Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Wall Couch

Over the past several years, Jason and I have slowly been working toward having a grown-up looking living room.  This is challenging, though not impossible, when all of your furniture is used, and some of it is free.  When we lived in New York, we had one couch that we bought for $99 from Cort Furniture.  About two years later, we obtained a second couch for free from a friend.  The first couch was purple; the second couch was navy blue.  They didn't really match, but we didn't care.

When we moved across the country, we gave away the blue couch, and "donated" the purple couch to the curb outside our apartment building (our cat had pretty much destroyed it - there was stuffing spilling from the arms).  My mom helped us buy a "new" used couch and recliner for our living room here.  They were both in the brown family, and looked almost like they went together.  However, any hope of having a grown up looking living room was dashed by our rolling kitchen cart that served as our TV stand.  It was pretty college.  

However, once Cy hit about 5 months we realized that he would soon be mobile and that the TV stand just wouldn't cut it anymore - it would only take one time of him pulling himself up on it for the TV to come crashing down on his head.  That's bad parenting, people.  So we searched craigslist until we found a nice entertainment center for $25.  Ahh, our living room was fast approaching grown-up status!

Look at that lovely, grown-up entertainment center!  There are even doors that can slide in front of the TV - you don't get more grown-up than a hidden TV!

Unfortunately, our semi-matching couch and recliner had become increasingly more uncomfortable, and we found ourselves favoring the floor over the furniture - even when Cy was in bed!  Buying new furniture just wasn't in the cards for us, so when someone from church offered a green leather couch, love seat, and recliner set for free, we jumped at the opportunity.  We figured we would keep the couch and recliner and put the love seat upstairs for the upstairs renters. (That reminds me, I'm not sure I've shared much about our current living situation - we live in the basement and rent the three bedrooms upstairs to college students - more about that in another post).  

The furniture is well-worn.  It is seventeen years old and has been well used and loved, but is still in excellent condition, all things considered.  (Although it does smell strangely of a taqueria...) Plus, the couch and love seat each have two recliners built in - sweet!  And, all the pieces are clearly part of a set.  (Don't worry, this is going somewhere, I promise).

We get the furniture to our house, move our old couch upstairs and move in the new couch and recliner.  The living room looks lovely, and, might I add, quite grown up.  The downside is that the love seat is slightly more comfortable than the couch because it was used less.  However, our living room is just too small to accommodate two couches on two separate walls.   And then, Jason gets what he deems a brilliant idea.  

Jason: Let's move the love seat in and line it up next to the couch!
Me: But then it will take up the entire wall!
Jason:  I know!  It will be a wall couch. 
Jason: And, we could have five recliners in our living room!  Five!

Yes, every man's dream.  A room full of recliners.  I see my grown-up living room slipping away, with a college frat house taking its place.   So I tell him that he can try it out, but he has to do it himself - I will have no part in creating the "wall couch".  Giddy as a school girl, Jason moves the furniture around and creates his wall couch.  I figure that he can have his fun, and then I'll tell him I hate it, and the love seat will be gone. 

That, my friends, is a "wall couch"...

But here's the problem.  I don't hate it.  Not like I thought I would.  And, it is actually quite functional.  We each have a couch on which to lie - at the same time!  And, you know, at least they all match.  

So here's my question:  Does the fact that all of the couches match outweigh the fact that we have a line of couches in our living room?  Have I achieved a grown-up looking living room?  Or have I regressed to college frat house?  And, if I have regressed, should I care, or should I just enjoy the functionality, and novelty, of having a line of couches and five recliners in my living room?
Five recliners, in all their glory.  

Monday, March 1, 2010

Winter Olympics Highlights

It has been years since I watched the Olympics, either Summer or Winter.  For Summer Olympics, I have been essentially sequestered in New Jersey for the last three Olympics.  I couldn't remember why I had missed the last Winter Olympics, but then Jason reminded me that they were always on really late at night, and I guess I just wasn't that interested.  When I was younger, I LOVED the Olympics.  Of course, figure skating and gymnastics were my favorites (I'm pretty sure this is the case with most young girls).  So this year, when the Winter Olympics were actually taking place in my time zone, I was all excited for women's figure skating - the rest I would endure if I had too.

However, I was surprised to find that my tastes have grown up a bit, and I was quite entertained by several events other than women's figure skating.  In fact (and I'm kind of embarrassed to admit this), I didn't even watch the women's figure skating!  So, here were the moments that I found most entertaining, ending with number 1:

4.  Ice Dancing.  I don't have much to say about this.  In fact, my friend Bridget really summed up how I felt about the event this year.  I always thought it was the sad little sister to pairs skating, but I found it quite enjoyable this year.  Read her post for a more articulate response. 

3.  Bobsledding.  OK, I'll admit it, my only exposure to this sport is the movie Cool Runnings.  It didn't seem all that exciting to me, until we happened upon it and saw the US break the track record not once, but twice.  I was on the edge of my seat each time they took to the track, but most especially during their fourth run, my eyes glued to that little clock and the time of the German team in first place.  I was also shocked at how awful it looks when a team crashes.  I believe it was the Russians during their first run - I was kind of horrified, but couldn't pull my eyes away.  In a weird way, it almost made it all more exciting.

2.  Men's 4x10K Cross Country Relay.  Seriously, who would have thought that this would be exciting?  This certainly wasn't an event we planned to watch - we just happened upon it on Wednesday evening, right as the fourth and final leg was beginning.  For some reason, Norway was expected to do well, I think because of their fourth and final skier, Peter Northug.  But at the start of the final leg Northug was 37.5 seconds behind the three leaders - kind of a lot for just 6 miles.  The anouncers commented that if anyone could do it, it would be Northug, but they had pretty much written it off as impossible.  As we sat and watched sections of the race, we saw that Northug was getting closer and closer to the three leaders.  Just before the final mile, Hellner from Sweden pulled out front, leaving the skiers from France the Czech REpublic behind.  The amazing thing was that, each time we saw those two skiers, Northug was getting closer and closer.  By the time they entered the stadium, he was right behind them!  There I was, cheering on this crazy skier from Norway in a sport about which I cared very little!  I knew the gold was out of his hands, but I so badly wanted him to overtake the other two and win the silver.  And then, he did!  He got this amazing burst of speed and just flew by the other two guys, looking almost effortless.    It was a surprisingly exciting moment!

1.  Men's Short Track Speed Skating, specifically Apollo Ohno, and more specifically the final of the Men's 1500.  Who knew that short track was oh so exciting?  It's a bit like roller derby, and can change in the standings can change in the blink of an eye.  Every time I watched Apollo skate, I was just sure that he wouldn't medal - and almost every time (the exception being when he was disqualified from the men's 500) he made it, just in the knick of time!  His moves were effortless and graceful - every time he passed someone, I was in shock that it had happened so quickly!  My favorite moment was in the final of the Men's 1500.  Apollo was in fourth place, with one lap to go, and there was just no way he was going to make it.  I got so stressed out that I stood up and then sat back down, inadvertently sitting on the cable remote at exactly the crucial moment!  I happened to hit the button that brings up the guide, covering the entire TV screen, but stilling allowing us to hear what happened.  Right when the TV went blue, the two South Korean's in first and second place took each other out, putting Apollo in second and the other US skater in third!  Jason was less than pleased with me at that moment.  It was a very exciting race, made even more suspenseful by my over-excited, klutzy behavior!

I think the Winter Olympics has a new fan.  And now I'm kind of excited to see what the Summer Olympics has to offer in 2012. Bring it on!  What were your favorite Winter Olympic moments?
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