After fifteen years of making do with Grandma's hand-me-downs because, well, the kids are going to trash it anyway, so let's wait until they're older, we finally bought some furniture.
We've lived with it for three months now; here's what you should know:
Easy to clean? Yes. Hypo-allergenic? Yes. Nice looking? Depends on what you buy and your personal preference, but yes. We found a perfect color.
No. A creaky, squeaky, rustling, resounding NO!
If you plan on watching a movie with anyone under the age of say, fifteen–or anyone else with severe ADHD, anticipate turning the volume up really loud. Or, if you plan on holding a conversation in the vicinity of said couches, ban all children from the room. Because the spinning and fidgeting that children must do if they are even semi-conscious is really loud on leather. I wouldn't have believed it until I heard it.
Oh, and think twice about the reclining models. They are way too much fun to, well, recline. And unrecline. And recline. You get the picture. And actually, unless the whole couch reclines, the section in between the two recliners looks really weird when they are reclined and it isn't. And anyone sitting there feels strange, too–the people next to you disappear behind your back.
Consumer Report #2: Rubber Playground Bark
The idea is that rubber is softer to land on than any other outdoor surface, it never decomposes or needs replacing, and it doesn't breed insects or rot. All true. And probably good for the environment too, since it's made from recycled tires.
Caveats: it turns the children black. Even the colored stuff. Think really black feet and hands, not just kind of grayish. Also, it clings–to everything. You may never have to replace it like wood because of decay, but a fair amount of it will walk off in the folds of children's clothing. Oh. And they LOVE to throw it, because it bounces. So anything within launching distance, will eventually see its fair share of rubber bark rain down.
I still think it's better than wood, even so.
(Ironic, I think, that I cannot have anything in my house smaller than child's fist, but I am required to have six inches of loose fill out on my playground, where all children are lawfully required to spend at least thirty minutes of every day, choking hazards galore, or not.)
Consumer Report #3: Honda Odyssey
Yes, we also bought a van. After driving a beast of a Ford Econoline forever that didn't even have proper seatbelts (not to mention various fan belts and who knows what else) we bought an Odyssey–because it seats eight, mainly. Oh, and the Ford couldn't make it up the hill out of our neighborhood without going into massive, sputtering fits before we reached the top, and then finally ominous silence as we rolled back down the hill in reverse.
The Odyssey? LOVE IT. Only thing I'd do different would be to go for the fully decked out version. I declined the super-duper model, because I figured I could add a DVD player cheaper on my own. Although I did opt for leather (think ease of cleaning up vomit). And no, noisy leather isn't an issue on the road (maybe because all small children are securely strapped in, so there is no spinning about).
What I didn't realize is that the super-duper touring model also comes with a power tailgate–and now I'm convinced that would have been worth, if not its weight in gold, at least as much as they were asking. Probably more.
Writing this, I'm seized with a brilliant idea: the leather couches in my living room should come with child restraints at least as secure as the ones in my motor vehicle. YES!! And why not, I ask you?