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Here’s a story about an antique couch, its covers and the critters that apparently own it

Pam Stone
Pam Stone

You learn very quickly with a houseful of critters that you will either have a clean, prettily-appointed home or you won’t.

And not only will you not, you’ll have the scars to prove it: scratched floors, stained rugs, a faintly chewed table leg and, most recently, a sofa that is hiding beneath three layers of protective drapes.

I didn’t mean to purchase such an inappropriate piece of furniture for our house, er, cabin, er IHOP. But having painted the mantle piece a lovely slate-blue years ago, and then the luck of finding a rustic, pine hutch very closely the same color, it just seemed meant to be when I wandered into a local antique store and found, actually, a brand new Bassett sofa, ice-blue with the most delicate swirls of the palest gold.

It is elegant, beautifully crafted, heavy as hell with its oaken frame, and wholly ridiculous in this house as it will be savaged by claws and leaking, elderly digestive systems (a cat, not mine) in a nano-second. And so the search began for a waterproof pet cover that would drape over its graceful arms as well and spill over its back to the floor. I found one online in a beautiful champagne color.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

“The problem is, it shows every bit of dirt the dogs bring in,” I commented to Paul, who doesn’t notice red clay dog paw prints. Or the tumbleweeds of cat hair that gather under the china cabinet. Or that he’s not wearing pants.

“Then get another,” he suggested and went back to designing a garden on his laptop.

The rich, cocoa-brown one was the ticket, I thought with triumph, and quickly ordered, anticipating the overnight delivery.

“Argh, now I can see every single white hair they shed!” I wailed, hours after smoothing it over the champagne one beneath it.

“Then get a white one,” Paul grunted.

“How would that help?” I said, not attempting to to assuage the irritation in my voice, “It would be filthy in a day. No, what I need to do is just lay old towels on top of it.”

And that’s what I’ve done. My beloved sofa, albeit with corners that have been slightly picked at by being used as a scratching post, now resembles a sort of turducken, wrapped within layers of fabrics as it sits quietly, only allowed to reveal its beauty but twice a year when removed from its water-proofed prison: Christmas and Easter. And perhaps if the Queen swings by for a visit.

No one else is sofa-cover-removal worthy. No one.

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