Why NASA will never let me order furniture

imageIt wasn’t until dragging our furniture onto the patio during our spring cleaning that I realized our couches looked like they were purchased from a crackhouse garage sale. After years of having the dogs rub themselves along the front, and motionless teenagers planted on the cushions for hours at a time, they were dirty, lumpy and misshapen.

And so were our couches.

After a discussion about the merits of keeping our old set and the cost of replacing them with a new one, my wife and I decided to go ahead and get rid of our old sofa and love seat.

Total elapsed time of this conversation: 11 seconds.

That includes the eight seconds we spent covering the couches with a tarp so no one else would see them. Naturally, before going to the furniture store, I needed to measure the wall and floor space in the livingroom to ensure we wouldn’t order the wrong size couches and end up having a conversation like this:

Me: Honey, would you like me to grab you a soda from the fridge?
My wife: Only if you’re going that way.
Me: It’s no trouble. The other end of the couch is in the kitchen anyway. 

Admittedly, I am not a numbers person. While some people are able to solve complex mathematical equations dealing with numerical sequences and the square root of a hypotenuse triangle, others, like myself, still haven’t figured out the correct way to read a tape measure:

Hmmm, looks like exactly seven feet, eight inches — plus about three little lines…

As you can imagine, me determining square footage was like calculating a trajectory for orbiting the planet Mars. So I turned to the Internet for help. It was there that I found an actual grade school math activity called “Henry Carpets the Classroom,” which teaches seventh graders how to calculate square footage. It was thanks to this website that I was able to determine the correct measurements by hiring a seventh grader to do it for me.

I am not ashamed of this.

I know full well my wife will find out when she balances our account at the end of the month and finds a check written to “Billy Schlependorf, Jr.” with the memo: Carpet consultant.

But hey, as man of the house I have nothing to hide!

Well… except for those ugly couches.




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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

56 thoughts on “Why NASA will never let me order furniture”

    1. That could be the name of our construction company, Lynn! “Three Little Lines Construction.” (Or our street name if we decide to sell cocaine…)

  1. Just so you know, I buy ALL my furniture from Crackheads R Us. It’s pre-broken in, and in some case, pre-broke, period. Saves the dogs AND my husband a lot of time. Plus, I don’t have to scream at anyone for puking on the cushions. (Mark hates when I do that. Claims he’s only missed the floor that one time. Yeah, right.)

      1. Good idea. Not that I wouldn’t toss a blanket over the couch in your honor, but then again, who knows where the blankets have been? I’m just sayin’….

  2. Bwahaha! funny post Ned. Couches are probably the largest things in the house that we have to move regularly. As such, they are kind of an exception. Ha! Your story reminded me of moving a couch for a friend – Penny. She had bought a new couch and wanted the old one thrown out. I enlisted the help of a friend and co-worker -David – and borrowed a van. I told her I would have to borrow the van and she replied that she knew that a couch wouldn’t fit in a car because she learned that in university. Ha! i asked her if that was decorating 101 and she replied snottily that is was moving into the dorm. Penny was a single Mom living in a third floor walk-up – AArgh! Anyway, the furniture store would let us throw the old couch in their garbage bin if we picked up the new one. So David and I arrived at Penny’s with the van, took one look at the couch – which was actually a hide-a-bed – and realized we had a chore ahead of us. David, ever the problem-solver, suggested we just heave it off the rear balcony into the parking lot below. There were a set of stairs down from the balcony, so we perched the couch on the railing and he held it while I ran down and blocked the entrance with the van. He heaved it and it tumbled three stories down landing on one corner, splitting apart and disgorging oodles of loose change. I ran over and started collecting change to give back to Penny while David leaned over the railing having a smoke while he quipped: “Paul, this is a pay week, you don’t have to do that.” Ha!

    1. I haven’t done that with a furniture, but I remember once dropping a Christmas tree off a fourth story balcony so that we wouldn’t have to sweep and vacuum a trail of dry needles off 200 feet of hallways and stairwells.

