Thursday, December 10, 2009

Murdoch dethroned

It was early Fall when the couch moved outside.

The thing that forced the decision was a need to move our wood stove from where it sat - outside - back into the entryway where it belonged.

The white one-inch-square tiles that sat under the stove when we moved in, began to pop out one by one during our first winter in the house. Grey grout flaked, then crumbled, helped along by Murdoch who spent every waking minute investigating anything that looked like it might hold some importance to someone else, until it was good and broken. By the time spring rolled around, our floor in front of the wood stove resembled someone who had come out the other end of a street brawl, having taken a number of hits to the mouth. I spent many days sitting on the floor filling in gaps with the tiny white squares. Some were still attached to each other in larger groups and it was a little like putting a puzzle together over top of the brown plywood.

In order to fix the tiles properly, we needed to peel back the linoleum that covered the rest of the floor in the entryway. We’d put that project off long enough and now the temperature hovered around zero at night, which injected a bit of urgency to the job.

That is why I came home one day to find the couch propped up on end against a tree outside the front door of our house.

As I turned the corner onto our road and saw the orange stripes through the trees, I felt both a lightness of heart that a decision was on its way to being made, and a heavy weight around my neck that it was actually sitting outside, exactly where I dreaded it would end up.

My biggest concern about the couch being outside was that Murdoch would pee on it; then, of course, Max and Bear would have to do it too. One of the reasons I never wanted male dogs in the first place was because of their incessant need to mark things. Murdoch excels at it.

The line we attach him to when he goes out for bathroom breaks was long enough to reach the couch. I imagined the thoughts rolling around in his head - This wasn’t here before, I think I’ll pee on it. We hooked the line up for him a few months earlier when he decided our neighbours’ house is much more fun than ours. As soon as we opened the door to let him out he would bolt across the threshold as though he’d been shot from a cannon and morph into a black blur, streaking inches above the ground while our angry shouts followed him first down the path, then the driveway, and finally tripping through the trees and along the road after his retreating tail.

But the dogs were far less put out by the couch’s presence than I was. After a cursive sniff, they couldn’t be bothered. As far as they were concerned that was the new spot for the couch. Although, I think it did knock Murdoch down a few pegs when he had to join Max on his own pile of blankets on the floor.

The couch stayed where it was for a few days while Morgan cemented in new tile, and we luxuriated in the space. Our entryway is quite big. We have plans for it. It will be an extra sitting room someday, when Murdoch learns to reasonably co-habitate with other creatures. But even with the room’s size, the couch, paired with Murdoch’s kennel, eats away a fair chunk. When you factor in a stack of wood in the winter, it gets a little crowded.

We agreed the room was so much nicer without the hulking brute of a couch, which at one time had seemed delicate and low profile, and decided it would not be returning to it’s spot in the entryway. A trip to the dump was once again planned.

The dump is open only on Saturdays. If you miss it, you have to live with your garbage for another week. This happens to us frequently. We don’t try to go every week, so we don’t really pay attention to what day it is. We go when we’ve accumulated enough stuff to make the trip worthwhile. Needless to say, between that slight hitch and other life crises popping up unexpectedly, as they do, the couch continued to hold up that tree for a good three weeks.

I was determined not to stop seeing it there. It is ridiculously easy to no longer notice something when it stays in one spot too long - even though there is nothing particularly subtle about a striped orange couch leaning against a tree.

1 comment:

  1. Good job - you bring this old couch to life and it becomes as fleshed as your pets. Now that the animals are emerging as 3 dimensional, the couch, as a gateway to the animals, is relegated the edge of the frame, despite your various attachments to it. Like a wolfish Heathcliff, black Murdoch strides into the picture frame and is off running boldly across your pages. An interesting character to watch!