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.