How could a simple, consensus purchase of a recliner prompt so much discontent from my wife and result in an expensive redo of our family room?
I wasn’t altogether surprised. Recliners have a special place in my wife’s furnishing dislikes.
But this time should have been different. She blessed the purchase.
Except we both were not aware that a comfortable leather chair sitting in the broad expanse of the parking lot of Talbottown Shopping Center on a hot mid-August day during Bountiful’s annual Once in a Blue Moon sale was actually a recliner. Sound ridiculous? Of course.
Trust then verify—we didn’t do that. It looked scalable to the space where it would reside.
When the chair was delivered and placed in a spot in our family room, my wife noticed two things: a recliner was in our midst, and its size dominated the room. Complaints and constant moving around of furniture began in earnest.
It was as if every time my wife looked at our new acquisition—which I loved, and in which I began to nap daily—she felt compelled to express her discomfort.
Meanwhile, the new chair and I bonded immediately. I quickly realized that my wife would never use the recliner. I would be the sole occupant. I could live with that.
To complement/soften the aesthetic effect of the recliner, my dutiful wife commissioned the re-upholstery of cushions and an ottoman. After this work was completed, the protests seemed to diminish, if not vanish.
Peace now reigned in the family room.
Now there is a back story to the brouhaha over the recliner. When we were first married, living in an apartment in which I had lived as a bachelor, I owned a recliner. It was not as fashionable (or expensive) as the current one. To me, it was wonderful, my own seat of power and relaxation. Its ugliness, as seen by others, was not apparent to me.
After a few months of marriage, my beloved recliner vanished. It happened so quickly, I didn’t immediately realize that what was my abode had new co-ownership.
My sense of control was illusory. My decision-making was shared. My input into domestic furnishing and decorating had dissipated. There was a new sheriff in town.
I never imagined that I would own a large, cushy recliner ever again. Instead, I would be left with memories of a solitary existence in an apartment that featured a recliner. I would not yearn for what seemed out of question.
Life takes strange turns. Once again, a recliner adds comfort to my life. My naps are more frequent. My contentment has grown. The electrical controls are easy.
And, yes, my wife is satisfied. I think.
At least for the moment.
Columnist Howard Freedlander retired in 2011 as Deputy State Treasurer of the State of Maryland. Previously, he was the executive officer of the Maryland National Guard. He also served as community editor for Chesapeake Publishing, lastly at the Queen Anne’s Record-Observer. In retirement, Howard serves on the boards of several non-profits on the Eastern Shore, Annapolis and Philadelphia.