Musings from the Editor of About Our Children

“On the Couch.”

That was the cheeky name of the documentary that was never made of me shopping for a sofa. Tina and I came up with the moniker after my endless search — couch surfing or surfing for a couch — came up fruitless, time after time, furniture store after furniture store.

We had a couch, of course. It was Jeff’s, which he brought with him when we got married and merged our possessions. It was a patterned blue plaid with a flowery embellishment, attached pillows (a must, I later learned), and a queen-sized sleeper mattress inside. We really used that couch. We sat on that couch. We had guests sleep on that couch. And Jeff proposed to me on that couch — so it became a piece of our history and a sentimental piece of furniture from which it was hard for him to separate. (Not for me!) I loved Jeff, but I was never too fond of that couch, although I have to concede that it was comfortable.

But I longed for a new one. However, even after it was getting woefully worn out — I was sewing and re-sewing the once-attached pillows — I could not find the perfect new couch.

I didn’t understand why it was such a fraught decision. There had been plenty of bigger purchases and more important life decisions that were arrived at with much greater ease.

When I went to buy a car. Toyota. Done.

When I decided whom to marry. Jeff. Done.

But the darn couch??


The couch had to fit certain criteria. It had to be attractive, practical and have that yummy sink-in- but-not-too-in, factor. Leather was nice and easy to clean, but too cold to the flesh. Other fabrics had their pluses and minuses. The search became impossible.

Trying to find “the one” even became a family activity. Sunday became couch-shopping day, and I’d schlep the kids and Jeff to furniture stores. Of course, the outing was sandwiched by more interesting and fun activities, but the kids, and Jeff, who always knew to bring along reading material, had their share of visiting showrooms.

Later, when I wasn’t with the family — at some point they simply refused to come along — I would take Tina to look for a couch. That was when the fun started. BFF Tina and I go back decades. And when we so decide, we would go into performance mode — think Tina Fey and Amy Poehler if they were Brooklyn Jewish girls. So my hunt became a piece of performance art, with me mocking myself, of course, in my quest to find a sofa. Because, after all, I knew how ridiculous this all had become.

“Gosh, I wish I was filming this,” Tina, a photographer, would remark after some funny episode.

In fact, she actually did take her camera into the showroom. But I wasn’t present. For a birthday greeting video that she made for my surprise party, she filmed two Raymour & Flanagan salesmen wishing me happy birthday. I had visited that store so often, we nearly did become friends!

I did eventually buy a couch.

It was at a store in my neighborhood, a floor room model. It was a deep chocolate brown, soft microfiber (cleans easily), detached pillows (mistake, I learned), sleeper (essential for having guests), with a chaise option.

I bought it rather quickly. No real back and forth. I saw it. The price was right. Done. The timing was curious though. My father was very ill, and maybe that couch, that comfortable couch with its heft and all, gave me some sense of control, finally.

It’s been a few years. We’ve enjoyed the sofa and while it’s got plenty of wear, I can see buying another one. But this time, do I need to get on the couch to get a couch?



About the Author
Heidi Mae Bratt is an award-winning journalist and the editor of About Our Children, the parenting magazine for the Jewish Standard.