Back when Maria Gonzalez was working full time and could afford to replace her homely old couch, her husband and kids said, "No! No!"
Isn't that the way it always goes?
"Husbands don't like new couches," says Maria, who lives in Carrollwood Village. "And it was very, very comfortable."
She bought it in 1991 at a little store on Waters Avenue. It has since been bounced on by three kids, drooled on by a succession of family dogs and is now seating yet another generation.
If it was ugly before; it's an eyesore now, Maria says. "And it's not even comfortable anymore."
The judges in Sure Fit's 2008 Ugly Couch Contest agreed: Maria has one very sorry settee. In fact, they deemed it one of the 20 worst-of-the-worst in the nation. The distinction might be just plain pitiful - but it comes with a chance at a big prize.
Through Nov. 15, the public can go to www.surefit.net/uglycouch2008/finalists.cfm and vote for their favorite ugly couch. The top vote-getter will receive a $5,000 living room makeover from Sure Fit and HGTV's "Myles of Style."
Maria, who can work only part time now because of health issues, hadn't realized the grand prize was so grand. A whole makeover? What would she do?
"I'd like a nice, clean, new sofa, and some new paint," she says, and then gives it a bit more thought. "If it's going to be that much money, I could go with a traditional brown leather couch. I'd like that a lot," she muses, clearly warming to the idea.
"I better get on the computer."
The finalists include three other Bay area residents: David Lambert of Spring Hill, Doris Solomon of Valrico and Patricia Duncan of Palm Harbor.