One of my first assignments in junior high economics class was to figure out how to arrange living room furniture by filling in little squares on graph paper with colored pencils.
You would measure the furniture and then color in the appropriate number of squares based on those dimensions to see where everything would fit.
In those days, it was just another assignment like the tank top I had to sew but would never wear. It was just a requirement.
Fast forward to 2013. My husband Ronnie and I had been shopping for a sofa since November. The mission was to find something high enough for his head, but comfy enough to lie down if he wanted to.
A recliner sofa would not do. We had one that was too hard in the center, making it difficult for sleeping unless you’re a contortionist who can sleep with your body in a zigzag position.
We encountered a problem: Most regular sofa backs are just not tall these days. We found out that furniture sizes go up and down as often as skirt lengths in the fashion world.
I finally found a sofa with possibilities and dragged Ronnie to the store one Saturday. Just like Papa Bear, he said it was too soft.
We kept trying to find something that was just right.
Five hours later we settled on a nice leather-look microfiber that met just about all the requirements.
Now It was my turn. I wanted to find matching end tables.
One of my resolutions this year is to be more organized so I was looking for anything that has drawers to hide our junk
I picked a round table which would spin to hide shelves filled with junk and a leather ottoman that had four sections that could be used for seating or flipped for use as a tray. Both were conversation pieces, I thought.
Until the next day when I walked around our small living room with my yardstick.
Turns out the sofa was 11 inches longer than our present one. It would fit, but we’d have to move it.
The ottoman was 36 inches square and left little room for walking.
Besides, if anyone would sit on it, they’d be blocking the TV from the people on the sofa. No, that would not work.
And just how can you put a plugged-in lamp on a table that spins?
File this in the cabinet drawer of life called “What was I thinking?”
I trotted back to the store.
We got the sofa, a smaller table with a drawer that can hold a lamp, and an accent chest with three drawers to hide my junk, er stuff.
I measured everything before I left the house and before I left the store. If I would have remembered that seventh grade lesson, I would have avoided that second trip and had the dimensions the first time.
Yet, it took 40 years for that simple task of graph paper and colored pencils to make sense.
Maybe one day I’ll even figure out why we dissected a frog.
Nah, probably not.