Monster Sofa Violates Rule For Newlyweds

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 27, 2011

The old editor has a gimpy knee this week, hobbled by a brief stint as a furniture mover at year’s end.

Oh, the money we saved. Oh, the pain inflicted by age-inappropriate behavior. I had trouble holding up my end of the world’s heaviest sofa.

My firstborn and his pretty wife have bought a home in Round Hill, Va., a mile from their previous residence. She wanted to hire movers, but it seemed a waste to him. Their real estate agent has a moving truck and loans it free to anyone who buys through that firm. Why not use it?

So old dad, Elizabeth and young Michael drove up to lend our muscles to the task. How hard could it be to move a mile? As it turns out, distance between homes is not the major consideration in moving.

I returned home with a new axiom for newlyweds: Don’t buy a big sofa until you’ve been married 10 years and are so established in your career that you won’t be moving. 

Mary and I received a sofa from her parents when we married in 1978. The cushions lifted off, leaving a light frame easily carried by one person. We moved it four times. I thought about that old sofa fondly over the weekend.

Paul’s sofa is one of those puffy leather monsters, wider than most doorways and as heavy as several anvils. Michael had to push in the pillows to allow us to clear the door while I struggled to keep a grip on my slippery end. Sofas don’t have handles. Michael volunteered to relieve me, but I’ve too much pride to yield to an 11-year-old.

The sofa and a heavy chest of drawers were our major challenges.

The chest, one I had given to them, had to go up a flight of stairs, turn left, up five more steps, turn right, and up one more step. I went up the steps first, serving as navigator. There’s a divot in their wall now.

Up and down the steps we went with boxes and bundles and possessions from the old house to the new, earning aches and pains in muscles I had long forgotten.

I came home more resolved than ever to stay put in Advance. This newspaper job better work out because I can’t move the mountain of possessions we’ve accumulated. Why did I kept a boxed train set that hasn’t worked since Christmas 1979? Clothes that no longer fit? Books that weren’t good the first time I read them? I eyed our home closely when we returned, imagining the difficulty moving might be for us. I tackled a closet and corner of the attic, tossing the stuff that had been easier to store than get rid of a generation ago. Like a burr under the saddle, I’m going to keep tossing useless stuff until the ache in my knee subsides. The rest will be left for the children to throw away when they send their parents to the nursing home.

Driving in the snow

In the wee hours of Dec. 26 while the Christmas snow was getting deeper and deeper, I ventured east on Interstate 40 for the Piedmont Triad airport. Robert had a 5:15 a.m. flight back to Oklahoma for the Fiesta Bowl. All his life I have tried to protect that boy from harm, but that morning I went skating on a snow-covered highway to put him on an airplane. I had expected the flight to be cancelled. All the later Delta connections to Atlanta were grounded. Not his. 

I-40 had never been so desolate. We saw a handful of other vehicles the entire trip. A car with a Florida license was creeping at 15 mph. I kept our speed at 25-30 trying to stay in a groove cut by an earlier vehicle. We arrived before the Delta counter opened and before the TSA agents arrived. While others were stranded in airports, Robert arrived in Oklahoma City in time to join the bus trip to sunny Arizona. I skated back home.

— Dwight Sparks