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Four men and a couch

Four men (and some onlookers), a couch, one right-angled hallway, and two doors. Actually, not strictly a couch, but a sofa-bed, which means it was the awkward couch shape, but 50% more weight.

Somehow it had got in there. Nobody seemed sure how. Apparently it had been done by Paid Professionals from the furniture shop. It must be a prerequisite for working for those places to have a maths degree, ‘cos it had us stumped.

Could we try it horizontal? No.

Vertical? No.

Horizontal then tipping to vertical at the doorway? No.

Horizontal with a twist? No.

How fond of this couch are you, anyway?

Would the door come off? No. Don’t think so. Hold on. <bang! bang! bang!>. No.

Put it down on a rope via the balcony?

Would the tiny legs come off the couch? Ah, yes! A few centimetres gained.

I was pondering if anybody’s written some specialised CAD software that lets you model your home, and the furniture, and then guides you through the precise steps to get it in and out of any room.

Finally, we had it. A cunning combination of almost vertical, turning on two axes as it went. Brilliant. At least, that was the first doorway.

Down the hallway, then similar shenanigans at the second doorway, then a break for lunch, then the stair thing. Two flights.

One guy had a neck pain. One had a hurt foot. Something felt funny in my ankle. But the damn thing was in the truck. That’s what counted.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

10 replies on “Four men and a couch”

If memory serves a similar problem was solved in one of the Dirk Gently novels (maybe the first, I can’t remember) by the careful application of a chainsaw.

Okay… that’s just getting creepy now. The ta-da list thing when I’m writing out To-do lists, and now Dirk Gently. Guess what I was reading last night? *shifty eyes* Ahem. Anyway, couches, yes. They are a pain in the arse. Same with houses with little nooks and crannies. ‘Tis why I love open plan living. You have my sympathy and my congratulations on your hard work.

Surely all you needed to do was get the professor with his time machine to open his door for you for a minute or two?

Yep, it’s a scene almost straight from the book.

Brilliant. funny to read, but I bet it wasn’t funny at the time. We’ve had a new porch built a year ago, and now I’m worried that our sofa is also stuck in the house. Not looking forward to moving it.

I was there, I saw it, and despite repeated protests that the couch had somehow gotten into the lounge room in one piece so it must be possible to get it out again, repeated suggestions were made to “gently” chainsaw it to make it easier to move.
My neck’s much better now. Stupid couch.

I have seen the same thing done, by a professional. When my roommate moved in, it took us 2 hours and some sawing to get his smallish desk into the hallway. When he moved out, the movers (my housewarming gift to him) were a bit stumped about it. Then the lead mover came in, picked up the desk after about 20 seconds of thought and twisted space (or maybe just performed the right combination of turns and twists to the desk) to get it through the doorway. It was a very impressive sight.

From an earlier time than Dirk [sorry I can’t supply the music as well]:

“Right Said Fred”

“Right” said Fred,
“Both of us together,
One each end
And steady as we go (eurgh-heurgh)”.

Tried to shift it,
Couldn’t even lift it,
We was gettin’ nowhere
And so we had a cuppa tea and

“Right” said Fred,
“Give a shout to Charlie,”
Up comes Charlie
From the floor below…

After straining,
Heaving and complaining,
We was getting nowhere
And so we had a cuppa tea and

Charlie had a think
And he thought we ought
To take off all the handles
And the things what held the candles,
But it did no good,
Well I never thought it would.

Oh, “Right” said Fred,
“Have to take the feet off,
To get them feet off
Wouldn’t take a mo…”

Took its feet off,
Even took the seat off,
Should have got us somewhere, but no,
So Fred said
“Let’s have another cuppa tea”
And we said “Righto.”

Oh, “Right” said Fred,
“Have to take the door off.
Need more space
To shift the so-and-so…”

Had bad twinges
Taking off the hinges,
And it got us nowhere
And so we had a cuppa tea and

“Right” said Fred,
“Have to take the wall down,
That there wall
Is gonna have to go…”

Took the wall down,
Even with it all down
We was getting nowhere
And so we had a cuppa tea and

Charlie had a think
And he said “Look, Fred,
I’ve got a sort of feeling,
If we remove the ceiling,
With a rope or two
We could drop the blighter through.”

Oh, “Right” said Fred,
Climbing up a ladder,
With his crowbar
Gave a mighty blow…

Was he in trouble,
Half a ton of rubble
Landed on the top of his dome,
So Charlie and me
Had another cuppa tea
And then we went home.

[Spoken] I said to Charlie, “We’ll just have to leave it standing on the
landing, that’s all. You see, the trouble with Fred is, he’s too hasty, and you never get nowhere if you’re too hasty.”


Reminds me of a new bed I got when I was living with my dad in his rented two story townhouse. The delivery people just brought it into the front door, so we tried every possible combination to get it up the stairs. Called up the shop and the owner came out and had a look and tried every possible combination. Finally gave up and so we got a screw driver and removed the winder on my bedroom, while the owner of the shop got onto the back of his ute and passed it up to us. We fed it in through the window (luckily there was a porch roof outside to stand on) and the mattress being a lot more flexible was able to go up the stairs. Boy did that attract some strange looks from passers by!

Then we had to do it all over again and get the thing out through the window about six months later when dad unexpectedly died.

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