Most people can’t wait to get home after a long trip so they can sleep in their own bed. In our case just the opposite is true. We can’t wait to get out of town so we don’t have to sleep in our own bed. To put it bluntly: our mattress is the pits.
This may sound crazy but for my husband and me, anything – I don’t care if it’s a rollaway bed in the world’s cheapest motel; a pile of scratchy flea-infested blankets on the floor of some European hostel; a rope hammock strung between two trees in a sultry rainforest; a hard, smelly goat-hair pallet in a remote Mongolian yurt; or a worn out futon in a noisy frat house – anything would be better than what we’ve been attempting to sleep on for the past ten years.
It wasn’t always this bad. In fact, there was a time when we actually liked our mattress. But that was back when it was brand new, you know, in those golden halcyon days before the springs gave out and the sides broke down and it got all wavy, and big lumps suddenly started bubbling up in random places.
These days, going to bed is something we put off as long as we possibly can – sometimes into the wee hours, until we can’t hold our eyes open any longer – at which time we clasp hands and give each other that look Thelma and Louise exchanged just before driving over the cliff. Then we ease into our respective Marc-and-Lee Ann-shaped trenches where we remain absolutely motionless until morning. True, such rigid immobility means we always wake up painfully stiff, but believe me it’s the safest alternative, because if Marc even tries to turn over I’m either going to end up wedged underneath him or launched airborne, and he loves me too much to risk it.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering – yes, our bed looks every bit as awful as it feels. I used to be proud to make it up with my beautiful tapestry-patterned comforter. Now the whole things looks like Aladdin’s magic carpet came to rest on top of a big pile of old rubber tires.
Are you starting to get the picture? Good. It’ll help you appreciate the next part of the story. You see, for years we’ve been griping about our sorry mattress and vowing to get a new one; but like most home improvements (new roofs, new hot water heaters, etc.) and most body improvements (new knees, new porcelain crowns, etc.) it’s the sort of thing that invariably gets put off until something drastic happens.
Well earlier this week…something drastic happened. I guess you could say it was the straw that broke the camel’s back – only in this case it was the night’s sleep (or lack of it) that broke my husband’s back. He’d just gotten home from an extended overseas trip and was understandably exhausted, and on top of that he was also fighting a cold. "Don’t worry, Honey”, I assured him. "You’ll feel better after a good night’s sleep.” Turns out – as Jim Carey would say – "I was WAY off!” When the poor guy woke up the next morning he could hardly move. His spine was fused in the shape of the letter "S”, and even with both of us tugging with all our might we like to have never extracted him from his Marc-shaped trench.
"Calf rope!” he cried (which is Texan for "I give up!”) Within hours we were at the nearest mattress store – I think it was called "Go to the Mattresses”, but I may be confusing that with something else – where we must have laid (lain? lied?) on a dozen demo models. It was a scene straight out of The Three Bears. This one was too hard. This one was too soft. This one was too expensive – but it was also just right, and soon Papa Bear was fast asleep, right there in the middle of the showroom floor. Before the sun had set on that very day, the too-expensive-but-just-right mattress (one of those ultra-firm, high-tech, body-contouring foam jobs – king-sized, no less!) and its happy owners were all resting comfortably in our bedroom.
Some of you might be too young to remember this, but back in the late 1960’s John Lennon and Yoko Ono staged a protest where they stayed in bed for a whole week. Seven days? Ha! That’s nothing! Now that we’ve got this new mattress, Marc and I could beat that record lying down!