Oscar the Couch

Yesterday, the great Sass told of injuring herself moving a sleeper sofa. That triggered a latent memory that I had tried to burry of a sleeper sofa that was part of my life for a while.

While we were roommates, T-Bone had a full sized sleeper sofa his dad gave him with the explicit instructions that it NEVER return to his house. It was full size, circa 1962. It was made out of angle iron, and had the original mattress that was probably horse hair. We joked that when they made it, two guys were able to lift it, so it failed the test, and they had to add a couple of cinder blocks to it.
Since it was made BEFORE seatbelts were required in cars (yes kiddies, it's true, they were not always required to be INSTALLED in cars, let alone USED), there was no latch to keep the thing from popping it open when you moved it. The beast was coiled, and always bit someone when we moved it. From a third floor apartment down and up to another third floor down and up to a second floor apartment, and finally, off to Minnesota with T-Bone and Mrs. Ivy.

And I think, maybe in all that time, 2 people slept on it.

And now, in his own words, T-Bone* will tell the story of…

Oscar the Couch

When starting out the phase of life known as adulthood, we come out of college with the list of our tangible possessions being comprised mainly of clothes, some consumer electronics and maybe a used car. Everything else that you’d need to outfit your apartment you must buy or beg your family for hand-me-downs. This is a story about one such hand-me-down... a sleeper-sofa affectionately nick-named “Oscar the Couch”.

To say that this was an ugly couch would be an understatement. The green tweed, scratchy monstrosity came with the caveat that once it left my parents’ basement, it was never to come back. This couch was heavy, nay it was leaden. The infrastructure of this sofa represented the best work of the Ironworkers Federated Union (the old I FU). Its frame was indestructible and it had a bar under the mattress that was perfectly positioned to ruin your back and deny you sleep, no matter how tall or short you were (made the term “sleeper-sofa” ironic!). It was the kind of couch that tested the strength of one's relationship with his friends (sample quote from a close friend, “If you ever ask me to help move that thing to a 3rd floor apartment again I’ll kill you and bury the remains in that couch!”).

After 3 moves between apartments with my roommate and having tested the patience of all my able-bodied friends, I’d finally gotten married and been promoted to a new job which would require a transfer from Chicago to Minnesota. Finally, a move that wasn’t going to involve my best friends swearing at me! In came the professional movers. Following is a sample conversation with the movers:

Me: Careful, it’s heavy.
Professional Mover: Relax, sir. We’re professional movers.
Me: Ok – but I’m telling you, I’ve moved it several times and my friends are only now beginning to speak to me again.
PM: Relax, sir. We’re professional movers.
Me: Ok – but remember to tie down the spring-loaded sleeper mechanism or, as soon as you tilt it, it’s gonna fire 600 lbs at 50 MPH to the left and you’ll never use your shoulders again…
PM: Relax, sir. We’re professional movers.
Me (2 hours later): Are you done?
PM: If you ever ask us to move that thing again we’ll kill you and bury the remains in that couch!

Flash forward several years and my wife and I were finally replacing all the country-rustic / bachelor-slob furnishings that we each brought into the marriage with new stuff that we bought together. The final blight on our decor was Oscar the Couch. A new couch had been purchased and delivery was imminent. We moved the couch (with the use of a pallet jack) out to the end of our driveway on a busy county road 3 days in advance of trash collection day. Typically, anything left at the street is fair game for bargain hunters and folks with a salvage jones.

Within an hour, I looked out the front window and noticed that someone had taken the ancient, awful, brown velour slip cover from the couch. Now, there it was in all its 50-year old icky green never-fashionable-even-when-it-was-in-fashion splendor! On day 2, someone took its cushions. That’s all – just the cushions. We suspect they tried to take the couch because it was moved, but not very far. They likely grunted, put it back down and took the cushions as a consolation prize. Day 3 came and we had made a pact to be ready when the trash truck came so that we could help load it in the truck and be done.

We did not want to be stuck with the couch or have to move it to the dump ourselves if the trash collector refused to take it.

