I am a Craiglist aficionado.
Some even go so far as to say I am a Craigslist connoisseur.
No one actually says that. I just wanted to learn to spell it and say it about myself. I feel really good right now.
Actually, most people that I wish would call me a connoisseur (I think I shaved just a few tenths of a second off my time in spelling that without looking it up) really think I’m obsessive compulsive and need to choose another hobby.
My favorite thing to shop for (and buy) is iPod Nanos. What could be more fun than learning how to snag a cute, sleek piece of technology for $50 or less? I got my 4th grader a nano for $25 once. It was in brand new condition. He listens to books on tape. Also Kidz Bop.
The Kidz Bop thing sort of ruins the empire I’ve attempted to build. I’d feel so much better about it if it weren’t for the ‘z’ and the terrible singing.
Now that we are just weeks from moving into a farmhouse that will not accept some of the furniture I currently own, I am buying and selling used furniture. (The house doesn’t actually turn away furniture, but it’s a little smaller than our current place and a little tiny bit OLDER.)
The latest thing became the couch.
Let me tell you about The Couch of Shame.
Besides stalking the Salvation Army store on Nebraska Avenue, I started stalking furniture ads on Craigslist. I was shopping different things. First I was shopping sleeper sofas, since we’ve never needed one. For some reason, though no human has ever wanted to pull out and sleep on a couch in our house, I made this a requirement. We HAVE to have a sleeper sofa. A few of my friends asked why. I don’t know. I couldn’t answer that. So I crossed that off the list.
After the sleeping requirement was axed, the next priority became leather. We had to create the Pottery Barn/Southern Living look for $99 or less. That’s no problem if you are a Craigslist Aficionado Connoisseur (CAC).
So the search was on.
After much consulting with the Informinator, we decided a casual distressed-type leather couch would look good in the farmhouse family room. I sent her a few links. Then this one came up:
Beautiful Dark Brown Leather Couch. No scuffs or tears. Pricing it low because I need it gone by this weekend. $145.
Hmm. $145. That sounds great! So I called the guy. Are there really no scuffs and tears? Why are you selling it? Where are you located? When can I see it? Is it really in good shape? No, really. Is it?
It is. He said. It was left in a condo he owns. The woman vacated and couldn’t get the couch down the stairs. He had to take the banister off to get the couch down the stairs. Hmm. OK. I guess.
It sounds GREAT. Let’s do it. I want first right of refusal. I am making a date night out of it. Me and Todd, we’ll frolic all the way to Oldsmar (that’s a 45 minute drive), see our beautiful, no-scuffs, no-tears leather couch, buy it, frolic into a restaurant, eat food, frolic all the way to Plant City to the farmhouse, unload the couch there, admire its perfection, and frolic home.
That was the plan.
Friday morning, a drizzle set in. It was sometimes a low lying cloud, sometimes a heavy drizzle, and sometimes a full-out rain. Then more drizzle. And more clouds. There was very little good weather that day.
My date called about 4 o’clock.
“Are we still going?” he asked, obviously expecting a very reasonable ‘no.’
“Are we still going? Does the pope wear a funny hat? Of course we’re still going?”
“In this weather?” he asked.
“The weather is fine,” I replied. I have a little of my dad in me.
“OK,” he said with hesitation. “But don’t act like this isn’t crazy.”
I did act like it wasn’t crazy. It wasn’t crazy.
Late Friday afternoon, with a too-small tarp and a sail from a sailboat to protect the couch from rain (don’t even ask the questions about that one), we took off to view our new little gem of Lounging Awesomeness.
There was very little light in the condo when we arrived and walked in. Dude, are you holding a séance? What’s going on? Where’s the altar? And there it was. The couch, not an altar. It was nice. I don’t know if I’d go “beautiful” if I were writing the ad. It was nice. I immediately began pawing my impending purchase. And I found a couple of scuffs. They were against the back. I could forgive that.
“It had 4 feet,” the man said, as he was showing it. “But now I can only find three.” Oh good. Perfect. A three-legged couch. Sounds like an old dog named Corky I once knew about. No problem, Todd said. We could work around the lame leg.
