One of the many compromises that Caleb and I made when I first moved in to the apartment was that if I got rid of the Battleship, he would re-upholster his couch, which was covered in an earth-toned “1970s cokehead record producer” print.
To find fabric, we went to the Decoration & Design building, which is like Fuller Building of art galleries, only for interior design. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’re a philistine. I just made a rhyme.
There’s really no reason why you should know what the D&D building, because if you’re not a designer or a rich person, you’re not welcome there. Basically, it’s 17 floors of fabric and furniture stores open only to people in the industry. I apologize for the Philistine comment. I only made it for the sake of my verse.
“We’re getting the cheapest fabric we can find,” I told Caleb, who has a predilection for nice things, as we walked into the first store.
“Definitely,” he said.
Almost immediately, he gravitated towards a pink corduroy fabric that was $160 a yard. For our couch, which is over 8 foot long, we needed 15 yards of fabric. That’s a lot of fucking money.
“I want this one,” he said.
“Too bad,” I told him, and then grabbed his wallet before he had a chance to buy it on the sly.
When I first moved in with Caleb, he told me that he was going to buy a coffee grinder for the house. This was at the tail end of a conversation about how he really wanted to start saving money. Saving money is one of the mean reasons why we decided to move in together.
“Why?” I asked him.
“Because I need one,” he said.
“You already have one,” I reminded him.
“I need a better one,” he said.
“No you don’t.”
“Brie! I need it!”
“Whatever,” I said, thinking that coffee grinders could not possibly cost more than $50.
I thought wrong. Three hours later, he returned with something that had a blue LCD screen, 3 beautiful designed knobs, and a vacuum sealed carry-away container.
“How much was it?” I asked him.
“$100,” he said with a straight face.
Later in the evening, I found out that what Caleb had bought was actually a Breville bird coffee grinder. His discount did not apply to it, and it cost over $300. Before he brought it into the house, he removed all of the tags. His ruse was over when I caught him bragging about it to Mr. R.
Chastising him, I felt like my daddy.
In relationships, there’s always someone who’s better with money, and I was shocked to find out it was me. Actually, I wasn’t that shocked. I’ve been known to save $1,000 a month living in the city, making less than $35,000 a year.
But in my family, I’m the spendthrift. My sister lived with me in Brooklyn one summer, and interned at my office. She ate whatever she could get her hands on for free, including her own skin, and spent less than $20 a week, probably at Joyce Leslie. You think that’s an exaggeration, but I’m serious.
My father is so cheap that he hires a 5’2” man from Guatemala to hem our 8’ tall bushes.
And my mother is so cheap that she wears clothing from the children’s section at Kohl’s, almost exclusively.
I wasn’t going to fall for Caleb’s “I get a discount, it will be cheaper” routine again, so I kept heavy tabs on what we were looking at. Every time he picked up something over $60 a yard, I slapped his hand and said, “Don’t you dare, baby.”
Finally, we settled on a Knoll teal blue bouclé. It is fucking classic. And only $5 a yard more than our budget, which was still quite pricey.
Caleb sent it to the upholsterer, a Jamaican guy he once worked with. It took him 10 days, but this afternoon, we finally got it back.
I have to say, it looks amazing.
Now, all that’s left to do in the apartment is get rid of the terrible art (note the creepy child with the three poodles), give the cat away, get all new lighting, burn some chairs, and, I say this with great sadness, sell the Battleship.