Sometimes you just have to cry (even for furniture)

Ever have a day when you just need to cry to get your head straight? You need to let it all out before you can put stuff behind you and move on? I consider myself an emotionally strong woman, but sometimes crying happens, and I’m okay with it.

I’m not advocating for folks to walk around crying all the time – that’s a whole other story. What I’m talking about is being realistic and acknowledging that you can handle X amount of stress before you reach your tipping point, and then you might shed a tear or two.

For me, that tipping point came Wednesday evening when the second sofa I purchased (in one week) was to be delivered. If you want to get up-to-speed, here is what happened to my original sofa – the one that #MyDogGrace soiled in a very special way. I’m giving myself mad props for navigating that day without waterworks. Seriously.

After that ordeal, I quickly purchased a replacement sofa because I had weekend company coming just two weeks later. I bought a sleeper-sofa at Home Comfort that very day and arranged for delivery. Unfortunately, when the sleeper arrived, it had a tear in the fabric. When I felt the thickness of the fabric, I decided to cancel my order on the premise that said fabric would have lasted no more than five minutes with #MyDogGrace. Home Comfort’s customer service was fantastic, and they refunded the entire purchase price and delivery fee within 24 hours of my request. I’m sure they have quality furniture, I just happened to order the cheapest sofa they had.

At this point, the stress was building as I needed to find another sofa and have it delivered before the following weekend. Now I was working within a seven-day window. Crunch time. No problem, however, because I found a suitable love seat on the Rooms to Go website within my budget. I had been in the store and thought the fabric on this model was adequate, so I ordered and promptly received the confirmation email that my sofa would be delivered on Wednesday (two days before my friend, Miss K, was to arrive). Cutting. It. Close.

All the while, any time I wanted to watch tv or simply not be in my bed or at the kitchen table, I had been sitting in one lonely, solitary chair in my living room. During this time, it came to my attention that my home had some sort of gnat or fruit fly infestation. The pesky little things were buzzing my head, well, like gnats or fruit flies do. Not exactly the red carpet I wanted to roll out for girls weekend.

But, I felt I could figure out the gnat thing, the sofa was arriving Wednesday, and I had been to a charity auction the weekend prior and purchased a basket of goodies which included a gift card for dinner (enough to treat my friends). I was optimistic that I could make this a nice girls gathering.

Then it all went to hell.

Long story short, Rooms to Go said I would receive a 30-minute phone call when the delivery driver was on his or her way. What I actually received was a phone call telling me that the driver waited at my home for 15 minutes and left because I was not there. I explained that I never received my 30-minute phone call, and three different representatives flatly told me, repeatedly, that they offer phone calls but they are not guaranteed. These phone call requests are entered into the system, but it is at the delivery driver’s discretion whether the phone call will be placed. WHAT? So basically, by telling the customer they will receive a phone call, but it is not guaranteed (and that part they don’t disclose up front), the company is tricking people into not being home when their furniture is delivered! AmIright?

The more representatives I spoke with, the more maddening the situation became. Rather than rescheduling delivery to a date that would leave my friends propped against the wall, I cancelled the order entirely. However, I was informed that I still had to pay the delivery fee…because the driver attempted delivery and I wasn’t there. Because I never got the call!

My mind was spinning. The room was spinning. The gnats were buzzing. Oh, and I received a message that the gift card for dinner I purchased at auction did not exist, that it was a miscommunication with the vendor and my money would be refunded.

And so on Wednesday evening, I sat in my one lonely, solitary chair in my living room, and as I swatted gnats from my face, I cried.

Sometimes crying helps. Sometimes crying is involuntary. Both applied in this case. I called my friend, Miss J, who talked me off the ledge of threats to fumigate my home with toxic chemicals, to cancel girls weekend, and to resign myself to a life of floor pillows. She pointed out that nobody would care whether I had a sofa, and that Miss K who was coming for the weekend would most likely enjoy sofa shopping with me, and more so, would be happy to help me. I sniffled some form of ‘you’re probably right’ and felt a tad better about the less-than-welcoming state of my home.

I rented a U-Haul and owned the road!

And, of course, Miss J was right. It turns out a shallow dish of apple cider vinegar and dawn dish soap will take care of gnats. I rented a U-Haul, Miss K and I lumbered down the road to Rolesville Furniture, and we brought the darn sofa home ourselves. We carried it from the truck, down the sidewalk, up the stairs, and wiggled it through my door. Our old lady backs required a few glasses of wine afterward, but the adventure added another story to our repertoire for reminiscing for years to come.

