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Sunday, September 30, 2007

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The living room furniture was inherited from Patrick's parents. It is covered in a slubby fabric of gold and brown stripes, worn to a transparent mesh in places. The seat cushion is wrapped, envelope style, in yellow cotton that I bought a few years ago with the intention of sewing a new slipcover. I usually cover the back with a crazy quilt that was a gift to one of the babies from a crafty friend. The chair (and its sibling sofa) has outlived countless fabric disguises, sewn and makeshift, in the ten years since we got it to tide us over until we could afford new.

I guess there have been times since when we could afford new living room furniture. But something—trip home to Newfoundland, or bunk beds for growing boys, or a month of eating in restaurants—was deemed a higher priority. Or I looked around, but was unable to choose perfectly, and thus unable to choose at all. Or I tossed yet another destroyed slipcover into the trashcan and wondered what would be the point of having anything nice and new?

When I am stretched thin, the chair becomes a magnet for my feelings of haplessness, the throne of everything I could and should do better. Shame clings to it like dog hair.

But then I have a day like today, when I'm able to find the golden mean between inertia and overdrive; when I've unloaded the dishwasher and mopped the kitchen floor, straightened up the living room, shaken and folded the blankets and throws, and I could keep going—I could always keep going, because there's so much more that always needs doing—but I don't.

I stop. I make a steaming pot of tea. I curl up on the sofa with the Sunday paper and half-listen to the children rehearsing their magic tricks on the front porch. And then the light comes streaming in through the window above the chair and I see.

I see.

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Blogger Jonathon Morgan said...

Those are the best days. :)

9:22 PM  
Blogger Who She She said...

I have a couch and chair like that. Used to be my m-i-l's -- They're as old as my husband. When I'm feeling stretched and squeezed, they are magnets for my dissatisfaction, too. And then other times, I'm very nostalgic about them.

Love your writing.

9:39 AM  
Blogger island sweet said...

thanks for the link kyran - i've had alot of hits on my blog through yours today. and - ohhh yes - the baby cover is looking worn too! i'm on my 3rd (cheap but acceptable) couch and chair set in 11 years - since keith and i have been together - because i keep getting puppies... nothing like upholstery for cutting those teeth!

6:20 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

Good furniture is a luxury often purchased with coin better spent in other ways. A comfy chair is defined by how it feels when your ass is in it--and not by how it is viewed when an ass looks at it. Your priorities are right.

10:37 PM  
Blogger Jen Ballantyne said...

I absolutely agree with Tom! Thanks for a great blog. Take care.

5:28 PM  

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