where I will buy yet more disposable furniture.

This appeals:

The color works, and the size is right, but it doesn't look like it encourages floppy TV watching and/or idle flossing during the evening news.

This one has a nice mid-century look and a fairly small footprint:

But doesn't come in any colors that won't look like ass in 2.4 seconds and, well, the price seems little high for a store that's aimed at hipsters who get sniffy at Pottery Barn.

The real challenge will come with the eventual purchase of a real sofa. What makes the current sofa somewhat unreal or virtual? Well, I'd say that when it's a twice-over hand-me-down and you paid more for the eBay slipcover for it than you did for the alcohol-fueled thank you dinner for the poor schmucks who helped you move it, your couch may not be real. At the very least you should be ashamed of still owning said couch in a non-trashed setting (garage/basement = okay, living room = not okay) if you're over the age of 30. Which I am. Which is why I end up looking at couches like this on craigslist:

Pray for me and my living room.


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