Celebrate the Couch

This is the third in my trilogy of blogs about couches. Am I having a nervous breakdown? It is possible. What’s more likely is that I’m trying to impress something on you: Couches are important, especially as you reach middle age.

The fine folks at Ashley furniture delivered our new couch last week. A dining room table, too. These are the first two pieces of brand-spanking-new furniture I’ve ever purchased. I’m 42. Check buying new furniture off my bucket list. I plan to live to 142. And then forever after that. So there will be more to check off. But for now? Couches.

This couch is enormous. I mean, look at it. It’s a behemoth. And don’t get me started on the ottoman. Such an ottoman would make Suleiman the Magnificent proud. And there is a sentence I never thought I’d write in a blog. This blog trilogy about couches surprises even me.

My body melted as I sank into the beast pictured above. I fired up the Nintendo Switch and all was well with the world.


Of course all is not well with the world. We live in fraught times. Not having a couch is such a trivial thing given the state of these United States. And yet I won’t deny that living without furniture for a month was a personal burden.

We’ve spent so much money getting settled. And there’s still work to do. Plumbing and arborists and ant extermination, oh my. But a couch goes a long way. It’s a salve.

I’m starting to get a feel for this new house. It’s cozy. The neighbors couldn’t be kinder. The neighborhood couldn’t be more pleasant. We’ve hung the pictures and unpacked the boxes and suddenly this place has the feel of home. It’ll feel more like home after the plumbers replace two toilets this coming week. And I’ll feel better about things after my first paycheck from the fine people at the University of Iowa. But all this moving is moving smoothly. I’m grateful for that.

Iowa City is a delight so far. Feels like the St. Paul neighborhoods I grew up in. Reminds me of Madison. A Midwestern college town that feels bigger than a college town. Coffee shops and restaurants and breweries and whatnot. I came to love State College, but I can’t deny that this place feels more my speed. Although I will miss the green mountains. Rolling hills and deep forests.

We’re alone. We’ll need to make friends. I want my family to start feeling settled. That’ll take time. Always does. But we’re here now. Looking for dentists and doctors. Registering the boys for school.

Solomon and Samson spent last week in the Prairie Art School. A colleague of mine at Penn State is originally from Iowa City. She lives here in the summer. She’s an art education professor and runs art camps for kids during the summer. Her house is near the cemetery. There’s a wild prairie in her backyard. Thus the name Prairie Art School. The boys adored spending a week with her. Making art. They’ll spend two more weeks with her before the summer is done. I’m so thankful for that.

We’re here. We’re feeling it out. And we’ve got a couch.


This will be my last blog about couches. God willing and the creek don’t rise. Which sometimes it does here. Iowa City is right on the Iowa River. Rumor tells of floods that have ransacked this Iowan town. Our house is on high ground. Though we don’t have a sump pump. Add that to the list.

The other list I’ll start attending to involves my job. I’ve got courses to plan. People to meet. Orientations to do. It’s been two or three weeks of moving. Couch shopping and plumber scheduling. It’s almost time to get back to what I actually came here to do. Teach and write and be a scholar of some repute. Hopefully not ill.

All of these things can be down now that we have a couch.

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