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Thursday, June 14, 2001

The urge to redecorate hit me today. It wasn't just a way to alleviate boredom, as it usually is. If that had been the case, I would have just reorganized my CD collection again. This time I had a practical reason for moving furniture (on, I might add, one of the hottest days of the year).

The most important piece of furniture I own is the lounge chair I bought a year ago, when I first moved from the city to the country. When I got it, I planned to keep it on the patio, at the place next door where I lived for four months last year. Little did I know how useful it would turn out to be.

When I was having back problems, I sat in the lounge chair in the family room there, watching TV while I iced my back. When I had trouble sleeping because of the noise coming through the wall, I'd put some soft music on the stereo and lie back in my lounge chair with the headphones to keep me company and lull me to sleep.

But it was after I moved here to the Fortress that I really found the best use for my lounge chair (which is such a daily part of my life that it really must have a name...how about Carmela?). I put Carmela in the loft, by the window, and put myself to sleep on (no, bad idea...never mind) it every night. (Darn. I liked that name, too.)

That turned out to be the only way I can ever get a halfway decent night's sleep. At the end of the day, when I turn off the computer and the TV and I'm ready to cash it in, I sit in the chair in the loft and read for half an hour. Then I put my book aside and close my eyes and let myself drift off to sleep.

After sleeping for an hour or more this way, I get up, drag my body downstairs to the bedroom, and sleep the rest of the night in the conventional fashion. (That is, alone, in bed, with the lights off. That's conventional for me, anyway.)

That chair probably saved my life, or at least my sanity. On those rare nights when I try to go directly to bed, I can't get to sleep at all, or at least not until after wasted hours of tossing and turning, twisting and folding my body in search of a comfortable position. It's so much easier when I don't go to bed until after I remind myself what sleep is, by finding some peace on the chair in the loft.

This afternoon as I was trying to unwind, I sat on the porch in a green plastic chair, wishing I could lie back and close my eyes for a while. After I gave up trying to read, I decided to move the lounge chair out there. That meant dragging it downstairs, banging against the walls all the way, but it was sweet relief when I could at last stretch out on my porch and let the sounds of nature drift over me.

As I lay there, I began devising ways to fit the lounge chair into the living room layout. Once I started moving things around, I couldn't stop. I had the couch in a couple of different locations, and I ended up moving the bookcase back against the front of my desk, so that it wouldn't turn into an unwanted extra wall.

Yes, as a matter of fact that is a baseball game on TV.

This is how the room looks tonight, but it's not a permanent arrangement. The lounge chair is a place holder for the leather recliner I've been coveting. One of these days, when I have a little extra money and no better excuse to spend it, I'll fill that space with the chair of my dreams.

It's not as if I spend a lot of time just sitting and watching television. This makes it look as if that's my whole focus. Most of the time when the TV is on, I'm sitting at the computer anyway. But this way the lounge chair is handy for those times when I want to move it out onto the porch and take a nap.

I don't know whether I'll be able to get to sleep downstairs tonight as well as I've been doing it in the loft. I can just see myself, ready to turn in for the night, huffing and puffing and hauling the chair up the stairs — and then being wide awake and wishing it were downstairs so I could sit in front of the TV for a while.

My nights in the loft have been good to me. I'm hoping I can fall asleep downstairs just as easily.

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And that's what simple folk do.