Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A man's couch is his castle

The first year and a half I lived away from home I had a roommate. It was the first time for both of us to be on our own. Each of us had a bed, a small TV, a chest of drawers, and that was pretty much it. We basically had nothing.

People don't really throw formal housewarmings where they shower you with gifts from the Martha Stewart home collection for single heterosexual guys. At least no one did for us. Then again, we didn't register anywhere, so maybe it was our fault.

My parents gave me their kitchen table and bought me a small microwave. I also received a plaque from my girlfriend's sister which read: "If you sprinkle when you tinkle, be a sweetie and wipe the seatie." I proudly hung it over the toilet, though I still sprinkled occasionally. I think it was the only thing hanging on the walls in the apartment for, um, a lengthy and indefinite period of time.

Since we now had at least one piece of furniture in the kitchen and both bedrooms, that left only the living room remaining to be furnished. I put my 13-inch-TV and small TV stand in there. But still, the room seemed empty somehow, like something was missing.

Ah, yes. A place to sit. A couch, love seat, lawn chair, milk crate, something in that vein.

My favorite aunt happened to have an old couch in her basement which she gave to us. The edges of the cushions had begun to tear, but we didn't really care. Oh, and did I mention it was not exactly the manliest of colors?

The fabric consisted of a floral pattern largely made up of pastel pinks and greens. So there we were, two young, strapping, virile, well-dressed bachelors, welcoming guests into our home to sit on our pink and green couch. Look out, ladies.

Still, we were in no position to be picky. It was something to sit on, and we were thankful to have it. Thrilled, actually. At that time in my life, free used furniture seemed like about the best thing in the world.

I happened to have an old red bean bag which had seen it's better days that I placed in the living room as well. Now you might think that a bright red bean bag would clash with the soft pastels of the couch. And you would not be incorrect. But when you're first moving out, things like that really do not matter so much.

That feeling of being on your own, learning to make ends meet, discovering the culinary and financial advantages of Chef Boyardee and Ramen, running out of clean underwear for the first time in your life, those are priceless life lessons.

Priceless, not unlike a free pink and green couch.

"I hate coming home to this old broken down apartment. I wish I had a dime for every hole that's in the carpet..."


  1. oh the days of free furniture! i had some choice pieces in my first pad and i seem to remember being really into our papasan chair. do they still make those?

  2. Did you have to use bricks or books to hold up your couch? We did.
    And after 15 years we still have DH's furniture that his parents gave him (his old bedroom stuff!)

    DD has his dresser and one of the matteresses, DH uses the nightstand and then the desk is in the guest room.

    I would like to get DD a bedroom set, but it will probably not come until she's tired of the plastic castle bed...which at age 9 could be any second!

  3. I left a message and got an error, I see it didn't take. So will try again.

    Thanks for stopping by. Sorry I haven't been around to yours for quite some time. Had some health problems the end of Dec. through April and just now starting to feel a lot better. I have found as I get older it takes longer to snap back.

    Your first apartment sounds like our sons did way back about 30 years ago. Hard to believe but he turned 50 this past May. And thank goodness he no logner has any of the old stuff.

  4. LOL!
    My first place was mine and T's-
    and we had hand-me-down everything, even the dishes!
    But the couch and rocker matched, and the coffee tables and end tables matched too. It was 1989 and we were living large in the living room from about 1960 :)
    It was ok...for a while.

    Turns out that the brass lamps we inherited are worth a pretty penny, but they are still in the attic- I can't seem to let them go.

    Nothing in the new house remains from those days...it was all passed on to others who needed something for their new place.

    Oh Bone...what a trip down memory lane I just had :) 5 yrs older than you, but heavens...it seems like 50!
    Hugs friend :)

  5. Sizzle: Well, I had to google what one was, but yes, they definitely still make those. Someone I know has one... uh... I just can't place who it is.

    Renee: Aww, I still have a chest of drawers I had since I lived at home. And I still have that same kitchen table that my parents gave me when I first moved out.

    Ooo, a castle bed!?!? Nah, I think you're good for at least a couple more years on that, not that I know the first thing about kids :)

    Patty: I'm sure glad to hear that you're feeling better. There's nothing like that first apartment.

    Mayden: I'm pretty sure all our dishes were given to us, as well. I think we had like one sauce pan, two bowls, you get the idea :)

    Aww, glad I could assist on your trip down memory lane. I don't think we passed the pink and green couch on to anyone else. I don't think we could find anyone who wanted/needed it. We were the end of the line for it.

  6. I lived in fifteen places in seven years. Saw many couches from the Salvation Army or whatever charity second hand store I lived near

    Love the description of your couch
    People don't really throw formal housewarmings where they shower you with gifts from the Martha Stewart home collection for single heterosexual guys.

    They don't for single women either. Have a friend who wanted to begin a movement that all single people automatically receive housewarming gifts--no matter how long they've lived at their house--as long as it's not with their parents--at 30

    I can't believe that you had a if sprinkle when you tinkle sign up--and were probably proud of it

  7. i was a fan of milk crates,, the bed sat on them,, they were a wonderful dresser,, end tables shelving units.. ah yes,, the days of me and my milk crates.....

  8. Milk crates and cinderblocks... we could make ANYTHING out of them. They were the IN thing when we had our first place, and were a helluva lot better looking than the ORANGE couch his mom coughed up. (Not surprised she didn't want it anymore... it gave me indigestion every time I looked at it). Those were the days...