Of the three sofas I purchased in just over a week’s time, the last one is the best!

Crying is allowed, because when you get to the other side of your tears, you realize it’s not about what you have in life, it’s who you have. It’s about your friends loving you even when you sign them up for physical labor right in the middle of a girls weekend. It’s about making memories and about being a community of support for each other.

So go on and have a good cry every now and then, and afterward, count your blessings. Even through a tear or two, you can still see what matters most.


My Dog Ate Poo (s#!t)

Warning: This post contains profanity and graphic descriptions of the most disgusting thing dogs do, which is to eat poo. Read at your own risk.

It began like any other beautiful, Carolina weekend. I was recording my Half Fast Saturday video just outside my fence while my dog–my sweet baby–Grace, was lounging inside the fence. Or so I thought.

First, if you haven’t been following Half Fast and Classy on Facebook, you’re missing the Half Fast Saturday videos! Get on over there right now and follow. Followed? Okay, now the story.

Actually, a little back story is that Grace doesn’t like to potty in our yard. While I applaud her desire for pristine grounds within our little fence, it can be a bit exasperating on the occasions when we don’t have time for a full-blown walk and I have to beg, plead, and demand for her to “go potty, Grace, go potty.” The neighbors probably hear that phrase in their sleep.

Anywho, I was about 15 feet away on the outside of the fence planting some hostas and recording my progress. When I stepped back into the yard, I caught her red-handed. At first, I didn’t realize what I had caught her doing. Grace was in the far half of the yard, and she froze like a deer in headlights with her head at half mast, looking like she was debating between saying nothing or running.

As I approached, I saw that she had gone potty all on her own. Awesome! Maybe after 17 months she’s finally getting the hang of this. In my mind I was doing a little celebratory dance, thinking of the cold early mornings that I would not have to stand outside with her and beg for her to pooter. And then she licked it. The one turd. The one remaining turd. Yep, she had been dining al fecal. Noooooooo!

Why, WHY do dogs do that? It’s disgusting. It is beyond comprehension. Please, do not tell me she is missing something from her diet. I will roll my eyes and fall on the floor in psychological exhaustion. This dog is fed better than I feed myself. She is also provided with clean, fresh water throughout the day. Don’t even get me started on the treats.

Now, if the neighbors are tired of hearing my “go potty, Grace, go potty” mantra, they sure must have been surprised to hear me scream NOOOOO! as that last, lonely turd was released from her tongue so fast that it bounced in the grass. The dancing turd. Whether Mr. Hankey was a victim or willing participant, it wasn’t his fault, and as much as I wanted to squash him, I surely didn’t want to track his kind into my home.

I scolded Grace and rushed her into the house so I could finish my gardening. Clearly, she could not be trusted to enjoy our tiny yard without having eyes on her every minute. I checked on her a couple of times, and when I joined her inside about an hour or so later, she looked guilty. I looked everywhere to see what she might have done. Did she chew something because I scolded her? Did she potty in the house (which would be seriously out of character for her)? As I checked each room, she followed me, looking increasingly guilty, yet no evidence. Hmm.

It was getting onto 11:00 and I still hadn’t had breakfast, so I made myself a burger and settled onto the sofa where I eat 99% of my meals. Grace snuggled up next to me as usual, but still looked riddled with guilt.

Well it wasn’t guilt. She had an upset tummy. I know this because as I was half way through my burger, she projectile vomited about a gallon of liquid onto the sofa. Specifically, she pointed her mouth to where the sofa cushion meets the sofa arm so as to cover not only the cushion, but also the inside wall and the base on which the cushions rest.

Now, this was no ordinary vomit, because remember what she ate an hour or so before, right? This was craptastic liquid sh-t vomit. And it smelled worse than anything you can possibly imagine. And it was voluminous.

Suddenly, the burger in my hand, almost to my mouth, became so repugnant that I threw it onto the plate as if it were burning my hands. I grabbed the three blankets on the sofa that were not involved in the waterfall of putridity and quickly made a bed for Grace on the floor in case there was more coming. I would rather she be sick on something that can go into the wash than on furniture or the rug. I got her settled and ran like a mad woman from the room because the gag reflex had kicked in. You know what I’m talking about, right? Especially those of us who don’t have children. I don’t know how you mommies and daddies change those diapers, because it makes me gag so much that my eyes tear. That’s where I was in that moment.

