Have you ever heard of that de-cluttering principle where, for each new thing you bring into your house, you’re supposed to get rid of something that’s more or less its equal?
Well, yesterday, we put up our Christmas tree and threw away our couch. Since the tree’s only a temporary resident of our house, that means we can import some really, really big things and still be ahead in the de-cluttering game.
Throwing away that couch has put me in the most marvelous mood. It’s older than our children (the couch, not the mood), and once lived a cushy life in my father-in-law’s office at a fancy law firm in San Francisco. Alas, that was the pinnacle of the couch’s existence. It’s been a downward spiral since then.
Like the Velveteen Rabbit, the couch (which also began its life a beautiful plush brown object) fell from pride of place when it was disgarded by its original owner. As often happens, with a change in scene and the passage of time, the couch gradually lost all its plushness. Where once its chief function was to cushion the tailored suit bottoms of corporate clients, the couch was forced to toil (for years and years) as a climbing apparatus for three young and wild children. In fact, so skilled have those children become at launching themselves over and off the couch that just the other day someone was able to demonstrate that it is entirely possible, while holding a guitar in one hand, to leap almost across the living room from the arm of the couch and still sing the lyrics to that great rap anthem, Chicken Noodle Soup Wit’ a Soda on the Side. The poor couch.
I hadn’t realized until the couch left the house how much anxiety I felt on its behalf every time someone would visit us. A friend would walk in the door, and I’d hold my breath, hoping they’d sit on the nice armchairs I’d put seductively by the fireplace. And if they did ignore my mental pleas, and sit on the couch, I’d pray to a higher power that they wouldn’t have the bad luck to sit on the spot where the boys, after a particularly vigorous display of musical and gymnastic prowess, managed to liberate a nest of sharp springs from whatever ordinarily keeps those springs from poking you or your guests in the bottom. More than one person has sat in that spot and winced and then made some excuse to get up and do something else before re-entering the living room and sitting gratefully in an arm chair.
With the couch gone (to couch heaven, of course), our living room looks large, spare, and clean. We have beautiful random plank hardwood floors and, because one of the rap gods/couch leapers is allergic to dust mites, there aren’t any rugs on them. I can only surmise that it will be a matter of moments before my boys discover that the floor is the ideal surface on which to play hockey.
But I haven’t been finding that possibility all that worrying. I suppose that’s because I’ve been having so much fun deciding what object might best replace that couch. No, it won’t be another couch. (Why would I do that to another innocent piece of furniture?) We’ve been thinking for quite some time that we’d like to buy some kind of television, something larger than our laptop computer screens on which to watch dvds. Something large and thin, but portable enough to take out and put on a table for viewing, but then put out of sight when we’re done. We don’t want to actually watch television itself (the kind you get from the networks and through cable). We just want to put in a dvd and not have to tilt the screen back and forth until everyone can see the Beverly Hillbillies. Everything I’ve looked at seems so slick and lovely and hd tv ready (whatever that means) that I can’t tell what the difference is among all these beautiful televisions.
I’m guessing though that someone among you has recently made such a purchase and will have wise things to say about what might be the best of all televisions for a family like ours. Yes, I’m soliciting your advice here! I’ll take it too. And then we’ll have to hold our breath and hope that no one decides the television could double as a piece of sports gear in a pinch.