A Trying Time or Replacing the Mattress

Three years ago, I stopped in at the Sleep Number store at the mall and asked about the bed Jim and I had bought some years earlier. It dipped in a couple places, and I thought I needed to replace the mattress top. The salesman told me who to call and gave me a special code noting the model and date of our bed purchase. Since the beds were guaranteed for 25 years, a replacement part would be prorated, like tires that lose their tread too fast.

I decided to sleep on it. In those early days of widowhood, I tended to put off decisions as long as I could.

I unzipped that mattress top and turned it around and slept on it that way, even though it wouldn’t zip in place with the head at the foot. That lasted a year or so. Then I clumsily shook the unwieldy thing like the website advised. Maybe it helped a little. I zipped it back in place with the head at the head.

Out of the blue last week, I decided to take care of the problem. I clicked on the website and ‘chatted’ with a real person. The mattress top was three years more expensive than when I’d acknowledged the problem, but I bit the bullet and ordered it.

When UPS delivered a huge box, 4-foot x 2-foot x 2-foot, I opened it and wondered—What? The mattress top was zipped to an even larger part. How did this work? Was this right? This zipped-to-it piece had a tag on it: “IMPORTANT SAFETY NOTICE  To ensure compliance with federal and state flammability requirements, the Border Wrap must be positioned correctly within the mattress.” Okay, I’ve criticized the government at times for overstepping, but surely the feds weren’t going to come to my bedroom and demand I show them my Border Wrap.

Of course, I still had the owner’s manual filed in the correct folder of MY owner’s manuals behind the folder for HOUSE owner’s manuals (dishwasher, furnace, hot water heater). A diagram explained the correct way to put on this new mattress top, and the part it was zipped to with the Border Wrap went on the bottom, but I didn’t know how to take the entire bed apart. Instead, I opted for merely zipping the new top onto the old part that contained old Border Wrap. For ten minutes I painstakingly zipped my new top on, periodically resting my bum thumb, but making it to the end of the zipper, where—oh, no!—bulged a handful of extra mattress pad.

I had no choice. I’d have to take the bed apart and use the new bottom part with the correct Border Wrap. Yikes! That involved air hoses.  My mechanical aptitude is minus fourteen. Even if I took step-by-step phone pictures, could I get the cumbersome parts back together correctly?

Overwhelmed, I mentally went through a list of my friends. Who could I call and ask for help taking apart and putting my bed together? All would be willing, but some were at work, some out of town, and truthfully, a couple were as inept at this sort of thing as I am.

I had laundered the Sleep Number mattress protector, the special pillow top mattress cover, the sheets, and the blanket, so that night I’d have clean bedding. Would all that freshness go to waste? Would I have to sleep on the couch the rest of my life? my inner drama queen asked.

That evening, my oldest son was coming to town for supper, even bringing steaks to grill.  Whenever Landon visited, he looked for a list to see what I needed done. “Lightbulb changed. Gutters cleaned.” (The boys don’t like me getting on the roof.)

I added “Fix the bed” to the list.

But he came in carrying his laptop, still working a bug out of a program or something like that for his day job, not ready for his help-his-mom volunteer gig. While he checked code at the kitchen table, his girlfriend, Paige, and I and second-grader Jagger climbed the stairs, looked at the instructions in the booklet, and made a plan.

Jagger lugged bulky parts to other rooms to get them out of the way, and Paige confidently unplugged that first tube, the part I was so uncertain about, while I removed an awkward side piece.

We managed bit-by-bit to take the bed apart, position the new Border Wrap piece correctly, put the bed back together, and zip the new mattress top in place.

How accomplished we felt when the bed was made up fresh, all smooth on top.

Could I have done it alone?

I was afraid to try. Fear had defeated me.

We three had thrown out ideas and solved each problem together. We decided on the best course of action and then did it.

Isn’t that the way with teamwork?

That night I dreamed peacefully.