I returned with a can of Lysol and sprayed, and sprayed, and sprayed. Still, the smell of sh-t prevailed. Don’t worry, Grace had been moved into the bedroom and the door closed by then. I didn’t know what to do, where to begin, because there was so. much. vomit. Run from the room retching, return to spray, repeat. After 10 or 15 minutes of spraying, gagging, and exclaiming to the empty room “Oh my GAWD!” OMFG! I finally regained some composure and realized the sofa had to leave. The odor was too overwhelming, and I could not see a way to even begin cleaning the sofa, so out the door it was going.

The sofa sat against a wall with the front legs on a large area rug and the back legs off the rug, sitting directly on the hardwood floor. When I moved the sofa forward, I saw that the liquid sh-t vomit had gone completely through the sofa and pooled on the hardwood floor beneath. My stomach was now so sensitive that just the sight of a puddle of yellow-brown liquid sent me into gag mode again.

But there was no time for a weak tummy now. If this sh-t fluid was leaking through the sofa, time was of the dung-filled essence. I knew from moving in that the sofa would not fit through the door with the legs on, so I flipped it on its back and began removing the legs, working as quickly as I could, all the while getting the ab workout of a lifetime from all the heaving.

When I flipped the sofa on its back, the liquid slushed from inside the bottom onto the backrest and flowed onto the area rug. I thought the rug had been spared, but no. Now the rug, too, was infected with the hellish, repugnant regurgitation.

The legs were off and I pushed the sofa a few feet across the floor and out the door. My adrenaline must have kicked in, because it landed with a thud when the far end of it hit the bottom of the stairs. If anyone had been walking by, they would have watched my sofa shoot from the front door and down the stairs like a missile.

Right where she landed; vomit blurred for your protection.

I surveyed the room. A streak of liquid sh-t vomit looked like a child’s underwear skid mark across my living room floor, there was a puddle of the putrid poo cocktail on the floor near the wall, and a round stank stain stared at me from the rug, which I promptly rolled and shoved out the door to be reunited with the sofa. I gagged one last time and got to work cleaning.

I don’t own a mop, but rather a set of kneepads, a bucket, and rubber gloves because I don’t trust a mop to do my cleaning. After two rounds of scrubbing, all the Lysol spray in the world, and the burning of a toasted coconut soy candle, I could smell nothing but feces. So I did what anyone would–I went shopping. Sofa shopping!

Grace was looking like her normal self, no actually she was looking great after her extreme super-cleanse, so I put the fan on high, got her settled in her crate with the door open in case she wanted to stretch out on the bare floor, and off I went.

Grace now has the one unscathed sofa cushion in her crate…just as she planned!

Do you ever get an odor stuck in your nose like a song on repeat in your head? I do.

As I drove down the highway with the air on and the windows open, all I could smell was the horrid stench of liquid sh-t vomit. I was sure there was a visible, excremental tail billowing from the back of my car. A dark purplish, toxic plume glowing as everyone in its wake covered their noses and ran. It took a few hours in a furniture store to shake the odor from my olfactory vault.

When I arrived back home, it smelled of coconut, Lysol, Dawn dish soap, and Murphy Oil Soap. I exhaled and my shoulders relaxed for the first time in hours. It was a zen-like feeling to not smell poo. I don’t ask for much, but not smelling poo is high on the list of must-haves. Grace and I were going to be okay without having to sell the house and move.

Some of you might be wondering why I would have a pet that could cause such destruction. When I adopted Grace, I didn’t just adopt her, I fell in love with her much like parents fall in love with a newborn baby. I know some folks don’t see pets that way, but I do. So there is nothing Grace can do to my home, whether intentionally or otherwise, to make me reconsider her place in my life. Adoption is forever. I will love and adore her for as long as she lives, which I wish could be another 30 years. I would buy a new sofa every year for that.

Others might be wondering why I’m sharing this on the blog. Half Fast and Classy is about styling life and home on a shoestring budget, right? Of course! And I love sharing with you my projects, how I get them done, if I cut corners, when they fail, and how I fix them. I’m a glass-half-full kind of girl and am typically happy with the end product even if it’s not spot-on.

