My husband, Cap’n Firepants, is a big proponent of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. However, in reality, he often just Rearranges… the Garage to Fit One More Thing. In his mind, he can imagine many other uses for each piece, but these uses do not usually get implemented within the century of their retirement.
With the addition of new furniture to the house, I was afraid that the old furniture would join the other odds and ends piling up in the garage. And donating it to Goodwill would have resulted in quite a bit of Ill Will toward the Firepants Family, I was certain. Considering that it looked like this
and smelled much worse than it looked, there was only one possible destination for these pieces.
“But Wonderbutt looks sad,” Dimples, our nine year old, protested. Wonderbutt is the one responsible for the sorry state of the old furniture. He is our insatiable bulldog with an affinity for foam – particularly the foam in carpet padding and furniture.
“Wonderbutt is a bulldog. He always looks sad.”
She was right, however, because, at the moment, Wonderbutt was sitting on our old couch, cushion removed, leaning heavily against the corner, with eyes glazed over, and his wrinkly face staring down as though he were mourning the death of the only one he truly cares about – Wonderbutt.
I hardened my heart.
“It doesn’t matter. Tomorrow is the Dial-a-Trailer across the street. And that is pretty much the only way are going to be able to get rid of these things – legally, at least.”
I did not tell Dimples, or Wonderbutt, that Dial-a-Trailer is a big ole truck that consumes tree limbs and furniture as easily as a giant masticating bran cereal.
So, this morning, Cap’n Firepants and I loaded the old pieces into Cap’n Firepants’ truck, and delivered them to the Jaws of Death. And I only sniffled a bit as I watched the spines get snapped on our first set of furniture bought as a married couple at a store that went out of business eighteen months ago. (That’s when they went out of business, not when we purchased the sofa and love seat. Although, that is roughly around when Wonderbutt came into our lives, so I would not put it past him to be responsible in some way, shape, or form for the entire collapse of the furniture industry.)
Then we came back to the house, and I realized that 2 of the sofa cushions had not made the trip. And that the Jaws of Death could help us free up another 10,000 square feet in our garage if we made a couple more trips.
After I used some gentle persuasion (“I’m sick of this mess!”) to convince him that the Jaws of Death were still hungry, Cap’n Firepants loaded our old wall into the truck – and then our old entertainment center.
That had been one of my first pieces of furniture. During my last year of college, I had purchased the unfinished piece, and sanded and stained it on my own. For years now, it has stood in our garage with a bunch of other junk piled on top.
I was ready to say good-bye.
Cap’n Firepants was not.
“I just wish we could at least try to sell it or something.”
“We did!” I pointed to the orange sticker that said 25 cents on it, a remnant of our one and only Garage
Sale Fail. I expected him to say, “Well, that didn’t really count. It poured sheets of rain the entire day, and we only had two customers the whole 8 hours.”
But he didn’t. He loaded it up.
“You don’t have to go this time,” he said. I thought he might be trying to be gentle of my feelings, maybe concerned that it would break my heart to see the old entertainment center instantly mashed into a thousand pieces. But then, I realized his true motive.
“You just don’t want me to embarrass you by taking pictures!” I accused him. I had taken out the camera to document the cushions, destroyed by Wonderbutt, that now crowned the pile in the back of the truck. And, yes, I had kind of considered taking a picture of them being eaten by the Trailer.
“You’re right,” he said.
And he left. And he returned 15 minutes later without the cushions or the wall or the entertainment center.
Unfortunately, neither one of us thought of the true solution to all of our problems – which would have been to feed Wonderbutt to the Trailer.
We got a new sofa and love seat today. Not a moment too soon. Here is what the old loveseat looked like:
And the sofa was in similar disrepair.
We have our 18 month old bulldog, Wonderbutt, to thank for this fine furniture handiwork.
What you can’t fully comprehend from these pictures is the discomfort of sitting on decidedly lumpy cushions, the animal fur that clung to the fabric, and the decidedly musky smell of dog that permeated the upholstery.
A month ago, in a rare moment of family unity, my husband, daughter, and I all agreed that we needed new couches.
We even agreed on the criteria. They needed to be leather and/or vinyl, and they were not allowed to have removable cushions. Oh, and they needed to be cheap. Because it would be hard to explain to the authorities why we abandoned our bulldog in the middle of a busy highway after he chewed through our antique, expensive leather davenport. If it’s cheap, we can just leave the ruined furniture on the side of the road instead.
Our new rear end receptacles are not completely Wonderbutt-proof, I have a feeling. This is why I have decided that we will host our daughter’s graduation party and wedding reception here in the next couple of months – even though Dimples is only nine years old. This is probably the only furniture we will be buying in the next 15 years, and everyone is already taking bets on how long it will be worthy of visitation. Unlike JP Morgan, I’ve decided I should try to play it safe.
