DISCLAIMER: If you consider yourself to be white trash, or if your ancestors were white trash, please read no further. I will probably offend you.
About five years ago, we purchased my son a new mattress for his bed. The old mattress was a perfectly good mattress. It wasn't falling apart or anything. We just upgraded him to something more supportive. The kids immediately found many playful uses for the old one. So we kept it. For the kids to play with. Just for the summer.
And the next summer.
And the next.
In fact, it now is a permanent fixture on the floor of the downstairs family room. We fondly refer to it as the random mattress. Well, maybe I don't refer to it so fondly. It's more like, "I swear I'm gonna burn that stupid, ugly random mattress if you don't get it out of the middle of my family room." Obviously five years of threatening arson has made not any impression whatsoever on any member of the household. Even the alien beasts we call dogs laugh at me from the random mattress.
My kids love the random mattress. All their friends love the random mattress. Having it means the family room is always ready for a slumber party. I, however, think it's an ugly tripping hazard that makes me feel very white trash. But, I also realize I can't actually burn it and it won't fit in the trash cart, so I don't know how I'd get rid of it anyway. If only I had a pick-up I could throw it in the back of...
And that's not the only thing about my post-divorce house that brings on that white trash feeling. There's the weed patch in my backyard due to the broken lawn mower, and the remnants of last year's Christmas tree that I know is hiding somewhere in there. You see, I was never in charge of Christmas tree disposal, so I tossed it in the backyard until I located the place to recycle it, but never was able to find that out. There's also the brown patch of grass in the front yard caused by the broken sprinkler head-induced drought. There was the dead tree in the front garden, until a friend helped pull most of it down except for about four foot of the stump so every time I pull into the driveway I feel like I'm being flipped off by the dead tree that I dared strip of its bare branches. (OK, I realize no one else probably sees the skinny dead tree stump as one giant "naughty finger" pointing to the sky, but remember whose twisted brain is blogging here.)
So when the downstairs couch popped a seem causing the stuffing to burst from the cushion I was very tempted to just put the couch on the porch. It would provide a comfortable spot to watch my brown grass grow, would it not? But we wouldn't be able to watch anything after the sun goes down because the porch light has been burnt out for at least 3 weeks. (The ladder that was tall enough to reach the porch ceiling didn't stay with the house.)
It's always a learning experience, this post-divorce, single woman life. While I have learned that men are good for some things, (like fixing mowers and sprinkler heads) I've also learned the importance of self-dependency. On some days, it would be very easy to feel bitter or jealous or something negative knowing that the ex-husband has a very nice brand new home filled with very nice brand new furniture cleaned by a professional cleaning service and surrounded by a beautiful yard kept by a professional lawn service.
But the feeling doesn't last long. Whenever I pout over the lack of a new sofa, I inevitably find peanut butter smeared on the old one. Just the other day, my daughter pointed out how everyone's grass seems pretty brown and dry this summer. Hmmm...guess I was too busy obsessing over my own yard to notice anyone else's. And nothing brings a smile like the vision of exhausted kids sprawled on the stupid random mattress the morning after a night full of laughter and happy memory making.
I guess it's good to have stuff around to remind me that just because life is messy, doesn't mean it isn't wonderful. That just because the stuffing is exploding from my sofa and my dogs nap daily on a random mattress doesn't mean our life is trashy at all. In fact, the true value of life is much more obvious when you're surrounded by hazards and inconveniences.
So if you stop by my house, don't be offended by the tree stump greeting or feel awkward about the shabby furniture. Just smile and make yourself comfortable on the random mattress. You'll soon feel like one of the family. Heck, we might even share our moonshine with ya.
Ya'll come back now, ya hear!