Our new sofa was supposed to arrive today.
Our old sofa is almost 16 years old. It travelled here from England with us. The cushion covers can be washed in the machine, so they look okay - except for the fact that one of them is ripped in the middle and most of them are frayed and torn around the seams. We face the torn side downwards, of course.
The sofa itself is filthy. We used to have it cleaned whenever we got our carpets cleaned (about once a year or so). About three years ago, the carpet-cleaner guy said it wasn't worth cleaning it any more. That's how grimy it is. We've had a sofa cover (I don't know what the proper name for that is) over it for the past two years, but it doesn't fit properly - it's a bit too small, so it pulls up at the sides, revealing the filthy arms anyway.
We've been looking for a new sofa for three years, on and off. There were some specfic requirements. It had to have washable covers - we have two dogs who sleep on it every day. Preferably it had to have a washable cover right over the frame, not just on the cushions. It had to be a specific size - we live in a small terrace house with only one available spot for the sofa - with a door on one side and a floor to celing window on the other. It had to not be too synthetic - a lot of sofas are packed with very stiff foam which stinks of chemicals. And of course it had to look gorgeous. not just something studenty from IKEA.
It's been remarkably difficult to find a sofa which fulfils all these criteria. We've looked in fits and starts, but shopping puts us both in a bad mood, so the gaps between shopping sorties grew longer and longer. Meanwhile the old sofa became more and more of an embarrassment.
When my friend Su was visiting in February, she tried to take us in hand and took us sofa shopping. Nothing eventuated but it did get us back in the swing and more determined to end the quest sooner rather than later.
A month later, we thought we'd found the right sofa in, of all places, Laura Ashley. We'd made a big effort to go there on a Sunday afternoon as someone had told us they were having a furniture sale. The salesgirl was incredibly friendly and helpful and said she would send us swatches of material and other information. She took our details and we never heard from her again.
We visited a fancy furniture shop on the North Shore where another friend had bought her good looking sofa. But either the dimensions were the wrong ones or they were all highly chemicalised - the salesperson was enthusiastic about Scotchguarding, which is about the worst thing you can do.
Finally, I was mooching around one day and dropped into a store which is literally just around the corner from our house - and there it was! A sofa which met every single criteria. I came home and took co-parent straight back to look at it. We agree to buy one - which would have to be made for us. That would take four to six weeks, they told us. Perhaps it would arrive in time for my birthday.
It didn't. But they rang during the week and said it would be ready this weekend. A seperate delivery team would ring to let us know when they'd be arriving. This was excellent timing, as it turned out - our council was having a rubbish collection so we could put the old sofa out on the street, rather than pay an extra $50 to have it taken away.
The phone rang at 7am. They were 10 minutes away. We got up, took the bike and scooter out of the front porch so the old sofa could go there. The van drew up. The deliverymen got out, took the sofa out of the back and brought it towards us.
It was the wrong colour.
We had ordered charcoal - a very dark, almost-black, colour (to hide the dirt from the two dogs, apart from looking fantastic). This one was beige.
Back it went into the van and away they drove. So far we haven't been able to find out if our sofa has actually been made or if we'll have to wait another four to six weeks.
I'm washing the old sofa covers now.