purses and ears

6 10 2008

I was sort of productive the other day and decided to put a freshly laundered slip cover back on a chair in the living room. As easy as that sounds, it was quite the challenge. It came off with little thought but out of the dryer, it looked like a fabric jigsaw puzzle. After a few attempts, I figured out what went where and was back in business. Actually while I was trying to get things where they belonged, I found myself thinking that by this point in my adult life I really should be beyond garage sale glam and on to real furniture.

For almost eight years, I worked at a four star hotel running the business center. Hotels have to keep up with the times and when rooms are redecorated, they sell off all the old furniture. Employees got first dibs on things going for dirt cheap. Naturally, I don’t want to spend any time thinking about how many people might have sat on that chair for the years it was in a hotel room – (thanks to CSI ) I stopped at the fact that it was an upholstered chair that cost all of $25. It was just a filler for our living room. It didn’t really match the other pieces- wasn’t the most comfortable chair in the world – but it was a bargin.

The couch and loveseat have also seen better days. What I want, I won’t be able to afford until I win the Mega Millions lottery. I keep catalogs around just to remind myself of how real people decorate. Knowing that I had to buy more time, like years, three matching slipcovers were enough to camouflage the glaring distinctions and help me pretend. Even that took a bit of work to accomplish – I went to two different stores, looked on line – again, I didn’t want to spend a fortune. Those stretchy ones – give me the creeps – I can’t touch that material. So I settled on the twill.

Somehow between chair, the photo on the front of the package and reality, there are some serious flaws. No matter how hard I try to pull, push, cinch, tuck, yank, poke, smooth – what we have here folks- is me trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. The only consolation I have, or maybe it’s really just a rationalization…is that I am keeping this chair out of the city dump just a little longer.

I force myself to think philosophically. Furniture does not make a home. I’ve been in spaces that are professionally decorated – they have all the most expensive stuff, just the right look, but they don’t feel “homey”. There is much more to creating that ambiance than where I park my behind. Stupid slip covers over old furniture it is – I am satisfied.

After all, there are thousands of families losing their living rooms today.