I don’t like to say I’m cheap.

I don’t like to say I’m short, either. I like to say I’m fun-sized, and I re-use Kleenex.

Anyway, cheapness really didn’t have much to do with why it took me so long to replace the seat cushion in our rattan chair. It’s more that every time I think about buying something for my house, I feel all tired and shit. When I was younger, I’d fritter away money on little doo-dads and pick-me-ups that I didn’t really need. Now, the thought of bringing anything into the house fills me with horror. There’s too much stuff. It needs to go in the other direction.

Still, this furniture in the kitchen has seen better days, and not recently. It’s a little loveseat and a swivel chair, in rattan. We don’t really have room for actual upholstered furniture in this room, and the rattan worked great. If we got an honest loveseat with upholstered arms that fit in this 51” space, we’d have to keep butt calipers around to gauge if two people could fit in it at once. Socially, it’s awkward.

The swivel chair cushion looks like we stole it from the alley behind a meth house. There are suspicious stains and a general dinginess about it and I should have gotten a clue from the number of guests who said they were fine standing, they’d been sitting all day. Well, hell, I thought. I have the whole internet. Surely I can buy a whole new cushion for the thing.

You’d think, wouldn’t you? But this cushion had padded arms and it fit exactly in its rounded rattan confines and apparently nothing like it has been made since 1983. I could get one without arms that didn’t fit in the chair. There was no end of those.

And so, with no real hope whatsoever, I found a pretty cushion that was significantly under $100 and ordered it. It was indoor-outdoor material and too long to fit properly—it would be too tall in the back and hang shittily over the seat in front. It would be thin and Suitable For Outdoors. It was only barely worth a shot.

There’s this sort of resignation that comes with modern consumption. Not that I haven’t shopped for something in a brick-and-mortar store and brought it home and never wore it or loved it again—sure I have. But in this age you can see an ad for an absolutely adorable outfit and it will land on your porch with a thud of regret you can hear even before your phone weirdly tells you it showed up. The adorable outfit is made of plastic lint and sized for an armadillo and if you want to send it back to China for sixty bucks, why, you go ahead on.

My cushion box landed on the porch. I’ll be go to hell! I carefully opened the box so it could be returned and it bounded out of there and loped over to the swivel chair and kicked the old cushion out to the front porch and it is absolutely stunning! It could not be prettier up against Dave’s brick wall! Even hanging over the top and seat it looks tremendous! Why the hell didn’t I do this before! I was so excited I didn’t even get a photo of the old cushion in place before I sliced it up for the garbage can, and I hope the garbage man uses a mask.

So now obviously I have to reupholster the loveseat, which is only marginally less humiliating to look at. Without question this will cost five times what the little sofa cost to begin with. But the stuffing is poking through and it’s ripped, and also there was that time I discovered the mice had eaten a hole in the bottom dust cover and used the interior as a latrine, and had been doing so for some time.

Oh, hi! You don’t mind if you stand? You’ve been sitting all day?