Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Once Upon a Couch... (with pictures)

Keep in mind that I'm around 5'10"

I have been ranting about my sofa drama now for ages, or so it seems. Yesterday the drama peaked and ended, finally!

It all started with my "priority" delivery only arriving at 8pm.  I hate to imagine when they would have arrive if I wasn't supposedly priority!  Anyway, this was a problem since the building does not allow deliveries after 5pm. Of course we live in Brazil and there is always a jeitinho or two lying around, or so I hoped.

When the doorman phoned saying that a maintenance man was going escort one of the delivery men up, I knew I was in a bit of trouble. I would need to be pathetic and persuasive all at the same time. I decided to go with my true ally in situations like this, my Gringa status.

For some reason it is very easy to convince Brazilians that you are totally confused as to how things work. I don't know if I should be offended by this fact, but it does come in handy sometimes. I busted out such a show that I should be nominated for an Emmy, or at least an MTV spaceman.

When the annoyed Maintenance guy got there, I was first "surprised" that there was a time limit when it comes to deliveries. Since I'm a foreigner, I had no idea these kinds of rules even existed! That and I had spoken with the delivery people throughout the day (so I said) and the poor guys had been stuck in traffic. Damn holidays and everyone on vacation. It is madness out there (an always acceptable excuse in a big city).

I then went for the pity. I told him that I understand that rules are rules but if the couch was not delivered at that moment there was no way I'd get it this year. I told him that I have guest arriving and I plan to sleep on the couch during their visit. I claimed desperation, which was true, and asked if he could ask the building manager if I could pay some sort of fine or something. I begged for him to see if there was something, ANYTHING, we could do to make this happen.

After they went back downstairs, and the judges met for a final evaluation of the situation, jeitinho won. The building manager was so stressed about the no water situation, the building didn't have any yesterday, that the doormen/maintenance men decided that my couch could slip by unnoticed.

I'm sure when they made that decision they never imagined my sofa would get caught in the stairwell. Hell, the delivery men even took the stairwell doors off, another situation I doubt they imagined happening at that time of night.

So there we were, all looking at the stuck couch, when my Brilliant friend came to the rescue. She convinced them to take it all apart. I don't know if she gave some sort of pep talk or what, but they did just that. Fabric was removed from the bottom, staples taken out, and a HUGE mess made at the end of the hall.
Taking it apart in the stairwell

Come 930pm, I was starting to get worried. The delivery men were seemingly enjoying the quasi-demolition aspect of the job but would they remember where everything went? Would it even go back together seeing that this specific couch apparently doesn't come apart in the first place?

Bye bye fabric

Then around 10pm my front door opened. Did you know that my couch is made of plywood? Well, I do now as that was what they started bringing in. Pieces of wood, some fabric, and a big ass wood staple gun.

I will say, these men were damn impressive! They came into my living room and took all the random pieces I couldn't even imagine would make a couch and made it happen. I watched as they took over my living room, flipping pieces over and drilling/stapling the crap out of them.

Somewhere around 1130pm, it was looking like a couch. And right before midnight I signed the delivery papers and they were on their way.

It was a marathon but in the end it worked. Thank goodness for jeitinho!! 


  1. so if you ever sell the apartment the couch comes with it?

  2. I hope it holds together!

    Looks good.

  3. If this trend of smaller apartaments and larger furninture continues in Brazil, I am sure it wasn't their first time and it won't be their last ... ;)
    Sofa looks great! :)

  4. 5'10 is really tall!

    And I agree, I really like the couch.


  5. Totally selling the couch with the apartment one day ;)

    You are right Ray, Brazilians do like big furniture. Kind of weird when you think about it...

    ALex, it's not that tall compared to the teens these days. And with that statement I officially became old.

    Jim, AMEN :)

  6. it's gorgeous! i loooove a big couch. :) missing mine terribly, my mother's sofa is tiny.

  7. What's its name? Our huge couch, that fits my 6'3" hubby laying down with room for me to lay out at 5'7", is named BIg Brown....

    Maybe The Purplenator??

  8. Bravo delivery dudes!

    A name for the couch? Humn, under usual circumstances I would consider this blasphemy but since it was such a struggle why not name him after the Purple God himself:

    Man it's art like this that makes me thank God for this life.

  9. I know this is completely off topic, but I love you blog. I always wondered what's the true point of view americans have on us, and not all that lousy concept of "oh, Brasil's capital is buenos aires, amazon doesn't belong to Brasil, brazilians live in trees"(trust me, most brazilians think this is taught on US public schools).
    I have laughed a lot reading your posts, and of course, fellow users comments, such as gritty poet (acid, formal and sometimes a bit racist, but it makes me laugh anyway).
    Keep it up, I mean not only Rachel, but all you guys.. your experiences in Brazil seem pretty constructive to us.

  10. Thanks Juliano! I totally agree with you about the readers and their comments. Most of the time their comments are more interesting than the actual post!

    And I think you hit the Gritty nail on the head ;)

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