Scott Graves
Curry Coastal Pilot

It’s one of the most heart-wrenching questions a married couple will ever face:

Buy a couch or a hot tub?

I wanted a hot tub.

“The hot tub is like a couch,” I argued. “You can sit in it. You can stretch out in it. You can watch TV from it. You can eat in it and, if you spill something, the water just swirls it away!”

She didn’t go for it, so we got the couch. And, like most people who get a new couch, we immediately thought. “Why didn’t we get the hot tub?!”

No, that was just me. My wife loves the couch.

The first thing we did was put a blanket on it. To protect it from spills, dog fur and muddy paw prints, and to hide the fact that I picked a fabric with a paisley design (more on that in a minute).

I stood back and looked at the couch. With the blanket on it. Now it matched the recliner chair with a plastic cover, the coffee table covered with a giant doily, and the flat screen TV protected by the styrofoam packaging it came in. (We don’t buy new things very often.)

After three weeks, I threw caution to the wind and removed the blanket from the couch, allowing it to shine in all its new-couch glory! It even had that new-couch smell.

Before I could sit on it, however, someone let our two large, black dogs in from the backyard. The rain had turned the lawn into a muddy mess. The dogs love playing in the mud. “Honey? When did we get two brown dogs?”

Upon entering the house, the dogs stopped and looked at one another, their hyperdrive tails flinging mud in every direction

First dog: “Hey look! The new couch is uncovered!”

Second dog: “Finally! I’ve been waiting, like, forever to get my dirty paw prints all over it!”

The good news is, muddy paw prints blend in well with the paisley design.

The bad news is, the couch is covered with a blanket again.

Now, I have to admit, I planned for this contingency. At the furniture store, after selecting the couch, my wife and I spent 10 years looking at the fabric swatches. My wife says it only took seven years, but I know we had at least three more children during that time. There were 10,321 swatches from which to choose. We took swatches home to see if the colors matched the plastic on the chair or the doily on the coffee table. When it came to picking a fabric, I knew exactly what I was looking for: Something that would go perfect with muddy paw prints.

At one point, I think it was during the 121st visit to the furniture store, I asked the sales person, “Do you have a sample with muddy dog prints?”

“Sorry, we’re sold out,” she said. “It’s our most popular pattern!”

So, I went with the next best choice: paisley.

Next, my wife sat down on the couch. “Do you think this couch makes my butt look fat?”

“Only if you sit on it all day,” I replied.

Maybe that’s why I didn’t get the hot tub.

Once we got the couch home, the next step was to pick a location.

“How about next to the other couch, the one with all the laundry piled on it?” I said.

That’s when I got “the glare.” You know that look, guys. The one on a wife’s face that says, “You are so not getting a hot tub.”

It’s not my wife’s fault the couch is always buried in laundry. Every house has one. How does that happen?! It’s like the clothes just magically float out of the dryer, roam around the house until they find the couch, grab the TV remote, sit back with a bag of chips and watch the game. Sometimes the dogs snuggle into the pile of laundry.

First dog: “I love it when the clothes are still warm.”

Second dog: “Do you think this couch make my butt look big?”

The furniture sales person suggested protecting the couch using “Scotch Guard.” I called Scotland but it doesn’t have a military branch with that name. It does have the Royal Navy, however it stopped protecting furniture after an embarrassing defeat during “The Great Couch Rebellion of 1822.”

It’s probably a good thing we didn’t buy a hot tub. We don’t have a blanket, sheet of plastic or a doily big enough to cover it. They don’t come in a paisley pattern. And It would just end up being filled with laundry and muddy dogs.


Scott Graves was editor of the Curry Coastal Pilot from September 2000 to November 2017. He can be reached by calling 541-469-3123 or