I moved to Indianapolis 17 years ago and, due to what turned out to be the anti-heist of the century, had to buy new furniture for my new apartment in my new city. In between my life in Evansville and Indy, I'd rented space in a storage facility in Linton, Indiana.
When I found my new place and went back to get my furniture, it had vanished. There wasn't a stick of anything in that little rental cube the nasty man brought me back to. As you might imagine, I was pretty ticked. Especially when the man absolved himself of any responsibility. I was young. I was poor. I hadn't yet started sleeping with a lawyer.
So I went to Indy, financed a whole new living room and kitchen and settled in. The couch and love seat were covered with a brilliant white fabric splashed with pastels. Totally impractical. But I loved it.
Then the rental place called. They'd looked one bin over and guess what was there: yeah. The whole thing. The guy was even less helpful when I went back to get the stuff, which I parceled out to whoever would take it.
The couch and love seat managed to stick with me for many years. But Jeff did not love it, and it was relegated to the basement. By the time Ali came along, the couch had a few stains from chocolate ice cream, and stains from when a couch cusion fell out of a truck onto super-hot asphalt. So if Ali drooled, dribbled or drew on it, I didn't really care. She was little when she started jumping on it.
But she kept growing and the couch turned into a trampoline and sometimes doubled as a dinner napkin. As my appreciation for the thing waned, it waxed for Alison. She loved that couch. Ratty and dirty and torn as it was. It's logged millions of snuggling miles, and Jeff and I may or may not have had a few celebrations ourselves over the past dozen years or so.
But all good things must end, and I've been warning Alison for a good year now that the couch was going to go. Each new tear or stain was just one more step to the scrap heap. Finally, last week, I got a great deal on a leather set -- couch, love seat and oversized ottoman. The couch, ultimately, wouldn't fit down the stairs, but I've since found it a good home, so all is well, and I really only wanted the two pieces anyway.
You can't fit all three pieces and still have room for the Wii, you see.
Pleased as I was, Alison was not. She cried. She pleaded. She slept on the old couch the last night we had it.
When she saw it in the front yard with a "free" sign on it, all the drama returned. She and her Ogden pals (they're equally unhappy with the couch's demise) conspired to steal the pillows so they'd have a momento of all their good times on it. Jeff made them put them back.
Then it rained. Hard. On the sofa. Somehow, no one wanted to cart it away.
Even soaked and more disgusting than it had been in the basement, Ali still didn't want it gone. Today, the trash men came and the couch was finally out of our lives. We pulled into our drive loaded down with groceries just as the trash truck pulled away.
She at least fought the tears back this time.
"Mom. I'm still steamin' mad at you about the couch," she'd informed me yesterday on the way home from camp with Team Ogden aboard.
"Yeah, honey. I know. But it was the best thing. Really. You'll see."
"I've decided what you'll need to do to get me to forgive you," she said.
"What's that?" I asked.
"If you put in a pool that's in the ground, with concrete around it, I'll forgive you," she said.
"Ah. I see," I said. "I guess I'll have to work on that."
Hannah took the time to remind me that she and Alex had discussed the matter. They've spent many years climbing, jumping and dripping on the old couch, too. She was 100 percent supportive of the in-ground pool idea.
"We'd come over way more often," she said.
Tempting as that prospect is, I think I'll let the new furniture grow on the kids. I'm pretty sure my forgiveness will arrive any day now. For free.