14 February 2013

The Mattress

Well, we are in the market for a new bed (currently have a pillowtop queen, but it's not at all glorious; keep reading). But neither of us has ever shopped for or purchased our own bed before. I slept on a futon all throughout college and Emily had a full mattress. When we moved in together, she made me get rid of the futon and we shared the full.  Or double. It could have been a double. Shit, who am I kidding? It was probably a California twin.

Then we moved to Florida and it seemed that everyone we knew had an awesome queen or a king bed. Everyone had grown up and gotten rid of their college furniture in exchange for matching bedroom sets. Everyone except us. Either they already had one or we knew someone who was buying a new bed and needing to rid of their old one. Except us.

And one of those people was our dear friend Sarah.

One hot, sticky day in June, Sarah told me she needed help moving AND she needed assistance moving her bed. She had just dumped her loser boyfriend (the same guy who told her he dreamed about stabbing her in her sleep because she broke up with him and was seeing someone else; not a violent guy, just one of those nerdy types you'd see on The Big Bang Theory) and needed to move out of their apartment pronto. My first thought was to tell her to rent a U-haul but I'm a good person so I offered the use of my SUV. And I didn't want to find out her ex-douche stabbed her with a butter knife while she slept so I knew I had to get her out. And fast.

I was not excited to help her move (she's the type that packs as she moves) on a hot Florida summer day (I was so sticky with sweat, I could have been a honeycomb), but she was my friend and she needed help. Luckily for Emily, she was in WI at that moment so she was exempt from this horrifying day.

When I arrived at Sarah's house, she had a hot pizza on the counter and lukewarm beers she had just put in the fridge. Um, was she unaware this was June? In Florida? And one of my stipulations of helping her move was COLD BEER? Whatever. The sentiment was sweet and she fed and watered me so I sucked it up. Had I known what I was in store for, I would have asked for $1,000, a series of vaccinations (the kind you get when you go to Africa for the first time), and an orgasm. Seriously.

It didn't take us that long to pack up her crap and move it to her new place, which was nice because it was so hot. Did I say that already? Let me repeat. It was HOT AS HELL. So hot I think a cardboard box stuck to the side of my arm and when I went to put it in my SUV, the cardboard had adhered to my skin and tore a chunk off. The bed was the last thing she needed to move, which we saved for evening time when the sun went down. As an after thought, I'm not so sure that was a good idea because playing with ratchet cords and putting mattresses on top of my Saturn Vue in the dark turned out to be less than fun, but at least it wasn't as hot.

We loaded up her box spring and mattress on top of the SUV, miraculously figured out these stupid blaze orange ratchet straps (we had caught a mid afternoon buzz with those lukewarm beers), and drove slowly to her new place, each of us with an arm out the window, holding on to the mattress on the roof. Plus I drive a stick shift, so this was no easy task.

We looked just as, if not more stupid as those lawn care truck companies that are too cheap to provide their employees with ample transportation, so they just shove the sun beaten, decrepit looking workers in the back with the fallen trees, bushes, and what I would assume to be woodland creatures that have crawled in, thinking the back of the truck was a forest. We looked like idiots.

After we unloaded her nice big fluffy queen bed (thanks for rubbing it in) and got it set up, Sarah dropped a bomb on me. She told me we had to go back to the old apartment and get rid of a mattress. I was confused. What mattress? We had moved everything she had? She said it was from a friend (after seeing it, I don't know what kind of friend would unleash something this horrible onto another human being) and she was anxious to get rid of it. She started acting suspicious and seemed nervous when she would speak of this mattress. Later I would learn it's because there are video cameras by the dumpsters where she lived and she didn't want to be caught tossing a mattress in a dumpster where clearly you only toss garbage bags. By the way she was acting, I could have sworn she had committed a serious crime and was trying to rid of evidence. Little did I know, that could have been true based on the state of the mattress.

We arrived back to her old apartment and she brought me to the spare bedroom and showed me the mattress. Words literally cannot explain the horror I felt when I first laid eyes on this thing.

If memory serves me correctly, this is what I encountered:

My first thought was to call CSI because it looked like the mattress had been the star piece of evidence in a violent crime scene. There were stains that eerily resembled a Rorschach test and the thing smelled like and was as old as George Washington's death bed. If I had shined a black light across this abhorrent thing, I would have seen more semen than I ever care to in my life. And blood. And urine. And any other liquid that can weep from a human body. To say the least, this mattress was the nastiest thing I had ever seen in my life, besides the dead, drowned, bloated squirrel I discovered in a garbage can that had filled up with snow and melted during a spring thaw in WI.

I knew there was no way out of it. This mattress had to meet the dumpster that night, which meant I had to touch it. With my bare hands. And probably other parts of my body, like my cheek. When you move a mattress, it's best to let it rest against your body and I knew I would have to not only touch it, but carry it down two flights of stairs and across the parking lot to the dumpster. With my bare skin (I was wearing a tanktop and shorts). It would touch my bare skin. Everything else of hers was already moved, and that includes any hope of yellow kitchen or latex gloves she may have had. Gone. Long sleeves? Gone. Hazmat suit? I wish. Bare skin it is. 

