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November 14th, 2017

My Behind is Moving Up in the World

I have passed another giant milestone. My couch has arrived.

For the last two months, I’ve been sitting on a molded Adirondack chair from Home Depot. I’ve been trying to conserve cash and be responsible, so furniture has not been a top priority. I ordered a couch for the downstairs area, thinking my dad would get tired of chairs, but it was damaged when Amazon delivered it, so I refused it. He said he didn’t care whether he had a couch or not. I haven’t made much effort to try again. A couple of weeks ago, I ordered a second couch for the upstairs room, and now I have it.

This is wonderful. I have fabric. I have cushions. I have two throw pillows. In two days, I’ll have a quilted couch protector I can throw on when the birds come to visit. Can life possibly get any better?

Actually, it can get better. I broke down and ordered a recliner. I needed it. I can’t have male friends visit without a second piece of furniture. I don’t want to look like Barry Obama in the famous college couch picture, in which he and another male were seated right up against each other, with the whole far end of the couch vacant. That just isn’t done. Obama is gay, if one of his private letters is to be believed, but I am not. I do not share furniture with men unless I have no choice. It’s like starting a conversation with a stranger at a urinal.


I’ve learned that furniture is complicated. The bad cheap stuff looks almost exactly like the good expensive stuff, so you have to do research. Actually, that’s not true. The really cheap stuff looks cheap. But the stuff that’s one level up from really cheap can look very much like good furniture.

The first couch I ordered was an Ashley something or other. It’s a $500 couch, more or less. As I understand it, $500 is pretty much the dividing line between good cheap and bad cheap. Tons of people on Amazon loved the couch I ordered, so I figured it was a safe choice. It had some kind of fake leather upholstery, and that was important, given that a dementia sufferer would be using it. Sometimes you need a washable couch.

Amazon promised free delivery, to the inside of my house. They sent one person, alone, to carry a couch. He could not get it through the door. Then he pointed out a big forklift hole in the fabric under the couch. I sent it back.

While the couch was here, I noticed that the bottom was particle board. That’s not acceptable. I can deal with plywood or pine. Particle board is an insult. And it looks like head cheese.

Maybe that couch was okay, but I decided to move up one level on the next order. I went with Broyhill. My understanding is that there is total crap, crap, near-crap, and then, one stratum up, adequate furniture. Broyhill is considered adequate. That was fine for me and my man refuge.

I’m sitting on the couch now. My rear end is in ecstasy. I had forgotten what cushions felt like. The couch appears to be well-made. It looks nice. It has two great-looking pillows. The wooden feet were assembled skillfully from bits of real hardwood. The fabric is tasteful but not luxurious. Seems okay to me. If I wanted a 20-year couch that would impress shallow visitors, I would have spent three grand, but you can do okay for a lot less.

Once I had the couch, the need for the recliner was painfully obvious.

Here is the lowdown on recliners: anything under $500 is dubious. You can get something pretty nice for $1000. Really good ones cost considerably more. I believe I have that right.

Recliners tend to fall apart mechanically, especially when they belong to big balls of lard who weigh over 250 pounds. The cheap ones are more likely to fail. I think.

People criticize La-Z-Boy a lot, so I was reluctant to dive in. I found some great sale prices on recliners from better companies, but they weren’t hard core recliner companies. Would you buy a BMW water heater? I wouldn’t. I wanted a recliner-company recliner. I’m sure a Hooker Furniture recliner will last forever, but do they know how to make them mooshy and decadent, as they should be? I don’t know.

I found out that Barcalounger has a premium line they call “Vintage.” They claim they use better parts. I decided to check them out. For some reason, retailer prices vary wildly. A modest La-Z-Boy which I would not trust runs about $700. Barcalounger Vintage recliners sell for over a thousand. Usually. If you look around, you will find sites that sell them for $700-$800. You won’t be able to find every color you want, but on the other hand, the available colors won’t be crazy. It’s not like buying the orange Pinto no one else would take.

I don’t understand it at all. I found a Barcalounger Vintage for $750 on one site, and it was selling for over $1000 on other sites. I found a number of different models selling cheap.

I almost bought a Barcalounger Presidential. You have to Google this thing. It’s completely over the top. It’s all leather and nails. It has a tufted, winged back about five feet across. It’s so manly, it’s hilarious. At the last minute I decided not to get it, because I didn’t think that kind of upholstery would be sufficiently decadent. I went with a model that has leather arms and fabric cushions.

I know that sounds weird, and it’s not as tasteful as all-leather. But when you look at it, it screams “COMFORT!” You can tell a man designed it. “I don’t care if it looks funny. Shut up! Why aren’t you getting me a beer?” Turn Al Bundy loose in a furniture store, and he will make a bee line for this chair every time.

Because I have parrots, I’m going to have to use furniture protectors, and I read that they slide around on leather. Fabric will keep them where they should be, and it will be mighty cozy on cool nights.

It’s a power recliner. Reclining manually is just too hard. Not sure what happens if the power goes out or the motor dies. I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

There are super-expensive recliners which are probably much better, but they would be overkill in an upstairs bonus room, and anyway, a chair like that would make my couch look bad.

I think it will be great.

I chose a recliner because I don’t want to fill up the floor. It occurred to me that a recliner contains its own disappearing ottoman, so it saves space. I will still need one for the couch.

Now I need an end table, a TV stand, and a table lamp. Or maybe I’ll just get a Home Depot torchiere. I don’t know if I’ll get a coffee table. They take up a lot of room. Couple of nice collapsible tables might make more sense. Like TV trays, only less crappy.

I considered getting a leather armchair and ottoman, because a leather ottoman would outlast a fabric ottoman that matches my couch. Oh well. I’ll just have to try not to maul the ottoman with my boots.

I wonder how Turks feel when they find out people call footstools “ottomans.”

I continue scouring Craigslist for breakfast tables. If I don’t find one, I’ll have to tell my friends Thanksgiving dinner is off. I bought a new couch because I don’t trust used cushions. When it comes to non-upholstered furniture, used is the only way to go. You can wash the baby pee and whatever else off of it.

By the way, if you buy a sleeper sofa, you’re stupid. I don’t mean that in a mean way. I’m just trying to help you get in touch with reality. I thought about a sleeper, but they’re heavy, they’re expensive, they’re uncomfortable, and they’re obsolete. For $150, you can get a wonderful air mattress that inflates and deflates itself, and which feels better than a real bed. Do not buy a sleeper bed. It’s a bonehead play.

This is very nice. I feel great. I have missed upholstery.

My mother never had nice furniture. My dad would not spring for it, even though he made good money. She bought estate stuff and things that were on sale at outlets. The only new couches we ever had were pretty bad. This one is considerably better, in my opinion.

Maybe some day I’ll hang a picture on a wall. It could happen.

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