Phyllis the couch is held for ransom.

So it’s Friday the 13th, and that means the second week of January is drawing to a close and that means that Phyllis the couch is supposed to be sitting in our living room, but she isn’t, and I’m pretty irritated about it.

(If you don’t know who Phyllis the couch is , check out the above link. If you’re still unclear about why she’s called Phyllis, check out the brilliant suggestions in the comments of that post. If you don’t know why she’s supposed to be here by this week, it’s because I haven’t posted about it. Read on. If you don’t care, click here to relive Hamster Dance.)

Phyllis is undressed. (Gotta protect the hub's identity in this scandalous picture.)

So after obtaining our antique couch and hauling it back home in our antique truck, we brought Phyllis into the house and realized (much to my delight) that her mustard velvet upholstery was going to have to go.  It was mildewed black in some parts and the cat loved it a little bit too much. Anything that he’s that enamored of is usually too disgusting for words. So we resolved to use the money we saved by adopting Phyllis to have her reupholstered.

I don’t know how he found them. One day I came downstairs and my husband had located a local upholstery firm that defies all the rules of modern business. It’s closed four days of the week. The proprietors don’t believe in signage. They don’t sell upholstery fabric. They also don’t believe in email. My husband had to drive down to their super-secret location with the photo of Phyllis that I posted on this blog.  But despite all of the things that they don’t do, they’ve been in business since the Cold War. I think they’re probably wizards or gnomes or cobbler elves or leprechauns or something.

But even if they are magical creatures, they are magical creatures who are now on my smack-down list. Because I don’t think that fairy tale law allows mythical little men to break their magical word, and also, I feel like they are holding Phyllis prisoner.

Allow me to explain: In order to keep down the cost of reupholstering Phyllis, my husband did all the woodwork himself. He ripped off the mustard fabric, which unleashed a cloud of mold spores into our living room. To control that, he doused the couch in vinegar. Our house didn’t smell right for months. Then he sanded all the  woodwork down and refinished it.

We bought a lot of fabric from a local shop (the fabric has something resembling fleurs-de-lis in the pattern, which my husband liked because he thought they were some sort of tribal spearheads) and brought the whole mess to the couch gnomes, who allowed us to set foot inside their magical workshop. It was awesome – the walls were piled with chairs and couches, and every few feet there was a stapler gun suspended from the ceiling. If you didn’t watch out you could turn around and BAM! –  eyebrow piercing.

When it came time to decide when Phyllis would come home, the head gnome paused. He said he could have her ready for Christmas, and then gave the sort of heart-rending sigh that is usually a signal that although he could do it, it might kill him.

Part of me was like, “Okay, so do that,” but it was the week of Thanksgiving, and although I was impatient to have Phyllis gussied up and in our home, we didn’t really need her by Christmas, and also, moving her into the room with a Christmas tree in it would be a pain and anyway, why would I want to burden these nice gnomes during the holiday season?

I generously suggested that we pick Phyllis up the first week of January instead.

Second week of January,” said the gnome and then I felt like a sucker who should have insisted that we’d need her by Dec. 24 or Christmas would be ruined.

My husband called this week, on the first day that the shop would be open. The conversation went a little bit like this:

Husband – “Is the couch ready?” (He refuses to call her Phyllis outside of the home.)

Couch Gnome – “I’ll have it to you by the end of January.”

Husband – Silence.

Couch Gnome  – “Something wrong?”

My husband suspects that  – like a little kid who forgot that his book report was due – the gnome hadn’t even started work on Phyllis. So now, we’re waiting until the end of the month, although the gnome said he’d give us a call when and if it’s done earlier.

But I’m afraid that we’ll never see Phyllis again and that the little men aren’t gnomes, but trolls, and that the couches and chairs stacked against the walls of their shops aren’t their creations – instead they’re the corpses of their victims. Oh god, we delivered Phyllis right into their murderous little hands.

So in honor of Phyllis (and because Zazzle made me take down the dwarf one), I made another tee shirt. (I actually have been making a lot of tees lately. I’ve already got quite a little collection on Zazzle. Not because I expect people to buy them, really, but because I’m the sort of gal who loves nothing more than an in-joke on a tee shirt, and Teefury is not meeting all my tee-shirt needs these days.)

Please, people. Appreciate your couches. Love them. Sit on them a little longer than normal today. For Phyllis.

13 thoughts on “Phyllis the couch is held for ransom.

    • In the furniture justice system, the people are protected by two separate, yet equally important groups: the husbands who start the upholstery work, and the wives who prosecute the kidnapping upholstery gnomes. These are their stories.

      *duhn duhn*

  1. I’m wondering if your upholstery people are related to my seamstress. She makes the exact same heart-rending sigh whenever I tell her when I would like to pick up my altered clothing – no matter if the time frame is two days or two months.

    Except my seamstress always delivers early rather than late.

    So sorry to hear about the ransom of Phyllis, BTW 😦

  2. I love the fact that you’ve created a shirt design in homage to Phyllis the Couch…. this is great. 🙂

    On a second note – I hope that you get your couch back soon…

    Here’s another T-Shirt idea…”Free Phyllis”…. haha!

    Hope all is well! I need to learn WordPress…is it easy or require a lot of code? I think blogging is kind of like going Indie on Social Media…. ? Maybe? Maybe Not?

    Anyway – it’s been a month since my last Facebook status….

    • Hi Janet! It’s great to see a comment from you. I’ve been missing you on the ‘book. You should definitely get on WordPress. It’s easy, I had to learn a little code last night in order to create clickable graphics in my sidebar, but it’s the only code I’ve had to use in more than two years of blogging on WordPress. If you do create a blog, please send me the link. I’d follow you.

  3. I’ve missed it too…but I find that getting off the ‘book has helped me foster more real connections with people and I have a lot more time for things outside of the ‘net. I could go on and on about the parallels of FB and 1984…but I won’t. Maybe I’ll save it for a blog. Ha! I need to update my portfolio site in a major way…so when I do I think I’ll include a blog for more intellectual discourse… Art related things, and the like….

    I do enjoy your blog…it’s fun to read! If you make a “Free Phyllis” t-shirt, I’d love to see it! 🙂


  4. You know, I think we’re living in parallel lives. My aunt N. was throwing out a chair that had belonged to my great-grandmother, and my other aunt P. saw it on the sidewalk and saved it for me. I took it to a scary upholstery shop sometime in the end of September. Nate and I got there, and wandered around the shop, full of half-finished upholstered furniture, and poked our heads into an office, a back room, and a workshop, waiting half an hour before someone came back from lunch and asked if we needed help. We said we wanted the chair to be recovered, new padding, and restained/sanded on the wood. We picked out a fabric. We paid a deposit. They said it would be done around Dec 1. I thought it was a long time to wait. We called on Dec 1, and were told, oh yeah, hey, did you want the wood sanded/stained? That sounded so wrong to me, because I figure you’d do that before the major upholstery part. We finally got it back after New Year’s. It’s gorgeous, but yeah, they held it hostage for a long time. Maybe there’s a secret underground network of grumpy upholstery gnomes?

    • I think you might be onto something. Or possibly the folks who go into upholstery have a different sense of time and space than the rest of us do. Maybe it’s a prerequisite for the job.

  5. Pingback: A little accountablity please: New Year’s resolutions, month one. « The Garret

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