Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Couch

Today I am an ace sleuth detective. I slip into the furniture store wearing inconspicuous clothing and dark sunglasses, determined not to make another furniture mistake. Purchased less than a year ago, our current couch has turned out to be a “dreaded dog hair magnet.” So under the cover of anonymity, I wander purposely around the store, searching for suitable fabric that will camouflage and repel fur.
Having dogs, and therefore having dog hair, you learn things about material. Parachute nylon-good; codura nylon-bad, very bad. It’s embarrassing watching the kids go off to school after their backpacks and pants appear to have spent the night down wind to a furball tumbleweed. Denim is usually good, but I do not want to live in a denim house. As a grown-up, I long for a real couch, instead of the usual fur and jelly cushions.
At the end of the aisle, I spot Ultra Suede. Very interesting. As I stand there pondering, I’m startled by a voice: “Can I help you?” Then before I can answer, I’m receiving the spiel about the wonders of this new miracle fabric: stain resistant, easy to clean, and guaranteed. “Sounds wonderful,” I say and then excuse myself to the ladies room, only to double back a few minutes later when the coast is clear. Carefully I open my zip locked bag of dog hairs and scatter a few on the sides of the arm. To my astonishment, it looks as though the couch is playing catch with the fur. My mouth is gaping as I witness a perfect couch landing. The hair went south and due west to connect with the ultra suede. Another dreaded pet hair magnet! Could there be above average static electricity today, for some reason? No, this cannot be. I have come prepared and reach into my bag to retrieve a dryer sheet. Palming the “Bounce” like a magician, I stretch my arms and covertly wipe the couch arm, and then drop a few hairs once again. Inconclusive. Back into the bag one more time for the lint brush and tape. The ultra suede passed the removal test unlike some fabrics that just seem to inhale the hair.
Moving on, I methodically test couch after couch. Some seem to be feeding on fur. Note to self; write a B-movie about couches that need dog hair to survive.
I do not even bother with the silk and chintz type materials. Never mind dog hair, they would never pass the kid test. We are a tough family-the kind of family that stain-resistant fabric was invented for.
Moving on, I arrive at the home entertainment couch. It has rocking seats, moving foot stools and hidden compartments. Storage bins could hold a weeks worth of food. The next Noreaster, we would only need to leave the couch for bathroom breaks. I start to feel sea sick, so continue on. Here is an interesting one. They call this brushed fabric. The fabric looks tough, but it’s also very similar to what we have now, and I know that doesn’t work for us.
And then I spot the leather. For a few moments I allow myself to dream of life with this beautiful couch, love seat and ottoman, but then the reality of canine toenails, Koolaid, and the ache in my foot where I was impaled by the ears of the Lego giraffe this morning sets in. We would destroy this couch in no time flat.
My high expectations are gone. I ask for several swatches and head for the car. At home I will double stick tape the swatches directly to the dog’s bed for further observation. Deep in my heart I know we will be a slip cover family for a few more years.

This post was written in 2002!  There are more choices for materials today than there were back then. I may need to revisit this.