Sunday, July 12, 2009

My couch may be ruining my life

I think I may be hypocrite. And it's my couch's fault.

This bummer of a wake-up call happened last night while I was relaxing on my couch, enjoying some quiet time alone after a busy weekend.

The culprit couch is in one the two rooms in our new-to-us house that I consider in pretty good shape. The walls are painted and are (mostly) blemish-free. The furniture -- a mix of new, hand-me downs, and flea market and discount store finds -- actually kind of matches and looks good. And it's easy to keep clutter-free. I like it.

So, I was lying there last night, unwinding, and started to think about the weekend. We'd had some friends over Saturday to hang-out by the pool and cook out. But other than celebrating the appearance of the sun finally, there was another plan that had lead to this gathering: It was a "fight night."

A fight night is exactly what it sounds like. There was some special Pay-Per-View fight on that night that my husband had been anticipating for weeks, and he and his friends had been getting geared up for it for days.

So this big fight was coming up and of course, they were plotting to hold this brutality viewing extravaganza at somebody's house. Immediately upon hearing this, my stomach turned.

We have a pretty good house when it comes to hosting a party or two. We have a pool and yard, plus a couple of decent-sized TVs (and that's an understatement) and a variety of gaming systems. So, it's kinda the ideal place to gather.

Usually, though, the "fun" naturally flows to either the outside patio or the basement, where the games and highly durable furniture live. But this time, on this night of nights, only one room would do for the fight -- the "Renee's peaceful-and-pretty-and-free-of-eating-and-dark-colored-beverages" room.

There was that stomachache again.

Luckily, I had an important event the following morning, plus we were having work done on the house the next day, so I had many reasons to back up why this fight night really shouldn't happen at our house. (That, and my husband is well-versed in my reactions at anything happening in, on or around my precious new and light-colored living room set.)

But somehow, somehow, I still wound up hearing those dreaded words come out of my husband's mouth later that day, almost like a record played on super slow motion: "We're just gonna do it here."


That's right -- Renee's peaceful-and-pretty-and-free-of-eating-and-dark-colored-beverages room was the choice location.(Disclaimer: The group originally slated for six or seven guys had at that point been whittled down to just three including my husband. This change was his grounds for boldly making the move to stay at our place for the fight. Boldly. Very, very boldly ...)

Upon hearing the news, I'm sure my brow furrowed, and then I ran inside and hid the Doritos (orange ... fingers ... guys who've been drinking poolside all day -- the horror!). Then, still not feeling secure, I actually texted my husband from the other room (so as not to make a scene, of course) to PLEASE not drink anything other than beer in there (I figured it's clear, I can work with it).

Still, with all these lines of defense, I was in shock at what was unfolding before me. And powerless to do anything. Was I going to make a scene, in front of his friends? I don't think so. But inside, I was all torn up. Torn up!

(And here's where I'm a hypocrite: We bought both our moms nice handbags for their birthdays this year, and guess how many times I've seen either of them use them? My mom once (and I know she did it because I'd been asking), and his mom, zero. Why haven't they sported their nice new Coach bags? They don't want to -- guess what? -- ruin them. I've threatened to take back my own mom's if she doesn't start living a little and using it. Pot. Kettle. Black. You bet. That's what I'm saying. I need help.)

A day after fight night, everything -- naturally -- was fine. There were no stains (though I didn't flip the cushions, now that I think of it). There was no dire destruction of my custom sofa and chair (my biggest purchase since our Maui honeymoon, I'd like to add for the record).

But I'm still a little freaked out. More freaked out at myself, though, I think. Who is so worried about her furniture being ruined that she texts her husband ground rules in the middle of a party?

I tell myself -- and anyone else who's kind enough to act like they care -- that I'm extra sensitive about the stuff because it's the one nice thing I've bought for our house, the one thing that wasn't either handed down or settled on because it was found at a bargain price. I actually hand-picked the stuff and it was made to my exact specifications, my first big contribution to our first home. It was an "investment piece," or pieces. That's what Ethan Allen said, anyway.

But investment aside (And is that even possible? For furniture?), is it worth all this crap? Is it worth the worry anytime my husband or anyone else ventures in there with -- oh my God! -- a beverage? A food? Probably not.

But then I have that other voice in my head saying, "Renee, this is one of the only nice things you have in the house. Don't you want to take care of it? Don't you want it to stay that way?"

And I don't know what to do.

Is there some happy medium where you can still enjoy the things you've worked hard for, while keeping them nice as well? Will I say, "To hell with it!" one day, and then regret my carefree attitude when there's a major blemish (i.e., imperfection) the next?

Does it have to be one or the other? I'm not sure. I could actually use a little advice on that.

The one thing I do know is, it's not really worth getting upset with my husband -- or worse! -- freaking out a friend, just to keep it "nice," right?

I guess it's about letting go. If someone could just teach me how to let go without letting things go (i.e., letting things go to crap), I'm all ears.

Feel free to offer your words of wisdom or tips in the comments below. Maybe I just need a little nudge in the right direction, whatever direction that may be.


  1. I'm sorry to say my dear friend, that I have no words of wisdom on this one. I would be the same fact, I'm still that way about our bedding set from our wedding (almost 7 years ago). I ask myself, "Why did I get it if I don't even want to sleep on it?" I'm eager to see what advice you I need it too :)

  2. So you don't use the bedding? For me, the bed's off limits for anything other bed-related uses. No dogs, no suitcases, no anything that's been on the outside world! And I'm stickin' to it!

  3. Hi Renee,

    I love your humor and can identify. We bought a new home last year and had a hurricane leaving us w/out power for 2 weeks and those two weeks are my normal fix the house up time. It has just not happened like I thought. It is 4900 square feet and with 4 kids, a dog, a cat, and many sports and charity obligations it is not the house I want to show off. New folks visiting always want the "tour" and I'm hating it.

  4. This truly is about "control". This time it's about a couch, other times it will be about a relationship, or a job, or something else that you're trying to keep in "great" condition. The fact is, entropy is always at work in the Universe. As Eckhardt Tolle says, "Even the Sun will Die". Once we learn that control is an illusion, life gets much easier and less stressful. The question to ask yourself is, "What's really important in life?" Although it's cliche, ask yourself what you think will be important as you're recalling your life on your deathbed: "I kept that couch in really great condition." - or - "We had such great times on that couch...and so many great people sat on it!" Letting go, in all of its forms, is true mastery of life. Love ya Sis! - Dan