On buying a couch

Somehow, it’s almost the end of fall.

Or at least the end of the three-month block I labeled as fall.

There were more than a few things on my original Fall List that fell to the wayside. Read and cook through Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat? That was ambitious. I read approximately seven pages and cooked from two recipes (they were both great, the focaccia especially). I wasn’t amazing at remembering fall as a season of gratitude, and I have yet to find a way to keep the pantry regularly, effortlessly stocked, as Thrive does not sell cans of cinnamon rolls. (Give the people what they want, Thrive!)

But there were also notable victories—my summer clothes are packed up! we carved pumpkins! the kitchen has been reorganized!—and one significant difference-maker.

No need to bury the lead. It’s the new couch.

True story: I’ve never bought a couch. Same for Jenny. Every couch either one of us had ever owned was either lovingly given, found at a thrift store, or part of an existing set up.

This, in my experience, is one of the things that gets missed when you are still single in your 30s. You put off making the bigger “settling down” purchases that typically happen when you get married—things like cookware, appliances, actual furniture.

But in September, when our couch cover was showing a good bit of wear and tear and the cushions underneath were getting saggy, Jenny and I decided enough was enough. It was time to buy a new couch.

And let me tell you what. It was kind of empowering!

I didn’t even realize how many things were tagged “later” in my brain, reserved for a time when I had a house and a husband and a family—even though I have a different-but-just-as-legitimate family right now. I have the very best roommate who is also one of my very best friends. We live in a house with a dog who has more personality than a thousand cats. We’re a tiny friend-family. And we can have nice things!

So we split the purchase of a magical couch. And it really is magical. Not only does it have storage under the chaise, but the whole bottom pulls out with two quick moves to form one giant couch. It’s like the Oprah’s Favorite Things of couches. You get a chaise! And you get a chaise! Everyone gets their own personal chaaaaaaaise!

As with every purchase I’ve ever made that cost more than $30, it seemed extravagant and came with no shortage of second guessing. But as I learned on the trip to Green Bay that almost wasn’t and many times since, sometimes you have to spend money to make memories. And that couch has already seen some great ones: a lot of football with friends, a Great British Baking Show marathon/finale party, quiet mornings spent reading. It’s become a center point for so many good things, and it’s inspired lots of little changes that have made the whole house feel cozier.

And that has been important.

Way more important than I thought it would be when I put “make the house cozy” at the top of September’s list.

The updated couch became an updated living room that became a soft place to land in an unexpectedly hard season. And even if I failed at remembering gratitude on a regular basis, I’m extra grateful for this one small-but-big change for the better and all of its magical qualities.

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