Wednesday, January 15, 2014


It was a cold, dark and rainy day. The kind of rain that should have been snow, but instead just fell in cold torrents through the bare winter trees and onto the concrete below. It was on this rainy day, that good news came to some furniture-less roommates in Brooklyn. A couch became available - for free. The couple that was trying to sell it had been unable to, and had to move out by that day. When one of the roommates contacted them, they said if it could be taken away today, it was free.
Free! A couch that was over $500. We're poor and personally, I'm a big fan of "free" and finding furniture that was trashed (case in point -the time we went dumpster diving at a Pier One in Raleigh and I recovered some gems. Watch Portlandia, "Dumpster Diving" for an exaggerated look at my talents*).
Only one thing stood in our way. How does one transport a couch in a city where one does not have a vehicle? My roommate Meg had a plan. She rented a cargo van - $19.99 for 4 hours plus the cost of gas.
We met after dark (the sun sets at 4:30, guys, this was no midnight rendez-vous) at the apartment complex where we were to pick up the couch. And as the man who owned it helped Meg carry it outside, I realized how heavy this couch was. And how many flights of stairs our own walk-up contained (50, remember?). The rain had eased slightly as Meg maneuvered the cargo van through the streets of Brooklyn, double parked, and we hurriedly ushered the couch into the lobby of our building and then parked the van correctly. Then came the hard part. I was thinking we could leave the couch in the lobby, maybe, I don't know, forever. And just come downstairs whenever we wanted to use it. That, or pull it up a flight of stairs at a time, rest for a month or two, then come back to the task. Meg had other ideas.
Has anyone ever watched FRIENDS?  If you say no, you're out of my life (just kidding, that's a joke for Tiffany M ;-) But for real, you need to watch it). I have attached a clip here - it's about 3 minutes, but I really don't know that you can understand the plight of moving furniture into a walk up until you've viewed it. Watch, then resume reading :-)

The changes are as follows:
- two girls vs two men and a woman
- we did not look as glamorous as Jennifer Aniston (of course)
- the couch did not break in half (whew)
- we did, in fact, yell PIVOT! every time we turned a corner. It kept the mood light and spirits high

We finally got the couch into the apartment and it only took 35 minutes.

Then we had to return the van. We thought about taking it, and living in the van down by the river (Chris Farley throwback) but it gets cold here in the winters. Since we had to put gas in it, we found a gas station and as Meg filled the van, my eye was drawn to something on the side of the road. Something I wanted, but was not willing to buy. A headboard. Who would throw something like that away? (Ok, I'll be real with you, it's kind of ugly, I'm not THAT attached, but it serves the purpose and helps my room look more put together). I wandered over to it cautiously, and saw that the metal and wood were actually in great condition. And it wasn't that heavy. I knew our time with the van wouldn't last forever- that we would have to take public transit and walk part of the way home. But this was a FREE headboard. Yes, my friends. I took it. I dragged it down the street, onto 2 different buses and walked back to my apartment with it, where I cleaned it up, used lots of Lysol and attached it to my bed frame.

The apartment is coming together, slowly, but surely. And now we don't have to eat our dinner sitting on the floor.

*Please note, I don't actually jump into dumpsters and sift through trash. That's gross. I merely look for gently used, good furniture that has been left next to a dumpster or on the side of the road, clean it up and use it!

1 comment:

  1. Just be very careful of bed bugs! Brooklyn is really in a terrible bed bug state recently. I had them two years ago, and they usually move around through furniture. Make sure you give the couch a good looking over, or treat it. :)