It's really a shame I didn't look like this whilst moving it:

Who knows what kinds of diseases I contracted from that thing. It was a breeding ground for the Hepatitis Trifecta (A, B, & C), a number of STD's, and probably polio. I'm not showing any symptoms yet, but I'm still waiting.

I walked toward the mattress slowly, struggling to hold in the bile that was rising in my throat. Meanwhile, all Sarah could do was laugh at my reaction. I was screaming things like "Abe Lincoln murder scene", "rape/murder victim crime scene", "bloodborne pathogens", and "FUCK MY LIFE" and all she could do was laugh. All I wanted to do was cry. At one point, I even contemplated ending my own life (I was holding my breath for a long time, so it could have happened), but even in death, I couldn't stand to think that I would land on top of this cesspool of germs, crust, and piss.

Three beers later, I finally mustered up the courage to not only approach this mattress crime scene, but to touch it. With my pinky toe. I had to touch it with something and I could spare my pinky toe without being too upset. The thing was a giant "scratch n sniff". It was crusty, soggy, hard, soft, and emitted the foulest of odors that no landfill could even attempt to mimic. I suggested we just start the apartment on fire, but then there's the whole "arson is a felony=jail time" thing, so I quickly scratched that idea. 

Either it happened so fast, or I blocked it from my memory, but all I remember about moving this thing is holding my breath and picking it up, to quickly (and not so discreetly) throwing it on the dumpster. We didn't put it in the dumpster or next to it. No. We were in such a mad rush to get rid of this ancient, diseased, possibly historical artifact that we threw it on top of the dumpster. Looking back, we probably thought we were in serious stealth mode, sneaking through the parking lot undetected while holding a giant mattress, stealthily avoiding the cameras, but in reality, we looked like drunken loudmouthed laughing jerks shoving a mattress on top of a dumpster and running away as if we had just committed ding dong ditch.

Somehow, I survived. I should probably contact Biography.com and see if they're interested in my I Survived story, but they probably reserve those spots for people who are victims of crime, animal attacks, and freak accidents. Well, I know I was a victim, something was attacked on that mattress, and after touching it, I freaked. Maybe I'll qualify.

After listening to another round of hearty guffaws coming from Sarah the entire ride to her new place, she thanked me profusely while I cursed her silently. When I got home, here's a montage of what I did:

After living in FL for two years, we were approached by our friend Andria, wanting to do a mattress swap. She wanted our full box spring in exchange for a queen mattress. They had a full mattress and a queen mattress, but needed a full box spring and she new we were in the market for a bigger bed.

My first thought was "no way in hell am I accepting a mattress from everyone after what I had just gone through with Sarah". To give her the benefit of the doubt, she brought the mattress over and I did a 150-point inspection on it and thankfully there were no stains, odors, or diseases and we really couldn't pass up the opportunity to have a queen bed for the first time in our lives. So we got rid of the full mattress, bought a queen box spring, and it felt like heaven, sleeping on a queen from a full. But that feeling only lasted one night. The bed was uncomfortable and bouncy and it was difficult to get a good night's sleep. But we were poor so we dealt with it because after all, we finally had a queen bed.

Two years later, our friends Julie and Karl moved down here and bought a king bed. We exchanged our queen mattress for their queen (theirs was a pillowtop) and then we were really in heaven. Not only had they conceived their three children on the mattress we now slept on, which just the mere thought of their lovemaking can put me right to sleep with happy thoughts, but it was pillowtop heaven!

Well, that didn't last long either. We had to share the bed with Winkie and a few months later, we got a puppy. So now there's four of us in one bed. Wanks sleeps on my pillow, Kahlua sleeps by my feet, and Emily sleeps wherever the hell she wants. No joke.

On an average night, I probably have about 1/8 of the bed at my disposal. Every night, I claim my slice of mattress and at least 3/4 of my body hangs off the bed. Not only because Kahlua takes up so much room, which is odd because she's small, but Emily is an extreme bed hog. She shoves a pillow 'tween her legs, yanks on the covers all night long, and has violent RLS (restless leg syndrome for you anti-acronym people) and a weird habit of rubbing her feet together to fall asleep. She is also a heavy mouth breather when she sleeps, so I'm always trying to find a way to avoid that. Also, I'm scared for my life when she changes positions. I fear one day I will bounce right off that thing because she treats it like a trampoline. I literally have to hold onto the sheets when she starts moving around otherwise I know I will fall off the bed.

Needless to say, I seem to have bad luck with mattresses. I still have nightmares from the George Washington crime scene bed, I haven't gotten a decent, uninterrupted night of sleep in years, and we NEED a king bed like this:

Or a bunk bed like this:

We haven't decided. And no, please don't offer us your used king bed or I will stab you in your sleep, Sarah's ex-douche style.


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