I consider anything over $100 out of my mental capacity to purchase alone.
Computers, cars, houses, couches.
There is this man in a short sleeved buttoned up shirt, the kind of shirt guys wear who never have to wear button up shirts, until they are suddenly faced with the need to buy something to wear to a funeral.
His name was Howard. His sole responsibility for his entire shift was to sell me something to sit on.
I have a wonderful couch and chair at home. Leather. It’s the number one tip I give to all new parents, buy leather. You can wipe it, it doesn’t stain, it deflects body fluid. Too well, it seems, as Jude’s last bout with stomach flu sent puke beyond the wipable leather seat to the fabric backing below.
To say the couch smells like vomit would be an understatement.
It’s kind of like being on some sort of flamboyant Swedish game show, where people throw up on your face and you win, like, money and salty meat product.
I’ve scrubbed and squirted and sucked, but the smell goes nowhere…except in my nose holes. Which is problematic, because I was just recently puking my guts out also, and the memories are still too fresh to relive them on a daily basis in my living room watching Richard Dawson on Match Game.
So with no further options, and the cost of cleaning a leather couch being as much as, well, a leather couch, we decided to cut our losses and buy a new set.
Admittedly, the day after Christmas is not the best day to go anywhere…aside from the bar.
So we started there.
It took three margaritas, a plate of huevos rancheros and 75 minutes of me explaining Hunger Games to Andy, to psych me up for the purchase.
I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but the part that enjoys shopping is broken. It’s awkward for me to stand there wanting to buy things from people who want to charge me lots of money for those things, when I would much rather not pay them that money, and be at home explaining Goonies to my kids.
But the thing is, if I left furniture shopping up to my husband, we’d have a room full of those massaging leather chairs from Sharper Image. And sure, they’re fun for like, 30 minutes, but then it just gets annoying. I can’t climax and watch Wolf Blitzer at the same time. It’s against nature.
So, we show up at the furniture store, and it was packed, mostly with those annoying couples who spent the holidays deciding to move in together and wandered around the store saying things like…does this couch look like us? I mean, does it capture the essence of what we emit, like, as a couple? Would you be friends with us if we had this couch, or would you, like, be nice to us when we’re with mutual friends, but then not show up to our dinner parties because the couch makes you uncomfortable inside?
Howard met us at the glass doors, and I am not sure if it was the tequila Andy force fed me, or some residual Christmas spirit, but I felt super confident. We’d been browsing furniture stores for a week, and we had all kinds of sale people try and help us, some of them really pushy, others acting like they totally didn’t even care if they sold us anything, because they already have a whole building of couches, and none of them smell like stomach bile. I always left the same way, pretending to like something, making them write it down on a card so I totally would remember the name, and then make up some excuse to leave but promise to be back.
But not this time. Howard looked like my mom’s friend’s boyfriend Tony who secretly sold pot. Kinda old, not super bright, and a look of desperation that said, I am one failed couch sale away from moving back in with my sick mother and her medical alert bracelet.
I liked Howard, but I couldn’t let him know that, so in my head I decided I had to role play with him like maybe I was the furniture salesman, and he was the scared shopper, I don’t know, it’s confusing to write out…it was a much more solid plan in my head at the time.
It got off to a rough start.
Hi folks, my name is Howard. Anything in particular you are looking for today?
Anything in particular YOU are looking for today, How-ARD?
Immediately, Andy pulls me aside, realizing his plan to relax me with booze is backfiring.
Stop. You have to be normal here.
I am being normal, Andy. This is how you play hard ball, throw them off guard, take control of the situation.
Really? Because it sounds like you are trying to solicit sex from him right now.
Ok, new tactic.
Listen Howard, we’re going to buy a couch from you today, and we want to spend only this many dollars. (I hold up 8 fingers.)
No Howard, pretend each of these fingers is a hundred dollar bill, except don’t get your hopes up, because I don’t have hundred dollar bills on me, I’m not a rapper, Howard, I’m a person. A person who will be paying you with her Visa Debit Card.
Andy pulls me aside again.
What the hell, Andy, do you not want to buy a couch today?
No, I don’t actually. I thought giving you a couple drinks would make you less awkward, but you’re acting really weird, you can’t control the volume of your voice, and frankly, I think you’re making Howard uncomfortable.
Fine, you handle this.
We turn around to Howard, but before Andy can diffuse the situation with his boringness, I’m all, show me the couches, Howard. Show ME the couches!
What the hell is wrong with you?
I Jerry Maguire’d him, Andy. It totally worked in that movie.
He’s created a monster.
We looked at a lot of living room sets, and I remember saying things like…
I know we said we’d get something practical, but these giant hand shaped chairs are conversation pieces.
There is no way I can tell if this couch is going to work out with my pants zipped.
Do you make rubber sectionals?
Why don’t we just get a bunch of really interesting coffee tables, and when people come over and are like, WHERE’S THE FURNITURE, we can be like, THERE ARE PEOPLE IN AFRICA THAT DON’T HAVE COUCHES, ASSHOLE. So it’d be like a political statement.
I have absolutely no clear memory of what we ordered, and Andy is still not speaking to me.
I am honestly afraid the furniture store is going to pull up to my house today and deliver a set of bunk beds and the giant acorn painting I told Howard I needed when Andy was in the bathroom, because I said I didn’t want to live in a house that doesn’t have nuts on the wall.
If that happens…I call top.