Friday, September 18, 2015


I know a few people who make a habit of flipping their mattresses on a monthly basis so they can avoid the inevitable and much-dreaded mattress “sinkhole” for as long as possible.  I, however, have had my mattress for over six years now and haven’t flipped it even once.

That’s because it weighs about 900 pounds.

For years, when it came to buying mattresses, I gravitated toward the cheapest ones I could find. I remember one mattress and box-spring set I looked at that was only $199 because, according to the sales clerk, they were mismatched. I kind of suspected as much when I noticed that the mattress was yellow with brown flowers and the box spring was blue with white stripes. But that didn’t bother me. I figured the sheets would hide the differences anyway.

Still, I wasn’t certain I was being told the entire truth about why the price was so cheap.

"You didn't just slap some new coverings over a bunch of old, used mattresses and box springs so you could hide the bedbugs, did you?" I asked the sales clerk.

He laughed. "I assure you, everything is brand new."

So I continued to buy the cheap sets…which ended up lasting all of six months before the springs started to pop up like jack-in-the-box clowns and sadistically jabbed my husband and me in some very sensitive places.

And then there were the aforementioned sinkholes.  Because my husband was over twice my size, his side of the bed always sank pretty quickly.  So I’d spend my nights clinging by my fingertips to the edge of the mattress, so I wouldn’t roll downhill into his gully.

I can remember one night, after my husband’s knee surgery, when he couldn’t bend his legs to sit on the edge of the bed, so he flopped backwards, from a standing position, onto the mattress.  The wooden slats underneath the box spring made a noise that sounded like lightning striking a tree. The next thing I knew, he and the mattress were on the floor.

So six years ago, I finally decided to splurge on a good mattress and box spring, something that might last a little longer than baseball season. No more cheap fabric that would tear if my pajama buttons rubbed against it. No more metal springs wedging my ribs apart and flattening my liver. No more unfamiliar brands with names like, “Snores Galore.”

No, this time, I wanted nothing less than a famous-name, high quality mattress.

At the very first store I browsed in, I actually found the perfect mattress.  It was thick and solid and had a built-in puffy top, kind of like a giant pillow.  Even better, it was on sale for half-price.

At the clerk's insistence, I stretched out on it.  It had been so long since I'd slept on anything that didn't resemble a ski slope or a topographical map of the Himalayas, I'd forgotten what a level mattress felt like.  It was heavenly.  I actually could feel my back muscles writing me a thank-you note.

"And watch this!" the clerk said. He sat down hard on the other side of the bed and then bounced a few times. "Feel anything?"

I didn't feel a thing. My side of the bed never moved, not even a smidgeon.  I was sold.

"I'll take it!" I practically shouted at the guy.

"Great!" he said. "Will you be taking it with you today?  If not, you have 48 hours to pick it up."

I just stared at him. "You don't deliver?"

He shook his head. "Not on discounted items. They are strictly cash and carry."

Nice of him to conveniently forget to mention that fact until after he'd made me fall in love with the darned mattress, I thought bitterly. I could just picture myself lugging it on my back out to the car and then hoisting it up onto the roof and strapping it down.

"Well, I guess I won't take it, then," I said, sighing.

The guy obviously couldn't have cared less.  Before I could say another word, he'd already rushed off to assist another customer…someone who probably owned an 18-wheeler.

I finally ended up spending nearly $2,000 on a famous-brand memory-foam mattress.  It didn’t have springs or even need a box spring. It was just a thick slab of foam…that weighed about as much as a cruise ship.  I also bought a bed frame with a solid platform on it, to support the new mattress.

Believe me, getting used to a mattress that had no bounce at all wasn’t easy. The foam, which was made to contour and conform to the exact shape of the sleeper’s body, kind of felt like wet cement when I stretched out on it. For the first few seconds, my body sank into it, then stopped when the foam finally contoured to it.  I feared that if my 100-lb. dog ever jumped on me while I was lying in bed, I’d sink out of sight, kind of like in quicksand, and be smothered to death.

But as time passed, I learned to love the mattress, especially since it contained nothing that could squeak or poke me when I moved. The only problem was, it was too heavy for me to flip over.  In fact, just trying to lift the edges of it whenever I changed the sheets was enough to herniate some essential body part. I’m pretty sure if I ever do decide to try to flip it, I’ll have to call at least five or six other people, preferably weightlifters, to help me.

But considering the price I paid for it, I intend to keep this mattress for at least the next 30 years. I mean, I could have bought about 10 of my usual mattress sets for that amount of money. On the plus side, however, this mattress will prevent me from gaining weight. That’s because I’m afraid if I get any heavier, I’ll sink so far down into the foam, it will completely swallow me.

So if I ever go missing…check my mattress.
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