Back when we moved into the house that we’re now trying to sell, my wife Kara and I made the inexplicable decision to keep her decrepit old couch from college despite the fact that it would have been far more compassionate to have taken that thing out behind the dumpster to quietly put it out of its misery. Besides the threadbare floral print that had yellowed to a hue reminiscent of the BEFORE picture in a Polident commercial, the couch was so worn out that once you settled into it, you needed a Land Rover with a winch to pull you back out.
Our thinking at the time was that we could put the couch in our unfinished basement so that, in a pinch, we could have B-list guests sleep down there.
“Don’t think of it as a nasty, dank basement,” we’d tell them. “Think of it as a really awesome crawlspace with all the amenities. You’ll find ample water in the dehumidifier tray, and if you need us for anything, just tap Morse code on the pipe that goes up to the toilet.”
Of course we never made anybody sleep on that couch. But we did torment our friends by having them help us move it into the basement in the first place. It took six grown men driving that couch like a battering ram down the tiny basement stairwell to finally get it down there, with much cracking of railings and uttering of cuss words accompanying the proceedings. When it finally turned the last corner and we set the couch on the floor in the basement, I realized that we’d just added a permanent fixture to the house. And there it sat for three years like a ship in a bottle.
We should have just left that couch on the sidewalk in State College, where it would have only had to wait until Penn State won (or lost) a football game before rioting students would have set it ablaze. I don’t know if they’re still doing the rioting thing at colleges, but the trend sure seemed to be catching like couch fire when I was in school five years ago. College kids were probably just rioting all the time to seem more cosmopolitan, like French people. But nobody can truly riot like the French, who make the best Camembert, Bordeaux and La-Z-boy flambé.
When we decided that we were going to try to sell our house, though, it dawned on me that the couch was somehow going to have to come back out of the dungeon. It had become even more of an eyesore, as the mildew and floral print had combined into a tie-dye gone horribly wrong. We’d also need to get that couch out of there without help from our friends, so that we could save our moving tokens to spend on them later.
At about this time, my thoughts turned to the reciprocating saw sitting out in the garage. Sure, our stairwell was too small to maneuver a big couch. But why not two smaller couches?
As I passed Kara in the living room on my way to the basement with the saw in my hand, she asked “What are you doing?”
“We’re going to give that couch downstairs to a nice family,” I said. “They live on a farm. They’ll take really good care of it, and it will have lots of room to sit around all day long.”
If you’ve never cut a couch in half before, you’re really missing out on quite an experience. It’s actually easier than you might think, as long as you let Black and Decker do all the work for you. And moving those two halves out of the basement was a dream. We could have drop-kicked them up the stairs. Man, I love that saw. And it reciprocates.
You can offer Mike Todd a sip from your dehumidifier tray online at firstname.lastname@example.org.