Monday, January 7, 2013

Family Room Tug-of-War

I'd like to rename our family room, but I’m getting some pushback.

The reason I’d like to rename it is, whenever I have to tell someone in the family that he can’t eat certain foods in the room, wear shoes on the rug, jump on the couch, or whatever, I get “Mom, this is the family room. This isn’t just your room. We should be able to do whatever makes us comfortable in here.” 
If we were orange and I wore ties, this could be us.

I am exasperated by this response. I can’t seem to get my family to understand that if we want to enjoy the room for years to come, then we must take care of the furnishings and such. Doing what “makes them comfortable,” doesn’t always align with that goal. 

I finished working on the room this past summer, but I’d started years ago, before I got pregnant with Thomas, who’s almost nine now. I prepped and painted the walls and ceiling, had molding installed along the upper wall, and converted a closet into a bookcase. Then Thomas was born and the work mostly stopped, except we did two things—purchased a new flat-screen television and a monstrous leather sectional sofa. 

The sofa, as it turned out, was a huge mistake. We paid all kinds of money for it, and it was a serious piece of junk. I could slap myself just thinking about it, because I know better. Generally, I favor vintage pieces that I know are well made and have stood the test of time, but I really wanted a leather sectional (I had these visions in my mind of all of us flopped on the sofa, one big happy family eating popcorn and watching tv), and you don’t see too many vintage leather sectionals, so I went against my better judgment and bought it new, from Raymour & Flanigan®. I mention the store name because I want to warn anyone who’s thinking about buying a large piece of upholstered furniture from this store to think twice. As I said, the sofa turned out to be a serious piece of junk, and after just a few weeks, my behind was practically on the floor, the sofa sank so bad. The warranty we’d bought was a joke, and honest to God, if I could have pulled it off without being arrested, I’d have loaded that piece of do-do in a truck and dumped it on the store’s parking lot for them to deal with. Instead, we donated it to a local mission for a tax deduction. (I hope you won’t think too poorly of me for that.)

Anyhoo, I finally got back on track with this project, but it was a lot of work. Our house is more than one hundred and fifty years old, and everything is lumpy, bumpy, and crooked. I put hours of labor into this room (okay, Christian and Ed moved in all the furniture and the rug; as usual, Adam sauntered in just as the last chair was put in place and then crashed on the sofa—lazy kid!), and I will admit that I’m territorial about it.

I said to myself, “Fine. I know how to outsmart these jokers. I’m going to rename this room the “tv room,” and then I won’t hear all that crap about ‘family’ when I ask someone to put the books back on the shelf.” 

So I say to Christian, “I’m renaming the family room. Effective immediately, it will now be called the 'tv room.' 

Christian protested. “What?! No, you can’t do that. You … you just can’t change the name. You’ve already named it!” 

I said, “It doesn’t matter, I’m changing the name.”

But mostly I’m just bluffing.

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