“Would you take less?” Todd said to the false advertiser.
“Wellllll,” he said. “I have at least 2 people wanting to see it tonight or tomorrow, so I’m inclined to say no.” You are inclined to, sir. But will you? Will you say no? We offered him $125. He did not say no. Then we carried the couch out into the parking lot to load it onto the truck. I say ‘we’ rather loosely, as I didn’t touch the couch during this process. It sat in the parking lot about to be loaded onto the truck and I took one final opportunity to paw it again.
That’s when I found it.
There was a half inch rip in the far left cushion of the dark brown, beautiful leather, no-rips-or-scuffs couch. GASP.
Oh no. Now what? We had agreed on terms. We had driven 45 minutes to adopt it. We were hungry. Dark was encroaching. The weather was a shrouded threat just hanging there and waiting to smack us down. We liked the three-legged beauty. It was our special needs couch. But now—now—it had more needs than we realized. It wasn’t just a three-legged couch. It was now a three-legged couch with a small tear and a very thin feeling piece of leather near the tear.
My date looked at me. I looked at my date. He wanted to just do this and be done with it. I wanted the tear to not exist. This is the Mama’s Boy in me. Always seeking perfection even when it is way beyond impossible.
We bought it. And all the way to Plant City, I wore the grimace of buyer’s remorse on my face. Yes, it’s a nice couch. Yes, it was only $125. But we are raising 4 thrashing gorillas. In one wild afternoon, a half-inch rip could become a rip with a half-inch couch.
It concerns me.
We beat it to Plant City without stopping for food. With the clouds hanging low in the sky and mocking us as darkness rolled in, we didn’t feel like we could risk the rain. The only thing worse than a half-inch torn, three-legged couch is a drenched half-inch torn, three-legged couch. If you knew how difficult it was to type all these hyphenated oddities, you’d like this blog more. I’m sorry you can’t appreciate it.
When we arrived at our very dark farmhouse, we backed as close to the front porch as we could. Now it was MY turn to help unloading the special needs couch. I like to think I’m pretty handy at loading and unloading, carrying, scooting, lifting, and arranging.
I guess I don’t do couches.
We dropped that thing twice.
Both were my fault.
Now it was a special-needs, three-legged, half-inch torn couch that was broken in half.
I got you, didn’t I?
Nothing really happened except that I gasped like a frightened toddler and made up lots of excuses for how slippery leather can be.
After finding just the right piece of scrap wood to be the fourth leg for the special needs couch, we scooted it into place and walked out. But not before we had let 25 mosquitoes into the house and had to swat at the air enough times to need a new application of deodorant. This sounds exaggerated. I assure you—this time—it is not. We were so swarmed by mosquitoes that I sprayed myself with Off inside the house and yelled RUN as we headed to the car.
The mosquito incident prompted a new invention in my head. I am patenting this and if I see it on the market before I myself market it, I will hunt down and sue each and every subscriber to this blog until I have found the thief. There will be 36 people very worried when that happens. My invention is a Mosquito Paddle. It is the size and shape of a Pro Kadima paddle (think oversized ping pong) and is laced with zappers. The entire paddle is battery powered and electrically charged to kill mosquitoes on impact. Instead of swiping at them with your ineffective fist, you can pick up the Mos-Murder Paddle and take them down three or ten at a time. It’s pure genius.
Not having this device quite yet, we ran for the truck and drowned our sorrows in a Sonny’s platter in Exit 11 in Plant City.
I haven’t been back to see the couch.
I’m going back tomorrow to assess the special needs.
The question is: Do I resell with an honest ad and recover my money and begin a new search? Or do I spend a little and buy a repair kit and risk adding “Bad Leather Patch” to the rap sheet of issues?
If anyone has leather repair experience, I am listening.
I hope it doesn’t feel neglected.
Little does it know, it’ll get more love than it needs soon enough.
I used to consider myself a CAC (Craigslist Aficionado Connoisseur).
Now I just think I’m an idiot.