  9. We had a similar couch in college. It made the rounds with our group of friends. Massive, over-stuffed and orange corduroy. Unfortunately, it had to be exiled to the curb where it stayed for five weeks until Waste Management finally took it when an unsavory house guest took it upon themselves to have "relations" on it. *sigh* People have no respect for other people's belongings . . or the memories attached to them. I should post about that couch. Aww, how cute, you're my inspiration! :) I can just hear Peter Cetera.

    As for the wall art. . HA! You guys were typical bachelors.

    I think it was the only thing hanging on the walls in the apartment for, um, a lengthy and indefinite period of time.

    Indefinite, eh? Hmmmm. If I had to warrant a guess, I would think there's still no wall art in the Bone household. :) Just a guess, though.

  10. I'm 43 and still have hand me down furniture from grandmas and aunts and cousins and ex-laws and I just can't get rid of it.

    maybe I'll send it to you :)

  11. Pia: I'll back that movement. I mean, I get invitations to other people's housewarmings. How come no one ever gave me one?!

    Paisley: I concur. Milk crates are one of the most underrated and versatile products in history.

    Gay: Orange? Wow, I think I'd prefer the pink and green :) And those were the days...

    Avery Laine: Do you ever see someone's couch on the side of the road--it's got holes all in it, it's missing a cushion, etc.--and think, this was their couch until just a few days ago?

    If I had to warrant a guess, I would think there's still no wall art in the Bone household

    That may or may not be a good guess. I mean, I'm waiting for that perfect piece, you know? O:)

    Shelby: Aww, my dresser and entertainment center are hand-me-downs. Oh, and my coffee table. But they only get better with age, or something.

  12. Oh wow...this brought back memories. My roommate and I shared a one-room studio, and we each had a mattress on the floor and a chest-of-drawers. That was it! Oh, I think there was a small table with two chairs for eating our granola bars and cheese. Good times, good times. *walks away inhale whistling* :~)

  13. I kept two of the wooden legs to first couch I owned, and turned them into ring clamps (a thing that keeps rings still without scuffing them), like my dad did with one of the legs from his grandmother's old couch.

  14. Oh the memories! Finding furniture on the street and spray painting it black lacquer to give it that hip 80's look! And really, who needs a bed frame? A box spring and a mattress are all you really need.

  15. After a hurricane ruined our furniture, my mother-in-law called to say she had a client with a sofa and large chair dirt cheap she would buy for us and deliver. Excitement turned to tears when I saw in-your-face, bright red, over-sized flowers on gold textured material that looked like something from a sleazy movie -- No, not tears of joy - and we lived with those things for many years. (Yes, we were grateful we weren't sitting on terrazzo floors.) Where would we all be without furniture stories to tell?

  16. Oh I remember those days. One day we SCORED since we happened to walk past an apartment complex redoing the living rooms. Free sectionals for all! Of course, those were also the days where no one had a car. Sectionals are a tad heavy to carry for five blocks... so I hear.

  17. ah, I remember those days. The good news is that your old red bean bag chair had probably faded so that it didn't clash with the couch!

    One of my first furniture purchases were planks and cinder blocks--to make book cases!

  18. Fortunately, when I first moved out, I moved in with a girlfriend and she pretty much had the entire apt. decorated except for my room. I had bought a new bed and a chest of drawers and a bedside stand. I had a small tv too. It was sweet!! Come to think of it, I think I'm still using most of that and it's been a good 5-6 years since I first moved out. ;P

  19. My first apartment was awesome. I wish I had never moved from that place. 777 sq ft for $395/month in 1993. Rock on. My first couch was really a love seat. Which was actually older than me. My grandparents gave it to my mom, who, when my sister was born in 1985, recovered it in some kind of slick cottony red material, with ruffles. I didn't have a TV for the first 6 months until my parents got me one for Christmas. A hand-me-down desk and table and my bedroom furniture was all I owned. Moving was so easy. Now when I think about moving, I cringe when I think about how much it's going to cost to pay someone to do it.

  20. Nothing like the first days on your own to make you appreciate life. I honestly have no idea how we managed in our $200 cracker box apartment and $200 car payment. (Oh for the days of a low car payment...)

  21. *sigh* Nothing in my house matches, and most of it was free. Please tell me it gets better!

  22. yes! the good old days!!!!

    The first time I lived on my own, I had black leather furniture (that i bought), but my apartment had green shag carpet and PINK kitchen sink, bathtub, and bathroom sink/counter.

    it was a decorators nightmare!

  23. Fledgling Poet: You could afford cheese?!?! :) No, I'm kidding. I would sacrifice something else in order to have cheese. I had to have cheese to melt on top of my chicken pot pies.

    GirlFPS: Well, that's very creative. I can never think to do things like that.

    Scarlet Hip: Black lacquer never goes out of style!!! Does it?
    I haven't had a headboard since I was like twelve.

    Marcia: I think I've seen that particular sleazy movie! :) Wow, this is turning into Free Furniture Confessions.

    Charlotta-love: Oh man, a sectional!!! That must have been like discovering the Fountain of Youth. I had one friend who had a sectional. It seated like twelve people! Or three lying down.

    Sage: The bean bag was great. We really should have just furnished the entire living room in bean.

    Carnealian: I've had the TV in my bedroom for... wow... probably fifteen years.

    Lass: My second couch was a love seat! :) It doesn't get any easier than moving out that first time. Sigh.

    Kontan: They were simpler times, the early nineties. Ah, the good ol' days :)

    Jen: Well, it depends on your definition of better. Yes, things begin to match, but they also tend to stop being free :)

    Kerry: Ooo, green shag carpet!! That's good stuff. My first apartment had an asparagus green fridge and a Dodge Dart yellow stove.