I have always thought myself good at nesting. No, obsessive about nesting. Moving around a lot as a kid turned me into one of those people who can’t go to bed after moving into a new place until at least the bedroom is put together. Pictures don’t have to be on the walls, but things do have to be put away and the room has to be box-free. I want to wake up knowing that I’m home and not having the scary “where AM I?” feeling, only to realize that where I am is my new home.

With that said, after over 5 years in my house, some rooms still feel unfinished. The living room has mocked me for years: at first, it just wasn’t a priority. Then, there wasn’t much I could do because there was no money. Now, there’s money, but I can’t seem to find the motivation to pull the trigger.

I shopped for a couch for 4 months. Leather is good with cat claws and cat hair, but leather is expensive. A good leather couch will stand up to cat claws, but should I (as a still-single lady) really think about spending 3 grand on a couch I may get rid of if I move in with someone? And who says I even need a stupid couch anyway? When did I start letting Martha Stewart-esque rules of middle-class living dictate how I should live?

I’d been thinking that not having a comfy living room was the reason I didn’t have people over more often. Then I thought “hell, if they came over, there would be nothing to do. And I hope they like salad cause I can’t cook anything.” My house is just built for single life, top to bottom, as I have never been one who “entertains.” Entertaining makes me nervous, and all of my friends have comfy living rooms. I have learned to cook a few things, but they’re all vegetarian. It’s hard to lure friends to your house with the promise of butternut squash on a bed of quinoa.

After buying a nice area rug and moving around some furniture, I called a temporary truce with the couch situation and spent the couch money on something I actually DO care about: an Xbox and a giant TV. Every time I think about that couch, it feels like a symbol. It makes me feel encumbered, as though I’d finally own something big enough that I couldn’t just pick up and go if someone offered me a job in Europe or something.

This is completely silly, though. I have two cats, a piano, a number of huge pieces of furniture, a room full of clothing…and A HOUSE. I have put down roots despite myself. Some of the roots are even literal: if Google Street View was more on the ball, it would show a year-by-year progression of my front flower beds, getting bigger and more colorful as I got older and started caring about things like watering plants and when one should split irises. In the fall, I will add “tiller” to my list of possessions. I have jumped the shark.

Still, I wonder if the lack of couch makes my house unwelcoming to visitors. If it makes my house seem like one of those houses where no one really lives and you shouldn’t touch anything. Asking someone if your house feels welcoming is a bit like asking someone if your house smells like cat pee: people will grade on the curve to spare your feelings, but only your mother will say “well, it’s more the poop that’s an issue…”

I bought an automatic cat box to fix the poop smell.

Maybe there’s a reason why mom keeps asking if I’ve found a nice couch.

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