But the trouble with blogs is that often you only see the pretty pictures and the end product. You don’t get to see that sometimes my Pinterest-worthy abode (in my biased opinion) is, in this case, covered in fecal vomit. Well now you know, and that’s okay, because we’re all in this sh-t together, right?

The peace and serenity we show you…
Reality. A sad puppy sitting in the space where the sofa used to be…before she sh-t puked on it.

The upside is that I ended the day with a fantastic dinner and a large glass of wine with a friend. Plus, with the cash I’ve saved by DIYing, I have a new sofa arriving Tuesday!





The Dog Ate My Sofa and How I Made it Look New Again

We had a little mishap at Chez Grace and Kelly this week. Grace has been free-ranging for about a month and has done well sans crate. I typically find her curled up on the sofa or on her blanket when I get home from work, and the worst she has done is scratch crop circle designs into the carpet. I think she’s trying to fluff up a good spot to lie down, but honestly, who really knows?

The free-range gig was going great until I forgot to put her ball away one morning. I was concerned she might chew it into bits and choke or suffer an intestinal blockage, so I made a habit of only letting her play with the ball when supervised. And by the way, she is obsessed with this ball. She has skipped meals so that I wouldn’t get her ball while she was eating.

My dog, Grace, carrying her favorite ball
She carries the ball everywhere
My dog, Grace, guarding her ball
Skipping dinner to guard the ball

What happened the day I forgot to put the ball up was neither choking nor intestinal. The ball simply rolled under the sofa and Grace could not help herself but to GET THAT BALL! Any way she could. Which meant grabbing the sofa with her mouth and moving it. You know where this is going and it doesn’t look good for the sofa.

Grace, my dog, looking sad next to the hole in the sofa
Sorry face, sorry sofa

For a moment I was excited at the thought of getting a new sofa. Wootwoot! Said no pocketbook ever. I looked online for upholstery repair, but it seems everyone is doing complete re-upholstery or commercial work. So I figured I’d patch it myself and live with a bit of an eyesore. I pictured a square patch a few inches wider than the tear, probably a shade lighter or darker than the original fabric. I was resigned to my own version of shabby chic.

I did a search and found this article about how to repair an upholstery tear. I followed none of it. But I did head over to Hancock Fabrics to see if they had any fabric similar to that of my sofa. About five bolts from the left was a perfect match! What are the odds? I should have bought a lottery ticket. Instead, I bought a yard of the fabric just in case I messed up and had to do a few patches before getting it right, an upholstery needle, and some foam.

Grace and the supplies purchased at Hancock Fabrics
Grace has first right of refusal to be in any and all photographs I publish

When I got the fabric home and started playing around with it, I realized I could cover the entire base rail and possibly not have a patch at all. So that is what I did.

First, I snipped off the loose threads and dangling fabric to clean up the area. Then I inserted a piece of stuffing to fit the shape of the hole, and I tucked under the edges of the torn fabric.

New stuffing inserted into tear
Prepped with new stuffing

I machine sewed a hem all the way around the fabric for reinforcement. Then I centered the fabric on the sofa and hand stitched it to the seam just beneath the cushions.

Fabric hand stitched to sofa beneath cushions
Thankfully my hand stitching is hidden beneath the cushions

After the strip of fabric was sewn to the top, I pulled it taut around the base rail and stapled it to the bottom of the frame. The list of items I have in this little condo is short, but thank goodness an electric staple gun is one of them!

Stapled to the wood frame beneath
Stapled to the wood frame beneath

I did not stitch the left and right ends of the fabric to the front of the sofa for two reasons: 1) you’ve seen my hand stitching and it isn’t pretty; 2) movement from sitting on the sofa may have caused those seams to tear, so I left both ends open.

Ends are not attached to sofa
Ends are not attached to sofa

The only indication that anything is amiss is a little lumpiness where the new stuffing lives. I couldn’t get that to be smooth, and I’m okay with that.

A little lumpy
One lump or two?
Sofa looks great and Grace can relax
Sofa looks great and Grace has stopped with the sad puppy face (until the next incident)

All things considered, I am happy and satisfied with how this turned out. I never, in a million years, would have guessed I could do this kind of repair and have it look as well as it does. I’m glad I gave it a shot before throwing in the towel. It took 4 hours (with a break to take pictures of the blue moon) and $14.29 in supplies, and was well worth it. It just goes to show, you can do it!