Sunday, October 27, 2013

Chairs that love too much

Cookie is in mourning.

My chair, that I have had since 1986, and reupholstered twice, is terminally ill and it can't be saved.

My mother bought the chair for me after two friends and I were run over by a drunk driver on Columbus' North High Street the night before the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster.  Ironically, we were on our way to a bartending class offered through the university's now defunct CAP program.

Luckily, our injuries were minimal.  None us broke bones.  But it screwed up my back muscles.  And my mother decided I needed a decent chair to sit in.  So I picked out a timeless Lane Furniture club chair and she picked $438 out of her purse.

Its the chair that I have sat in for watching TV and reading the paper everyday that I have been at home since it was delivered 27 years ago. It's the chair where I sat after hearing that my father died, and the chair where I ate a sandwich after coming home from mother's death three years ago.  And last month two years after its latest reupholstering, the frame cracked.  It would cost more to fix it than buy a six chairs of its original purchase amount.

Nothing lasts forever, still, it's a blow.  So I have shoved a brick under it and we went shopping for a new chair.

I have three demands of upholstered furniture.  First, the seat and back cushions have to be reversible,  it must be comfortable and three, the frame has to be sturdy. The way I look at it, in 27 years I'll be 78, and I won't want to shop for a new chair, so this thing is going to have to last.  I don't care what it looks like, but the three qualifiers have to be met.

So for the past week I have been chair shopping.  And with my three "things" that I need from the chair, I have been to a lot of furniture stores.  And I have been sitting in a lot of chairs.  Sorta like five days of doing squats.

A lot of moderately priced upholstered furniture these days somehow manages to sew the back cushion to the chair.  We found chairs that were comfortable, but that back cushion scared me off because you can't turn it.  Besides Kevin would discover it and it would become his personal hammock back there.

A lot of chairs fit into three categories:

1) Uncomfortable - these are the chairs that aren't made for humans of average height.  They are made for people seven foot or taller.  Then there are the chairs made for people 5'1" or shorter.

2) The chair that doesn't want anyone to sit in them.  These are the chairs cause you to get up as soon as you sit down.  Either the stuffing is awkward, or worse, are so high style that they were designed for people who would rather look at their avant garde furniture than sit in it.

3) And then there are the chairs that love too much.  These are chairs that suck you in, way in.  Either the sides are too high and the seat is too low, or their are sprung to soft, or worse, their cushions are stuffed with 100 angel goose down, pluck from the behinds of geese who are feed a strict diet of grains selected by the virgin girls imbued with a godly sense of luxury.  These chairs are also impossible to get out of.

I sat in chairs that cost as much as the old chair did, and I sat my fanny down into a $5,000 chair just to see what it felt like, and honestly, it was about as uncomfortable as the $450 dollar chair, except it was covered in ostrich.

We finally ended up at Ethan Allen, where we bought our sofa, and found a chair that fit well, the cushions were reversible and the frame is all hardwoods.  Sucker weighs more than I could lift.  And I figured if I was going this far, I splurged and selected an "S" fabric that added $800 (durable AND beautiful) to the price of the thing.  It's very lodgy looking and compliments the sofa.

And the old chair?  It will go and live in the sun room until I can bear to part with it.  We have two months with one and other left and if the frame goes a bit more, I can always shove another brick under it. Still, in the long run, I'll miss it.  It was the old friend that was always welcoming, comforting and consoling.   But in the end it isn't a person with feelings. People tend to assign human feelings to things that are inanimate that they love because with like to be loved by the things we love.

So the chair has no feelings, or knowledge of me, or the future. So this is all about me and my ability to give up something and move on.  I'll make it.  Unless life is scripted by Steven King, and then it would love me too much and be my number one fan.  And lets hope that , a chair that loves too much, never comes to pass, or comes for me.


  1. Several years ago I had to get rid of my most beloved reading chair. It had been gifted to me, was white, and had gotten dirty and totally shredded by the cat. Because it was asymmetrical (which was part of its comfort (one arm was higher than the other)) the thought of having it reupholstered or slip-covered seemed cost-prohibitive. But I miss it to this day . . . and still don't have a decent reading chair.

    1. And finding a good reading chair will cost you $1,000+. It ain't cheap to be comfy.

  2. when one breaks their own furniture,
    one must reflect, which you have.

    i will add that my recollections of Lane
    Furniture lead me to believe that you
    did well with the years you got.

  3. I have an old sofa that the silk fabric is in shreds and the horse hair is poking through but I love it and when people invariably remark on it I simply say that it's very Parisian n'est–ce pas? It's Hickory Chair from the 40's so it should last many more years but I'm not sure about the upholstery.

    So sorry for your loss.