You want to know what true love is? Volunteering to sit in the couch sinkhole after a long day of work and raising kids so your equally tired partner can sit on “the good side” while you watch Netflix.
Wait, what? Oh, is that just in our house? You guys don’t all have a couch sinkhole?
Well, in that case, let me explain to all you fancy folk with your houses full of structurally sound furniture exactly what a couch sinkhole is. It’s when whatever it is that couches are made of breaks in one spot, but not completely, meaning there is now one precarious area on the couch that is lower than all the rest. And you can still sit there if you sit in it just right (although if you hear any creaking or groaning wood, freeze and stop breathing for a good solid three minutes until you’re sure it’s not going to collapse). And as long as you put down a pillow first before you sit, there is a good 80 percent chance you won’t be impaled by a broken spring.
On the plus side, having a couch sinkhole has greatly improved our children’s behavior.
Kid 1: Mom, she took my Batman! *pushes sibling*
Kid 2: No! Mine! *pushes back*
Me: Both of you learn to share or you’ll take turns sitting in the sinkhole during movie night.
Kid 1: You can have Batman!
Kid 2: No, no, you have it! I insist! *both frantically hug each other*
Yeah, our couch is old. If it were a human, it would already be well into puberty and rolling its eyes every time I talked. In dog years, it’s roughly 103-years-old. In couch years, it’s 700-years-old. A hard 700. It’s the Keith Richards of couches.
My husband had the couch before we even met and it has traveled with us from Ohio to Texas to Boston. And so the sinkhole is just the latest of the couch’s maladies. There is the sticky and stained left side arm of the couch because a certain someone in the family that is definitely not me kept spilling martinis and wine on it when she was young and childless. Then there is the random mangy patch from where the dog kept licking that spot over and over and over again for mysterious yet very important dog reasons. And the good side opposite the sinkhole was our son’s favorite spot to sit while he was being potty trained.
And it took MONTHS to potty train him.
We should get a new couch. We really should. In fact, we should replace a lot of things in our house. But we have three very good reasons why we don’t:
One, we have a pre-schooler and an 18-month-old, meaning anything new coming inside our home would instantly be baptized in a tsunami of juice and what we hope are chocolate stains.
Two, anytime we start even thinking of Googling the price of new furniture, a $600 vet bill magically shows up. Or Christmas is coming up…again. Or we do our taxes and discover we owe money to the IRS…again.
And three, buying big ticket household items is an aspect of adulting that bores me to death. In furniture stores, I instantly revert back into a whiny teenager. Why do we have to be here? How much longer? Just pick one already. Why is everything so expensive? Ugh. I wanna use my allowance to buy books and travel. Boo.
Sometimes I worry that we’re crossing over into pathetic territory with our couch sinkhole and our cheap rocking chair hanging on by a splinter and our almost 14-year-old red car that sports a gray hood (and a passenger side door that only opens from the inside) and our upholstered dining room chairs that have faded to a color that can really only be described as “angry pink.”
But I’ve never really been one to try to keep up with the Joneses. In fact, I’m more likely to duck and hide behind my broken-ass couch if I see a Joneses coming.
So, instead, I’ve decided I’m just going to change my entire way of thinking about this situation. Because I’m a grown-up. And I’m allowed to do that. Which is why, from henceforth, we will just be known as the quirky, eccentric family with the endearing couch sinkhole that they made a part of the family because they were too busy being eccentric and quirky to care to replace it. And eventually it will be a hilarious, quirky story my grown kids tell on first dates to the horror of the person sitting across from them.
Ah. Yes. That feels much better. Problem solved.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, my 3-year-old just fell into the sinkhole and needs help getting out.