Always Pick Out Your Own Couch

I rarely write blog posts that are sequels to a previous post, but this is an exception. There’s a first time for everything. (Won’t you be surprised when I send out a form letter at Christmas this year, too.) This is Part II of the story of our Big Blue Flowered Couch.

Previously on Just Humor Me:
We had this big blue flowered couch and it was very dated but was in so many of our pictures that we kept it. Also we didn’t have any money to buy a new one.

And then, when we were living in Virginia, my husband was working in DC and I was at home with two little kids, we decided that we could really use a sofa-bed for guests. We were living in a three-bedroom, three-story townhouse, with the family room in the walkout basement. Ideally, a pull-out sofa-bed couch down there could double as our family room and a guest room. Plus, could resurrect an old childhood pastime of mine: Jumping on the bed.

When it came time to furniture-shop for the new couch, I had a gall bladder attack that was horrific and lasted many days. I wasn’t eating or sleeping. I was basically just doing the minimal parental care and feeding of the two kids. The rest of the time I spent pacing around the house with the cordless phone in my hand, my thumb hovering over the 9.  I was convinced that the pain was going to get so bad that I’d start to pass out. I wanted to get in at least the 9 and a 1 before I collapsed and hit my head on the corner of the coffee table. 

It was right before Christmas, too. When I finally did decide that my husband should take me to the doctor, it was agreed that I had let my gall bladder wreak havoc for far too long. I had to have it removed immediately. And by immediately, the surgeon’s scheduler meant within the next two weeks or so.

“So when were you thinking? After the holidays?” she asked.

“After the WHAT?” I was livid. “Maybe you don’t understand. I want it taken out now. Today. Before I see my home again, I want to be gallbladderless. I brought a nightgown.”

Surgeon’s schedulers never listen to me. She said she thought I might have a lot to do to get ready for Christmas. I explained that I couldn’t get a lot of shopping and baking done with the phone in one hand. I had jaundice, my gall bladder and my liver were yelling mayday, I had a fever and chills. And also I couldn’t wear pants. We settled on a surgery date in about four days.

This is when my husband decided that we needed to shop for the new couch.

“I can’t go shopping,” I told him. “But you go, and just get something nice.”

We talked a little bit about how he was to proceed. This was a very delicate operation. He had to take my pre-furniture-shopping advice and apply it to what he could find in our price range and make a selection that I would love, all without a cell phone or any other communication with me during the shopping process.

With all that working against the mission, I still allowed him to go couch shopping by himself. 

He came home and told me he had picked out a sofa-bed that was “really nice.”

“What color is it?”

“Well, it’s a kind of a . . . ehh, well, it’s a neutral background and it has kind of a red and blue pattern, but it’s really small so you just kind of see a little red and blue pattern, on a neutral -”

“What’s the pattern?”


“You bought a plaid couch?”

“No, mmmmm, checks. It’s checks.”

"You bought a checked couch?"

”No, not really checks. You’ll just have to see it. It’s really nice. Very neutral. Really, really nice.”

I sighed. “What style is it?”

“Oh, it’s a nice style. It’s got, you know, cushions and stuff.”

“Does it have a pillow back? Is it a sectional? Is it a Bridgewater? A Lawson? Soft and squishy? Hard and formal?”

“It’s just really nice. So nice.”

The couch was delivered after my surgery, while I was still in the robe-and-slippers stage of recovery. I couldn’t wait until it arrived, so I could see this neutral, checked, red and blue couch with cushions and stuff.

The truck pulled up front and I watched from the front window as they pulled out a couch and started to walk it around to the back of the townhouse. Our townhouse was in the middle of a row of six. To get the couch to our lower-level family room, they had to take it around the side of the building, past two of my neighbors, down a hill, through the back field, and into our sliders to our family room.

They were about halfway down the hill when I hailed them down and said, “That’s not the couch I ordered.” The delivery guys set it down on the hill. 

“What do you mean, this is not the couch you ordered?”

I was circling it, looking at it and shaking my head. It was a contemporary sofa with big angular back cushions. It was stark white with blue and pink swishes on it. It was not my style and I could not believe that my husband wouldn’t know that. Still, it did have a white background, which is pretty neutral. And he doesn’t really know the difference between red and pink. And he did say the pattern was not exactly checks. Could you have meant swishes?

“So, is this the couch you ordered or not?” the delivery guy asked.

“Well, I didn’t actually see it. My husband picked it out.”

The delivery guys picked the couch back up and proceeded down the hill toward our townhouse. They were having none of this.

“Wait, wait, wait!” I screamed. “IS IT A SOFA BED?

One of them looked at the paperwork. The other looked down at the bottom.

It wasn’t a sofa bed. It was a mix-up. They had left my couch at the home of a woman who left the front door unlocked and went to work, expecting to come home to her brand-new white, contemporary, pink and blue swishy sofa. Instead she came home to - 

. . .dramatic pause . . .

What   was    my    new    couch    like?

It was a neutral background with small red and blue checks, actually plaid, but very neutral and very nice . . . and the style was . . . nice . . . it had cushions . . .

The suspense nearly killed me, though. It was much more painful than my gall bladder.

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