So, if you happen to receive an invitation in the mail for our Summer Recept-uation Party, you should not hesitate to accept. This could be your last opportunity to enjoy our hospitality for at least another decade.
Oh, and just try to ignore the plastic wrap on the couch.
In defense of Wonderbutt, I will say that our sofa is very old. And that we have been wanting to replace it since we moved into our house three years ago – when we inexplicably painted the walls blue when we had a maroon, brown, and green couch. Our golden retriever’s fur clings to the fabric of the sofa in large clumps. No matter how many times I vacuum or lint roll the cushions, every visitor that makes the unfortunate decision to sit on our furniture stands up with golden hairs affixed to every inch of his or her clothing. If we invite friends over, I always add the clause: if you value your appearance, do not wear black.
And now tiny white hairs are added to the mix. The pillows that Grandma specifically recovered for us so that we could pretend our sofa was designed for a house with blue walls have had their corners chewed off, and decorative braided trim trails from the sides. The back of one sofa has a giant dark circle where Wonderbutt obsessively licked the couch for no apparent reason. One sofa cushion has half its foam and a zipper missing.
Once we got our floors back in shape, it was even more evident that the sofa would be a fitting prop for the living room on Sanford and Son.
So, we decided to get a new one. Yes, I know that it is counterintuitive to replace a piece of furniture that was destroyed by your dogs with a new piece of furniture when said dogs still roam freely in the house. But a quick poll of those who know me well will reveal that I regularly defy logic.
We found a sofa that will not attract hair, will go with our blue walls (that will soon be a different color, but that’s a story for another day), and – most importantly – does not have removable cushions. At least, they are not designed to be removable.
When going over the details of the sofa, our ears perked when the salesperson asked if we were interested in purchasing the accident protection.
“What is included in this plan?” I asked.
“Rips, tears, spills, stains. All of those will be repaired if you buy the accident protection.”
“Let me get this straight. If the cushion has a big hole in it, you will replace it, free of charge?”
“And, if there’s a huge watermark on it, you will replace it, free of charge?”
Cap’n Firepants, Dimples, and I all looked at each other in wonderment. Why the heck hadn’t we heard of this miraculous plan before?
“So, what you’re saying is – no matter what my dog does to this couch, you will fix it?”
“Oh no, Ma’am. This doesn’t cover pet damage.”
I stared at the woman, unable to speak. Cap’n Firepants quickly stepped in.
“We don’t need the accident protection,” he assured the salesperson, as I tried to tell myself that throttling her would be counterproductive. I wondered if she had accident protection.
“You could say that your child did it,” the woman conspiratorially whispered to me.
My interior decorator and I are not exactly having a meeting of the minds. I’m definitely beginning to have second thoughts about his qualifications. And his personality is a little difficult to swallow. He’s moody and pushy, and somewhat unpredictable.
It’s not that I don’t like his ideas. Sure, I’ve been wanting to make some changes for awhile. And, he’s absolutely right that we need to get rid of the couches in the living room, and replace them with something less freshman-year-of-college. It’s just his timeline does not quite mesh with mine. And he keeps changing things without consulting me first. He seems to think we have a bottomless decorating budget.
You might be thinking that we are made of money, too, since we have an interior decorator. But you would probably change your mind if I mentioned that it is our bulldog who is doing the redecorating.
He shredded the bottom of our sofa, which we were planning to replace anyway. He tore apart our carpet and ate the padding, but we also had plans to get rid of that. Not anytime soon, but it was on the list. Now, though, he’s starting to go off the reservation by destroying things we had no intention of replacing. He decided to give the bottom of our ottoman the “distressed look”. That was the one piece of furniture that my husband and I had taken months to find and agree upon. I do not appreciate what our canine designer considers to be forward thinking.
His very silent partner, the mature golden retriever, does not seem to approve of his impulsive renovations, but she hasn’t done a whole lot to stop them. All she does is greet us at the door, tail nervously wagging, obviously trying to distance herself from the most recent abstract redesign. She is a traditionalist at heart.
Stevie’s* latest work resulted in lovely spots of black and green marker on the one section of carpet that we hadn’t planned to replace (ironically in the room I always insist on calling our “studio”, but to the other members of the household it is “our office”). In case we had any doubts about the identity of the artist of this new canvas, Stevie thoughtfully dyed his own paws green during the creative process.
Apparently, we watched Nate Berkus too many times this summer, causing the poor dog to go into an accessorizing frenzy. It was not enough to have one potted plant in the bedroom. We needed green leaves and dirt strewn all over the floor to bring more nature into that part of the house.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, if you have the misfortune to visit our home anytime soon, please don’t judge our lack of flooring, furniture, or window coverings. Let it be a lesson to you. Do not let your dog watch T.V.
*Some names have been changed in order to protect the guilty.