The day wore on and the trash man was severely late. I worked from home and had important documents that had to get to the post office (less than 1 mile away) before the cutoff time and couldn’t wait any longer. I told Mrs. Ivy that I would be back in 5 minutes or less and I raced out to my truck and sped off down the road. As soon as I was out of sight… you guessed it – the trash collector arrived. Mrs. Ivy went into panic mode and rocketed out of the house in only shorts, tennis shoes and a t-shirt (it was a balmy -5°F Minnesota winter day). The trash man said he’d have to leave the couch because he was working the route alone that day and it looked too heavy for him to lift with or without her. Mrs. Ivy responded, “That’s what you think!” then summoned the kind of freakish adrenaline-fueled strength usually reserved for a mother whose infant child is trapped beneath a car and she grabbed her end of the couch and forcefully dispatched it into the truck! Wide-eyed with awe, and likely a bit of fear, the driver pulled away to continue his route. To this day, Mrs. Ivy swears that she heard the truck groan, “If you ever ask me to move that thing again I’ll kill you and bury the remains in that couch!”

I arrived home less than a minute later and was shocked to find the driveway empty and my wife (shivering with the after-effects of fight-or-flight just kicking in) walking up the sidewalk with a satisfied smile on her face.

We sure miss that couch.

* [Scope] - Yes, T-Bone is a natural story teller, and much funnier than I am. If he starts his own blog, I'm screwed.


That damn expat said...

That might just be the best couch story I ever read.

Sass said...

Your couch story beats my couch story. :)

That was awesome. And I'm firmly of the mindset that T-Bone needs a blog.

Not to "screw you," rather to work in conjunction with you to make all of our days better.

Cowguy said...

Hehe... great couch story! 9.2!


Candy's daily Dandy said...

Well, I never thought I'd get misty over a sofa story, but that was literary sofa genius!!
TBone has quite a way with words but I'm still in awe over Mrs. Ivy.
You go girl! Don't piss her off or she'll kill you and you know what she'll do the remains.

and T-bone definitely needs to join the fraternity.

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

One of my friends from grad school had a sleeper sofa, and one weekend she had a sleepover party for all her friends (this was when she was in high school).

They also had a dachshund.

After the party, everybody went home and the sleeper sofa was rolled back up. A few hours later, someone apparently realized that Sparky was missing, but didn't think anything of it.

The next day, they began to worry.

The day after that, they really began to worry.

The day after that, a smell started coming from the sleeper sofa...

Gwen said...

Great story! The people I bought my hosue from left a sleeper sofa that fits the description of Oscar the Couch to a T. No lie - same horse hair upholstery, same dead weight. I had three guys trying to get that thing out of the house. They eventually cut it in half to get it out. As a bonus I think they had a ball cutting a couch in half.

Start a blog, T-Bone!

Cora said...

I have a couch that's older than I am. It used to be my parents couch. There are pictures somewhere of my Mom holding me as a newborn, sitting on that very couch. Awww. My friends joke and say I was conceived there. Which is possible. Ewww. Definitely need a new couch. Definitely!

mike said...

I like how T bone talks in blue. That guy rocks.

Scope said...

I feel a bit guilty taking much credit, since T-Bone did all the heavy lifting today, but we've already emailed tonight, so I do have his feedback.

That damn expat – We thank you, but we also like mjenks' a lot, too.

Sass – I'm kind of hoping that the acclaim will go to his head, and that he starts playing out in this sandbox soon, too.

Cowguy – Thanks for following.

Candy – We firmly agree in not pissing off Mrs. Ivy. Heart of Gold. Fist of Iron. Yes. She will go to the dump, find the sofa using skills that are beyond human comprehension, and that's where the mangled little bits will be buried.

mjenks – KILLER story.

Gwen – To get my existing sofa into my third floor condo, they had to hoist it up on straps over the balcony rail. It's not leaving here in one piece, either.

Cora – Slip cover! Slip cover! SLIP COVER!

Mike – That's just one of his skills. He can also put his make-up on with his teeth.

~E said...

So you guys inherited the couch and hilarity insued...not too shabby!

disa said...