Thursday, September 1, 2016

One Gross Chair

I own one upholstered chair and it is horrific. I mean, HORRIFIC. It is the worst shade(s) of brown. The springs are all shot. It doesn't even have the decency to be a solid color. It is adorned with faux "Native American" accents. It came with the house when I bought it and since I couldn't afford replacement furniture, it has remained. it's been here for four different dogs, a handful of barn cats, and one woman who works hard and plays harder. It's been slumped in after hot, sweaty disgusting days in August and shivered in come January mornings before the stove is lit. When Friday was a pup she ate a corner of it. Right now it has a hand-crocheted throw my grandmother made on it. I love and hate this chair. It stays.

I was thinking about this chair while winding down from a day of trying to trap a new hawk. I set up today to do one thing: go driving around and looking for a roommate in the sky. A few years ago that would be an insane dream. Insane to think I would become a falconer. Even more insane to think a week day would mean driving around on back roads and not sitting in an office chair. But that is what I did. I had done the work in advance to clear the day. I had chores done early. I had alarms set to be on the road with a friend by 7AM. I had nothing to do but drive, look up, and hope. It was exhausting as hell.

Which is why I was thinking about this gross ass chair. It isn't nice. There is no argument to be made for it. But it's here because my life has been driven be a set of choices that prioritized Thursdays with hawks above whatever is new at CB2. That is not a knock at the CB2 crowd, either. There is a lot to be said for gorgeous home and an interior that Dwell Magazine subscribers would covet. That home is worth more than mine. That life has value. Those living rooms have choices just as interesting and myriad as any crappy chair with hawk shit on it.

But I can say that nicer things don't always mean a nicer life. My life would make many people miserable. But tonight I sat happy in that ugly chair, re-watching the Season 4 finale of Orange is the New Black and crying at how touching it was. I was petting the sheepdog sitting beside me who was still panting from racing up a dark road to bring back lambs on the lam. I don't ever wish I had a husband here but I shake at the idea of living without a working dog. The things he does for this farm should be on a bronze plaque so big passers by stop to read it.

I'm sure at some point I'll chuck that chair and I won't feel bad about it. Tonight I am fine with it. No part of me ever looks at it and says "Chair, it's time to go" because choices like that lead to spending money on furniture and not feed. My home is scrappy and may never be more - but it is mine. And every fray on that old chair is a reminder of a million little choices that lead to long days like today where you get to feel September happen to you, not around you.

I wish bad furniture on all of you. It comes with interesting Thursdays.


Blogger Erin said...

This post resounds with me. I too, have hand-me-down overly used furniture. My furniture tells a different tale. The giant, once nice, but not my style, burgundy sectional sofa was a castoff from a family who probably has more money than sense. It was, however, generously offered and graciously received. There were a few small tears in the back, but not bad. After nearly two years in the the TLC of my three young boys, I found myself today thelling them to put giant wads of stuffing back into the couch and that it was not to be used as pretend snow for their blanket igloos.
My choices are reflected in that sofa too. I chose to be a stay at home, homeschooling, kinda crunchy (mostly from necessity), mom of 4 incredible kiddos. My husband works so hard to keep this dream a reality. It's not easy. Some days I dream of time alone, time for hobbies, for other adults to talk to, to get to go to the grocery store without reminding my rambunctious offspring not to climb and jump off the palates of flour or hide in the store refrigerators. I digress.
I am thankful for secondhand furniture because even though my burgundy faux leather and olive drab canvas sofas don't match, I can relax and laugh when my 7yr old practices jumping and flipping off them, or when the two year old uses the couch cushions like a slide, when my five yr old builds a fort with the cushions that ends in a dog pile from his brothers. I don't have to frantically run for upholstery cleaners to protect my investment when my baby girl spits up or a diaper change goes awry. These messes get cleaned up after my kiddos have been cared for and when it's convenient.
A wise woman once said, "You CAN have it all, but you can't have it all at the same time." These choices have also added up to a dream I have held dear since I was a small girl. Other girls dreamed of wedding dresses and Prince Charming. I dreamed of Cowboys, adventure and owning my own farm and the Black Stallion. These dreams gave way before a dream I didn't even know I wanted, being a mom and wife. But I have nurtured my lifelong dream all this time through gardening, making my own food from real ingredients, and any small hobby that reminds me of the old way of doing things. I also live vicariously, through YOU and others like you. And after Eight long years of ugly sofas and carpet that needed replacing six years ago, I am This. Close. to maybe, just maybe purchasing that land, to build that barn, plow a new garden with a cow and have a whole mess of chickens and be able to turn my kids loose on acres of land where they can run and scream and be as loud as they want without disturbing the neighbors.
So here's to you, Jenna, and all the falling-apart furniture that represents so much more.
(In case you'd like to see my couch in all it's glory I posted some pics for you

September 1, 2016 at 11:45 PM  
Blogger Ngo Family Farm said...

I have bad furniture covered in all manner of old quilts and blankets, too! And I feel just the same as you - no real desire to replace it since 1. It's a symbol of my priorities and 2. New furniture would shortly become bad furniture because, animals (and kids!)

Best of luck with your trapping! I hope you'll share more as the season goes on, always fascinating to read about!

September 1, 2016 at 11:57 PM  
Blogger Maine homesteader said...

Maybe a tour of your scrappy house is in order.

September 2, 2016 at 7:52 AM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

There are things I don't want to share online that includes tours of the inside of the whole house, my love life, personal losses and deaths, family tragedy, etc.

September 2, 2016 at 8:26 AM  
Blogger A.L. M. said...

Fantastic post, love it

September 2, 2016 at 8:27 AM  
Blogger margaret minetti said...

with 11 dogs i can sooo relate, but i do replace scrappy furniture, but only with used furniture. I am lucky to have several places to go and be on the lookout for new(used) sofas, chairs etc.. i chooose to spend my money competing with my dogs. there are carpets that have been ripped up and not replaced, scratches on the wall by the garage door and front doors, puppy teeth marks on alot of the wood. this is their home so be it

September 2, 2016 at 11:10 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

I think I have the mate to your chair in my couch. It's pretty disgusting, but I treat it to a new quilted slipcover when the old one gets ugly.

September 2, 2016 at 11:13 AM  
Blogger Kelley Christensen said...

I loved this, Jenna.

September 2, 2016 at 12:05 PM  
Blogger Kim Sayers said...

Here's to dogs on the couch, hand-me-downs of all manner and rosy cheeks that come from a day of doing what your heart tells you to, not your bank account.

September 2, 2016 at 2:59 PM  
Blogger edie batt said...

I LOVE this.... great post - great writing as always!!!

September 5, 2016 at 3:11 PM  

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