The CJ Factor

autism - slimeFurniture shopping. In a typical “typical” household, it’s an idea that would usually put a smile on the mom’s face and make the dad groan out loud.

Furniture shopping! What does it make you think of? New colors? New style? New material? So many possibilities! Of course, you also need to consider how the furniture is going to be used, especially if you have kids and/or animals. Will it be lightly used in a more formal area? Or can it expect crumbs and crayons and cat hair with a bit of Wii and Playstation wear and tear?

No matter what you decide, you’ve earned it, right? A solid five to ten years of family use has worn out your current sofa, and a bit of redecorating has left your choice from 2001 looking a bit outdated as well as reasonably used. It’s time to go shopping and do it all again. Right?

Not in our house. Not any more. When you share your living space with a 200 lb 17-year-old autistic boy, your criteria change.

We shop for furniture that can withstand “The CJ Factor.” This includes function, durability, and the “Flop Factor.” And then there’s the matter of slime.

According to, “slime” is defined as:

1. thin, glutinous mud.
2. any ropy or viscous liquid matter, especially of a foul kind.
3. a viscous secretion of animal or vegetable origin.

Bingo! I can tell you that in our house, slime is usually all that, plus food and unwashed hands. It can coat furniture, appliances, TV remotes, iPads, bathroom tile, door handles, dashboards, bedsheets, computer keyboards, toys, books, window blinds, refrigerator handles, little sisters and the cat. Slime occupies me at some point every day. In our house, slime (and its removal) is a big, big deal.


Our first furniture shopping trip

Salesperson: Now, over here, we have a large, comfortable leather sofa that seats four, with solid wood frame construction and a lifetime guarantee on all parts. It’s available at a low, low price of only six mortgage payments.

Chris: What did we decide about this, Kathleen? Are we going for the expensive furniture that will stand up to the “CJ Factor?” Or do we go less expensive and plan a trip to the dump in one or two years?

Salesperson: The…CJ Factor??

Kathleen: How well will this upholstery stand up to slime?

Salesperson: *……*

Kathleen: Is slime damage included in the guarantee?


We elected to get the cheaper version. We figured we’d get maybe 3 good years out of it. It stood up to the CJ-created slime pretty well. We soldiered on.

Did you know that the springs inside a couch can actually come out? Seriously, one day about a year later, I was looking at the couch and there was something sticking out from underneath it. A piece of metal. A spring. UGH! Next thing I knew, there were more. We were now at the point where the “new” couch was slimed, the seat cushions were drooping (there are no springs left, after all), and there’s no place to sit. This makes it interesting when you have people over. I just make everyone sit in the kitchen with me.

We realized we’d accounted for slime but forgotten to really think about “The Flop” factor.
The Flop: The Flop is when your 200 lb son just “flops” onto the furniture with all his dead weight. As in, stand next to the unsuspecting furniture, suddenly flip your body sideways and land like a log falling from a height of four feet. Again. And again. And again.

I have heard furniture scream.

Last year, we decided to have Thanksgiving at our house. Picture a total of 12 people in 1350 square feet of space. (My ideas are always bigger than my house). We can’t ask our guests to sit on bare springs. So my husband insists we buy couches. We decide on quality this time, with a lifetime warranty. “What,” we ask, “about the slime factor”? “What about the flop factor?” We are assured over and over that our mortgage-busting selections are guaranteed. Warily, we proceed through the showroom to the order desk.

Then it hits us. A CHAIR! A chair? Yes! We get him his own chair! We get him a well-built, flop-resistant, slime-resistant recliner chair…a chair that no one else is allowed to sit in. In return, he is not allowed to sit on the couches. We shop with glee and bring home some new furniture.

CJ loves the idea. We prepared to shop for his new chair, but didn’t even have to buy one. Someone listening to me gloat about our fabulous idea offers a well-made used rocking recliner in good shape. It even matches the new furniture! He loved it. We loved it. It’s ability to withstand The CJ Factor wasn’t clear but we had high hopes.

Not too long ago, I was going about my daily routine, cleaning and desliming, when CJ performed “The Flop,” into his chair. There was a groan, a pop, and the chair cracked in two like a nut. Luckily, CJ was fine, since I was falling on the floor myself with tears in my eyes from laughing. Calling 911 would have been a stretch for me at that moment.

Now he has a new chair that matches the couches. He told me the other day to “get out of my chair. Sit on the couch.” Well…at least one of us is following the rules….


  1. Katherine Blanchies says:

    I love the humor put into the dialogue about this fascinating and very complex condition. I am so excited for this project and motivation behind it. When you find out where the slime comes from, please share 🙂 Keep up the good work and I’ll keep reading! My husband, Ken, will look forward to updates that he will then share with me as he has now “friended” you – is that the correct word for that??

  2. Alisha says:


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