Monday, December 28, 2015

The Sofa That Was Stolen From Me

A few months ago I went to an estate sale and looked at a dresser in the basement.  I loved it.  It was small enough to fit a still undetermined space in my house.  It was older than me.  The drawers opened and closed.  It was $60.00 - very much in my price range.


I was shopping on a broken foot.  I hobbled to the basement to find this gem in a forlorn corner as if the angels had shined a light for me to find it in my handicapped state.  The sale had just started and things were busy.  Who would haul it upstairs for me?  Where was my sherpa?  The women running the sale didn’t look much better than me as far as mobility and so I decided to walk away.

But I couldn’t stop thinking about that dresser and so on Saturday morning I went back to see if it was still there.  Oh my goodness, it was marked down to $25.00 and moved to the garage!!!  I found the woman running the sale and said I WANT THAT I MUST HAVE THAT I DON’T HAVE ANY MONEY ON ME BUT I WILL RUN TO THE BANK AND BE BACK IN FIVE MINUTES PLEASE HOLD IT FOR ME.  And she did.  

“It was my grandmother’s,” she told me.  “I’ve really debated on whether or not to sell it.”

“Well, if it’s sentimental…” I said.

“It is but I can’t keep everything,” she lamented.

I went to the ATM and returned with my money and as luck would have it there was a dolly right there to load it up and roll to the car. It was meant to be for me.  As I was doing that the family gathered around me.

“She’s taking Grandma’s dresser?”

“What?  Oh no.  Why are you selling that?"

“It’s okay.”

“Helen, she’s taking Grandma’s dresser.  Helen, come look.”

“Why is she taking Grandma’s dresser?”

“I would have bought that for myself if I knew that was all you were going to ask for it.”

Finally, I said, “Just to be clear I paid for Grandma’s dresser.”  And still they all looked at me like I was a thief.


The store I have been working at sells furniture - expensive furniture that is out of my price range even with a discount, but one day I noticed a love seat parked in the blue room.  It was a misorder selling for a bargain basement price.  I fell in love.  It was sexy-metro-gray and the fact that it was armless and not conducive to napping didn't stop me.  I COULD AFFORD IT!!!!!

I snapped a pic with my cellphone and sent it to my designer kid.  He texted back, "Not a fan of armless sofas."

What was that attitude about?

A designer happened by just then and so I asked his opinion on the sexy-metro-gray-armless wonder.  "I like it. Very urban and loft feeling but you'll need to flank it with some end tables."

I didn't have any of those but how much could that be?

I shared my impending purchase with my coworkers and they were in agreement.  "You should buy that," they said in unison which is why I love them.  They always encourage the buy.

My neighbor came in and I showed her.  "Gah, it's on casters!!  You can move it anywhere. If you don't buy it I will."

Then I knew I had to get it because if I walked into her living room and saw my sofa in her house I might accidentally drop a glass of red wine on it in a fit of envy.

"Pull the trigger," Mark said when I showed him the picture which totally threw me for a loop because he never says that.

I figured out the total with tax and geez, that tax thing always trips me up and so I deliberated awhile longer on the sofa with no arms.

One day I asked the owner if I could buy it and keep it at the store until after Christmas and he told me I was a pain in the ass (which I am) but it was fine with him.  I could already see the entertaining we would be doing with Sexy Gray Metro in the living room. The modern vibe that it would set for our future.  This sofa was going to make us hip.

I came into work the next day and one of my coworkers said, "You better get downstairs. Some customer is looking at your sofa and seems really interested."

"Nononono," I said flying on my broom to see for myself.  Sure enough there was the manager working it like a boss and selling the sofa I couldn't commit to right out from under me.

"I'll go home and measure to be sure and call you back within the hour," the customer said. 

Who are these people that can decide things in an hour??

She called back as promised and sealed the deal over the phone with a credit card.

I was heartbroken.  I let Sexy Gray Metro slip through my hands, only to be stuck with the same sofa I've had for twenty years.  My bulky, overweight, tired-looking sofa.  

The one that looks a lot like me lately.

Later that day two younger women stopped in the store and wandered over to the sofa that had been stolen from me just a few hours before.

"Oh my gosh, I love this," one of them said.  

"I know, but unfortunately it sold earlier today," I said choking on the information.

"Too bad," she said.  "This sofa is hot."

"You're telling me," I said.

Sexy Gray Metro was the dream that came crashing down that day.  In another hour I'd be walking back into the living room of my reality.  A marriage between a fat sofa and grandma's beloved dresser.  

Monday, December 21, 2015


My two-job gig is winding down and I have some mixed emotions about that.  I have loved working at the store but it is grueling for my 50+ legs and the pay is one grade above crappy.  Through these last few months, though, I have met some lovely people and I will miss them a lot.

All of us working there are so tired.  The pace has been relentless and while that is fabulous for business it feels like Groundhog Day every single morning.  The vacuum comes out, the candles get lit, the Christmas music comes on, the glass is cleaned, the bags and tissue get restocked, the door gets unlocked, and then jingle jangles open a hundred times an hour.  Every single day.

This morning before the day started the manager gave me a card and note and I got a little weepy and then she got a little weepy.  I adore her.  She is the ying to the owner's yang.  She is steady and funny and thoughtful.  She is kind.

"I cry all the time lately," she said.

"Me too," I said.  "Yesterday we were opening gifts before Maggie and Nate left town and I could barely talk.  Then Will said that next year they'll be a baby in the house and he started crying and Maggie started crying."

And I started crying when I was telling her the story.

"What is wrong with us?"

"It's all so fragile," I said.  "We all know that especially this time of the year, and yet the background noise of our times is meanness.  It's wearing me down."

"I watched my nephew this weekend," she said.  "I was so tired that as soon as we got on the couch to watch a movie I started to fall asleep.  I had all these fun things planned and I kept dozing off.  When I laid down with him at bedtime to read him a story I told him I was sorry that I fell asleep."

"That's okay, he said to me.  You didn't do anything wrong."

She cried.  I cried.  Then we finished our vacuuming.  Another day of selling was minutes away and there were a few things left to do.

Rest will come soon and I will take the word of a little boy that it is okay.