Monday, April 3, 2006

The Married Household Shift

After I moved out of the dorms of college and into an apartment that I shared with my younger brother and one of his friends, I was suddenly in the household furnishings market. Fortunately, I had enough time to visit auctions enough to buy some of the necessities like pots, pans, dishes and a few basics of furniture before moving day came. That day, we fit what would be our entire household into the back of my father's truck and later liberally scattered it around the open spaces of the apartment.

The living room consisted of cinder blocks and one x twelve pine boards crafted into an entertainment center, one upholstered chair that sported a tire mark from where the spare tire rubbed during the journey up, a cigarette scarred coffee table and an old couch that I had from my dorm days and had purchased off a frat house for five bucks. It had once been a hide-a-bed but had long ago been disemboweled of its guts and replaced with plywood. The rest of the household furniture went downhill from there.

Over the years, we replaced some of the furniture as opportunities arose. The old couch was cut up and tossed out the window to make room for the new (used) eight dollar couch that we bought from a trailer moving sale. The cinder blocks and pine boards were converted into bookshelves for a bedroom, replaced by one of those cheapo entertainment kits that start sagging and warping almost before all the screws are turned into place.

After college, I hung onto some of the better pieces of furniture for a while having exhausted all my funds on my education and having little for upgrading the house. But gradually I crawled out of my education induced poverty and started replacing some of the furniture here and there with newer (still used) stuff. I was happy with what I had. It was paid for and if you spilled your beer on it, heck that was all right by me. Then I got married.

Because I married someone from the Philippines who was working in England, some time off for her was necessary to get all the visa stuff processed. I was making decent money at the time and she was stressed out from working in a country with nationalized health care which seems more like barely controlled chaos so I told her just to take off a year and enjoy life for awhile. Catch your breath, regain your sanity, were a couple things that I told her but I can never remember ever telling her to complete replace my life one item at a time.

Those first few months were mostly just a rearrangement of my furniture as it got shifted around, some stuff packed away and other stuff reappearing. But after she got her driver's license, something else started happening. I would be sitting on the couch looking around the house and see something that I was sure wasn’t mine. Worse, I started missing things that were mine but were no longer anywhere to be found. Eventually during a spring-cleaning as I was doing my part out in the garage, I discovered the truth. My stuff was slowly being placed into boxes and stacked neatly in a corner. This was the beginning of the end and I knew it.

I have no idea where the cinder blocks or white pine boards ended up. The eighty dollar couch sold for ten bucks after my wife convinced me to put an add in the paper. In fact, as I look around the house, almost nothing I possess now comes from the era of my college days. The one lone survivor is the formica kitchen table with the tubular metal chairs. Even the table is constantly covered in table clothes as to hide the shame and the chairs are always tucked underneath. The only reason it hasn’t not gone the way of those furniture before it is because I keep promising my wife that I will build her a table one of these days. Although other things keep out ranking it in priority and the issue hasn’t been pressed, I’m kind of glad. It is the last thing of mine pre-marriage and a reminder of the days before my wife came to rule the roost.

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