Monday, November 10, 2008

Garbage by any other name? Still garbage.

Okay, here's the thing. I've never had a new sofa and I'm not counting the futon because a futon is NOT a sofa. It's not. When we moved into our house five years ago we had a futon and I hated that thing. It was really uncomfortable but we didn't have money for a sofa. A year or two later Kate's parents gave us their old sofa, which was once very nice, but now was a bit sad and worn. Enter Stella, who made it sad, worn and shredded all to hell. It's that cat's life mission to destroy anything upholstered. We have those cardboard scratching things, but she really prefers something softer and more expensive. I spent $80 on a decent slipcover which hid the shredded bits and worked out well for a while, but after a few years it was pretty sad too, and, let's be honest, a slipcover always looks like a slipcover. Especially when it's stained and shredded and constantly coming untucked around the edges. Gross.

I told Kenny a few months ago that we should buy ourselves a new sofa for Christmas. Then he got laid off. Oh well, right? That's the way it goes.

Then, last week Kate's brother offered up a free sofa that he and his wife wanted to get rid of. We figured it was probably worn, but certainly better than the one we had, right? We show up to get it and damn if it didn't look practically new! I was foaming at the mouth with the joy of having a piece of furniture I didn't have to cover or hide or camouflage.

We got it home and Stella took one look and stopped in her tracks. I could see that evil gleam in her eye, that calculating look as she figured out what approach to take with this fresh, new, unblemished challenge. Now this, I could see her thinking, THIS IS A SCRATCHING POST. BOOYA.

Shit! Kenny ran out and bought double-sided tape and some kind of lemon spray cats supposedly dislike. The tape worked for the arms and sides, but that didn't slow Stella down very long. This morning I caught her going to work on the back cushions. I can't exactly put tape on the part you rest your back on, you know? So, now I have two options:

Option #1: duct tape up those paws
Ption #2: buy some throws and swath the entire thing.

le sigh.

But the real story is how we got rid of the old couch. It was a sad couch. The slipcover was a sage green, saggy and faded, stained and a bit cat-shredded. Kenny had recently been taking things up to some nearby thrift store and suggested we take it there. I wasn't so sure.

"Really? You think they'll take it? Thrift stores are notoriously picky about this kind of thing."

"Sure they'll take it! It's not a bad couch."

"It's a bad couch. Should we at least take the slipcover off?"

"No way. It looks better the way it is."

"If you say so."

So off we went to the thrift store with the sofa in the pickup truck. I'd never been to this particular thrift store and when we pulled in I was all,

"you have not really been taking all our stuff to the Love of Jesus Thrift Store? Really? AWESOME."

We pulled around the back and the donation guy looked at it and seemed to think it was okay, but then his supervisor walked up. He stood and looked at me. Hard.

"So, what have we here?"

"It's a sofa. We just slipcovered it because it's old."

He lifts up the corner, exposing some of Stella's best work.

"Hmmm. Nooo. This is no good."

"Um, oh. I'd forgotten about that."

"Any other surprises under here?"

"Um. Maybe. I don't know."

He looked at me like I'd tried to hand him a pile of poop.

"I'm sorry, we cannot take this."


We split. Kenny spies another thrift store.

"Let's try that one!"

"NO. I can't take the humiliation. Nobody is going to want it. It's disgusting."

"You don't even have to get out of the car! I promise!"


We pull around the back and it was deserted! Nobody taking in donations at all. We spied, by the loading area, a sad, stained sofa, unbelievably worse than ours. We looked at each other.

"How fast can we unload this thing?"


We hauled that sad thing out of the truck and were on our way 20 seconds later. It was an incredible maneuver involving strength, speed and wily skills. In the truck on the way home we were silent for a few moments, taking it all in.

Then I caught his eye and we both cracked up. Oh yeah, we still got it.


  1. There's this thing I read about called Softpaws? I think, individual plastic covers for the cat's claws. Seemed like a lot of work to me, but guess it depends how serious you are about keeping the sofa from getting scratched.

  2. Those might work if they came with a blow dart and sedatives strong enough for a lion. Stella, um, resists having her claws clipped or otherwise messed with.

  3. Ah, I was going to suggest clipping her claws weekly. Sorry to hear that isn't a possibility.

  4. I have the same problem with Bentley. The vet or a groomer can trim their claws or apply softpaws (he's too manly for softpaws, but I do get them to trim him up). The only trick is getting him into the carrier and onto the subway.

  5. Does stella have a real cat scratcher? I know cats are particular and all, but I put one near the couch and the cat goes for it instead of the cushions. Cats really need to scratch, you just have to give them something to scratch on that's appropriate.

  6. Oh, she does indeed, but she likes the couch more.

  7. Great story! And congrats on the new couch! or new to you. Ridding oneself of nasty furniture is always a good feeling.