Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Waiting for The One

I'm a big fan of This American Life, so it was with some irony that I remembered how I had enjoyed the episode "Cat and Mouse" a few weeks ago, as I now sat with my phone, waiting for the saleswoman to tell me that our couch's delivery date had been pushed back another month. "There's a fabric problem," she reports.

Looking For Loveseats In All The Wrong Places

David Segal

I've known Eric for just about 20 years. And for nearly the entire length of our friendship, he's been hunting quarry that everyone else cornered a long time ago, something nobody really thinks of as the sort of thing you hunt.


I've been looking for the right sofa for about 18 years.

David Segal

Yes, he said 18 years. And yes, he said sofa.

For the last three months, we've been using our outdoor chaise lounge as a sort of backless, uncomfortable couch, waiting and waiting as the promised "real deal" was put off further and further. At first, it was fun, in a sort of let's-pretend-we're-just-out-of-college way, but that quickly grew old.

Our son has claimed the best piece of existing furniture for himself, sort of like the dog that always knows which is the most expensive thing to shed on. Only with a 5 year old, it's juice and crumbs, instead of fur. On a red, modern, microsuede recliner. (It faces the TV.)

In the evening, a sort of subtle jostling for position happens as Bad Cohen and I negotiate who has more aches and pains, or had a harder day, and deserves the only piece of comfortable furniture.

Before we moved, we sold our ten-year-old couches, the ones that showed all the signs of early marriage (wine! candle wax! ) and parenthood (either you know what I'm talking about or you are not a parent - or maybe you have leather). We hauled them out to the driveway on the sunny day of our garage sale and watched people sitting on them. It's kind of weird to see people you don't know sitting on your couches. In your driveway.

Anyway, they sold fast, being large and comfortable, and we reasoned that without paying to ship them we were ahead on upgrading to something newer. We had no idea that we were so particular. Or that there would be a wait.

Turns out, when your tastes and your partner's are just different enough, you can't buy off the floor from a big retailer without someone feeling like they got screwed. Our final choice, which we both loved, was from a national chain that makes your furniture to order, in 8-12 weeks.

"Oh, I'm sure it will be only about 6 weeks," the saleswoman assured us, as the ink was drying on our signatures. She called back the next day to tell us it might be 10.

I am starting to feel a warm glow in my heart towards IKEA. Or maybe just Goodwill.

"What? What?!?"

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Grumpy Gardeners, Jihadists, and Madmen

Since I still haven't found a full-time gig here, I decided to take a week off as vacation. Meaning I would not spend all week stressing about finding a job. For me, relaxing, really relaxing, means reading:

The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of The Oxford English Dictionary
I'm a sucker for historical nonfiction, especially if it has a sexy title. Not a page turner, but a fun read if you're a word geek and/or curious about classism in the treatment of mental illness.

Reamde: A Novel
Neal Stephenson's latest. Hackers, love triangles, jihadists, and a man-eating cougar. The ending is way too neat, but it's hard to put down. If you need a book that will prevent you from paying attention to 90% of what's going on around you, this is a good bet.

The Bad-Tempered Gardener
Anne Wareham is the only garden writer who understands that creating a garden isn't about collecting plants, it's about rearranging your environment to create meaningful experiences. Apparently in the U.K. one is supposed to say only polite things about gardens. Thank goodness she doesn't.