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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Sleep Surface Saga

I've written about my husband's and my difficulties finding furniture that fits our budget, which in these past months has ranged from $0 to loose change. We were gratifyingly able to get a $50 refund on our futon when a sale went into effect at the store. We were feeling pretty settled, and even venturing into thinking about using the refund to get a cheap table to eat at and maybe use the computer when we weren't eating. Of course, that's when our air mattress got a leak in it. We slept on the futon while arranging to find some rubber cement to plug the hole, and even had an amusing time using the method my husband learned while briefly working at a gas station: we wiped soapy water over the plastic surface with a sponge (like he used to rub over tires) and the hole revealed itself with a little volcano of bubbling air.

Of course it was never the same once it was patched. We like to keep it pretty firm, and it insisted on sinking underneath us more than we wanted. We figured it was par for the course: we'd been using the thing every day for months, both for sleep and for extracurriculars, which we figured was beyond the scope of its design, anyway. It agreed with the thought by going completely flat within days and becoming unresuscitable.

So it was back to the futon. Why be dissatisfied with the futon? It's pretty lumpy and narrow for sleeping, and it's in the living room, where my husband can wake me up far earlier than before by grinding coffee and generally having the lights on. If we decided to sleep permanently in the living room, the bedroom would become useless and our pocketbook would ask loudly why we didn't just get a studio apartment.

It was time to get a mattress. We have a completely useable mattress... in storage in Pennsylvania. Knowing that, we really didn't want to spend the money on a mattress that would, in the best of situations, be a duplicate of something we already had, and in the worst, be something we would have to throw away if we left for greener pastures. We considered my dad's suggestions of getting thick foam pads of the kind people by for camping, but we couldn't find any such materials for sale near us. We looked for free and cheap things on Craigslist, and that's where we found our mattress provider.

We had to call ahead and make an appointment. The warehouse was in a nondescript building on a deserted-looking street. In the picture on our GPS app, it looked much cheerier than it was in person. For some reason, it made us feel less secure about our purchase when we saw Better Business Bureau insignias posted everywhere. We were shown a mattress with a garish balloon pattern that my husband wouldn't even touch, much less consider.

We were shown the next price point up from there and it seemed about as thin as a camping bedroll. The next price level was a "pillowtop," but the pillow aspect of it is still in question. It feels more like adobe bricks. I was surprised when my husband said okay, we'd buy it. The next level up was much more cushy, but we said to each other, as if convincing ourselves, that we wouldn't be using it long before we'd go back and get our deluxe memory foam dream machine in Pennsylvania. It wasn't worth it to pay that much more.

The delivery was same-day. They were going to charge $35 for the service, but we'd just had professional delivery of the futon for only $20, so, faster than the blink of an eye, the salesman lowered the price on our mattress by $35. We used a debit card for the purchase and it felt ever so risky. We wondered if every traffic cop was going to stop us for trafficking in stolen goods.

But only for a little while. Miraculously, a friendly man delivered the mattress a matter of hours after the purchase. In spite of its brick-like surface, my husband and I have been sleeping like the dead on it. It's much easier to get out of it in the morning since it doesn't slide around like the air mattress. The disconcerting squeaking is gone, too. Only two things nag at me: we still don't have a proper table to eat or work at, and when we happened into Big Lots the following day, they had a fresh shipment of Sertas for $50 less than we'd paid for our no-name.

Some day we'll win, and we'll be well-rested when we do!