I fell in love with a blue chair. The light blue turquoise and tufted back teased me from across the home decor store for months. Every time I went in, I walked by these beautiful blue chairs.
I wanted one, but the price wasn’t right.
I didn’t know where to put it.
Then finally I decided, ‘Just Do It.’
Life is short. I wanted this chair. I could imagine how my work productivity would double if I had this chair in my office (okay, okay, I justified it by thinking this way!). My life would be somehow better with this chair.
I bought it. It miraculously fit in the car! We carried it up the steps to my office. My old, second-hand office chair that has been causing me back pain was happily carted off into the garage.
Then it happened.
I walked into my office first thing in the morning the next day. I noticed a smell. It was a sweet smell. I knew it was coming off of the chair from off gassing. I don’t know what chemical it was (the common culprit, formaldehyde, apparently smells more like pickles). So I opened the windows and turned on the fans.
I worked half of the day. My head started to hurt. The smell wasn’t disappearing. I started getting really cranky for no reason. Then my throat felt like I was coming down with a cold.
I knew it was that Damn chair.
Inside, I was begging, please, please don’t let it be the chair. I love it so much! But I knew. I’ve been down this road before. I’ve had furniture and home décor products that smell. And the outcome is never, ever good.
I hoped. I prayed. I thought, maybe tomorrow it won’t smell. I didn’t work for the rest of the day as I tried to get my pounding headache to go away.
No such luck. It smelled just as bad. I removed the pretty blue chair with a heavy heart. I put it on the back porch and brought up a dining room chair instead.
The blue chair sat on the porch, and then in the garage for over two weeks. We were headed on vacation. It’s mid-90s in Florida at this point. And the garage gets to temps well over 100. I know from experience (and from a holistic doctor telling me) that furniture can quickly be forced to off-gas if put in a hot environment. The chemicals release faster.
So, after 14 days in a stifling garage, the blue chair should be odor-free when we returned home, right?
No. Now my garage smelled, along with my car that was in the garage. And when I took the chair back inside my home? Yeah, it still smelled.
I kept in in the garage yet another week. I shimmied around it every time I entered the garage. The 30-day grace period for returns was looming.
I still wanted this chair. Even though I knew it clearly full of a chemical that was not leaving.
I finally hung my head down low and decided to return the chair. I found the receipt. We loaded it into my car. I was mourning my chair already.
Then it started smelling really bad in my car. Really bad. And I instantly started getting a sore throat. And we’d been driving 2 minutes.
I suddenly hated this chair. In the 90 degree heat and humidity, we rolled down all of the windows as we drove the 10 minute drive to the popular discount home décor store. In 10 minutes, I could feel the headache building and the toxicity growing in my car.
Now I really wanted this chair out of my life.
The employees at the store were nice. They offered me another chair. No way. I don’t think that this one chair was the problem.
As much as I talk and teach about choosing products that aren’t made with toxic materials, it’s not always easy to follow the healthy advice. Compromises always have to be made. I’ve bought stuff that certainly wasn’t green or eco. It’s not always a bad thing.
But then there are the reminders that this world isn’t always giving you what is best for your health. Just because something is available to buy, doesn’t mean that it’s safe or has been tested for the long term affects on your health.
I want lots of pretty things. I do. I really, really do.
But you know what I want more? A long healthy life. A productive life. A life where I don’t bring in problems into my daily existence and then spend time and money trying to fix the situation and patch it up.
So, pretty blue chair, Rest In Peace.
There’s a lot of great style out there that won’t make me cry. We’re over. I don’t believe in holding onto toxic relationships. I broke up with you and you know what? I’m happy to be moving on.