Saturday, March 15, 2008

Today we become adults

Yesterday was a huge milestone for us. Especially for me. We accepted delivery from Ethan Allen of our overpriced but completely succulent leather chair for our living room. This completes the transformation of our living room from embarrassing waste of space to a comfortable room good enough to be on one of those design shows. Well, on one of those local access cable design shows. Not sure if it's HGTV-worthy, but close.

It also means we are officially adults. Gone are the days of ogling over Ikea's latest pressboard wonders (oh, sweet! Check out the OONGBLAT! It's black AND it's got shelves), as is the need to have milk crates anywhere within a 75-foot radius of the dining room. In fact, I just sent an email to my sister bestowing 6 milk crates upon her daughter, who's headed to college in the fall. That's right. We're giving up the milk crates, cold turkey.

Since the day we bought our house back in 1998, the living room has been a pit of despair. The room is 22 feet long but only 11 feet wide, and the fireplace on one of the long walls is not centered with the opposite wall. As a result, anything we've tried to do to make this room comfortable, livable, and stately has been a dismal failure. Of course, the puke-gray berber on the floor and the monkey-poop brown wood paneling on one wall didn't help any.

I remember we first tried putting a cheap particleboard entertainment unit on the wall opposite the fireplace. Nice, especially if you liked watching TV while sitting in the fireplace. Then, there was the computer desk. An Ikea special, I believe we moved it to different corners of the room eight times before we finally gave up and renovated the house. There were futon faux pas, bad choices in couches, and the ottoman. Oh, that ottoman. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Go to a local furniture store, pick out a swatch of custom fabric, and have an ottoman made to our specifications. Now we have this striped red rectangle that doesn't match anything we own, completely in the way no matter what room it's placed in.

When the kids came along, this room became even more hopeless. any previous post I've ever written here referring to a sea of Fisher Price was referring to the floor of this room. We'd surrendered to the madness and given up.

But then the renovation happened. And we decided desperate measures were in order. If you've read my blog you know we started off by putting built-ins surrounding the fireplace. This was our first major step of bringing this room into adulthood. Then, there was the Ethan Allen designer.

Ethan Allen has always been one of those stores I felt like I didn't dare enter unless I wanted to give up the idea of sending my kids to college. But after visits to half a dozen stores for new furniture for this room, we were desperate. So one night after dinner, I headed out to the local Ethan Allen, leaving the wife and kids at home in hopes being able to look around the store without having to stop at every easy chair while the kids did a recline test. But after an hour of talking to Patti, one of the store's designers, I realized I was entering this new phase of life.

Patti and I had a grand old time looking at different styles and colors, and pulling out fabric swatches to compare. That's right, you heard me. I'm comfortable enough with my manhood to say that. In the end I walked out of there completely giddy about the idea of telling my wife what I found (okay, giddy sounds a little fluffy, but still). I also decided that Patti HAD to come out to the house to seal the deal.

That was about three months ago. Yesterday we took delivery of the last piece we ordered. As I type this, I'm relaxing in the living room, my wife in the chair next to me reading a book, and the kids playing dominoes (the only toy) on the floor. All I need is a hound to fetch my slippers.

We already realize these chairs will be with us until the day we die, or at least until our daughters sell off our assets and commit us to a home. But until then, We're going to sit back, relax, and waste away into retirement. Maybe I can train Jessica to get my slippers.

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