A flat-screen TV flickers in the background.
Football. Just a routine game, apparently. Nothing of particular import since the only two people in the room aren’t even staring at the big screen but the small ones on their iPhones eerily setting their faces a-glow.
A man walks in, sinking into the down-fluffed cushions of the leather couch. He smacks at a large, square throw pillow and thrusts it behind his back.
He glances down at the couch, looks puzzled, then gently brushes his hand across the squooshy surface.
The brushing becomes frantic. He snaps on a light and sticks his face up against the cushion.
“THERE’S PEN ON THE COUCH!”
Cue the music because it’s time for a new episode of dun dun DUNNNNNNN…….
CSI: Couch Stain Investigation.
In this latest installment, our forensic, er, furniture examiner immediately starts performing CPR (clean, protect, restore) on the victim, an innocent and expensive new couch with attached chaise. He assembles rags and a canister of pop-up wipes and some thick, sludgy product that promises to restore the couch to the original, unsullied luster that existed when only trained artisans in a kid-free, dog-free factory touched it.
Yeah, good luck with that, goopy stuff.
In an impressive show of multi-tasking, Big Daddy furiously cleans the couch while simultaneously interrogating the two prime suspects. You never see that on network cop shows.
“So, did anyone do any homework recently on the couch?”
“Did you do any kind of writing on the couch?”
“Did you maybe sit down on the couch with a pen in your pocket?”
Neither of the perps would own up to anything, but you know one of them had to be guilty. Unlike a sneaky fart, there was no blaming the dogs on this one. No opposable thumbs with which to write.
I wish I could say this is a rare occurrence in our house that was recently outfitted with new furniture — in the living and family rooms, all the better to increase our chances of stroking out over décor disasters.
Only the week before, Dumb Dog No. 2 barreled through the living room, tail a-blazing and that furry whip knocked over a plastic tumbler filled with iced coffee — all over the new tile and the newer couch. That was fuuuunnn and especially painful.
This is why I argued against paying for furniture that costs roughly the same as a moderately-loaded Buick.
“You don’t understand,” my husband explained. “We have to pay for college starting next year so we can’t buy anything for four years — and we can’t live with this furniture for that long.”
So, we said bye-bye to the ripped, green leather couch and loveseat set we had since the early days of our marriage and the hand-me-down, studded sofa with the unidentifiable butt-sized stain in the middle of it. But just because you replace the furniture in the crack den doesn’t mean the inhabitants automatically appreciate what you’ve done for them and want to turn things around and not be so darn cavalier about how they treat stuff they didn’t have to pay for.
There’s this really disturbing sense of entitlement these kids have, like it’s their natural-born right to spill and stain.
So, unlike the real “CSI,” there was no ending tying up the loose ends. Still don’t know who left the pen smudge that lurks on the cushion like a small melanoma that we’re “keeping an eye on.”
But I do know that this very domestic version of CSI, yeah, it’ll definitely be a long-running show.