      1. It was a lot of fun X. When I was going to university, Dalhousie bought a nearby high rise (Fenwick Towers) to use as a dorm.It was in tax arrears and they got it for an excellent price. The problem was that it was 33 stories high and each apt had a balcony. Wild Students + beer + parties +cheap furniture + 33rd floor balcony = many experiments in gravity (is it true that an armchair falls at the same rate as couch?) It got so bad that they had to chain off the area under the balconies and seal the doors of every balcony from the inside. But before they did that it was a fun Saturday night to sit on the lawn with a case of beer and see what came off the balconies. Bwahahaha! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fenwick_Tower_(Halifax)

              1. I took Arson Investigation training as part of my firefighter II certification. I know a few tricks to throw the scent off your trail. Like leaving a charred note that says “The neighbor did it.”

  3. I used to have a difficult relationship with math and wanted a divorce, but we found a good counsellor and now everything is peachy. In other words, I finally couldn’t escape it any more and had to learn it. I thought it would kill me. It did. I am talking to you from ghostland.

    1. Like the university prof who entered his algebra class to find the following written on the blackboard:

      “Please stop asking us to find your ex. She’s left and she isn’t coming back.”

  4. LOL 😀 You gave a great laugh today…thank you☆ You know what…at the end of the day you got the job done and that is what matters most. And at the same you are keeping Billy Jr. busy and doing what he loves. So you are indeed the man :).

    If I do need a consultant…I will come looking for you…because you have demonstrated you know what your limitations are and know when to get help and how to find the right person☆ Cheers.

    P.S. By the way, glad I found you from Kate’s reblog.

    1. Thanks so much, and I’m so glad I could provide a laugh 😉 Feel free to contact me in the event of a major mathematical situation. Not that I can help. But I know a kid…

  5. Sorry, ground floor. Most people only have one white elephant. I have two – white leather elephants. If I had a balcony, I could throw them off and make it look like suicide.

  6. Hahaha – the bit about the teenagers/couch being ‘dirty, lumpy and misshapen’ reminds me of a very old joke an old time comedian Tommy Cooper (British).
    ‘The missus and I decided that we needed to clean the attic out, so we went up there – dirty, filthy, covered in cobwebs – still, she’s good to the kids’. :0)

  7. Hehehehe… I just did a calculation the other day. Then both of my kids (13 and 9 to be) looked at me in disbelief. It was then when they realized that Mom is actually not the super brain they always thought I would be… Anyway… I still claim it was due to jetlag… they bought it… I think…

    1. Hahaha! That’s about the age my oldest teens (now 17, 16 and 15) figured out they should go to mom for math questions. I’m their writing/English go-to guy only. Once we all understood that, life got a lot easier 😉

      1. I think we need to get that sorted… Actually Dad is the go to guy anyway as he is the teacher in our homeschooling house… I’m the cook, the cleaner and the person that organizes the fun stuff 😉

  8. Don’t forget to have the kid measure your front door. I got a great deal on a giant discontinued leather couch a few years ago, and my neighbor and I did a Laurel and Hardy routine for a while trying to get the thing in the house for several minutes. Then he went home and ate supper with the family while I took my picture window out of the living room wall. I’ve since put in a bigger door.
    AS usual, you put a chuckle in my day, Ned.

    1. Hahaha! Many years ago, I added an upstairs to our home. While it was still in the sheetrock stage, I bought a nice big desk for my daughter, which fit perfectly through the unfinished doorway. A few years later, when we were moving, I couldn’t figure out why the desk wouldn’t fit back through the doorway… and then, I realized: It was a LOT easier without an actual door frame. Duh… 😉

  9. Hi Ned, I had been following your blog for over a week and it was because it was funny and also I need it for a college class assignment. We have to find a blog and write the author and yours caught my eye and was very funny. My blogger was yours if you don’t mind, because you have the young Andrew Dice Clay persona. Also my future blog will be on comedy. I have been performing stand up comedy for 14 years raising money for veterans (military) and when I put in comedy blogs yours came up. I was reading and reading and you are for real. I just wanted to ask you some questions about how you got started but to my amazement you already beat me to the punch with your young writers. Hopefully, I hope I get a chance to write you some of the questions. Seems that you are a natural writer and I’m in school trying to write better that is. Thanks for this blog, you never know who is reading it. A future fan even after class is over.
    Carolyn G.I. Jones G.I. is for Government Issue, Air Force Military

    1. Hi Carolyn!

      First, thank you for your service in spreading laughs and support for our veterans. Also, I’m flattered you chose me for your college assignment. I never attended collge, so this is as close as I’ll ever get! Thanks for the kind words and I appreciate you readin. If I can help with your assignment in any way, don’t hesitate to ask 😉 Good luck on your assignment!

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