May 2015: Twice upon a mattress

I don’t enjoy shopping.

Well, not exactly. I enjoy buying things. That part is fun. Comparison shopping, however, is mostly a bore.

Comparing items online is simple; doing so in real life is not a skill I have, nor do I have a real desire to do as other high-powered shoppers do: rushing around different stores in a 50 mile radius to see which outlet has the lowest price on whatever item they may be searching for in the hopes that after burning a tank of gas they can save two dollars from that store 40 miles away …

That’s just not me. In fact, I’m probably the worst shopper possible once I’m on my feet and in the door, because I tend not to care about ‘bargains’. I walk in with an item in mind and the expectation that it’s priced a fair amount that benefits both me and the seller.

Yeah, I’m an easy mark.

After closing on our house and moving in our belongings, we were faced with a literally uncomfortable situation: a distinct lack of furniture. It’s one thing to have a 50” TV sitting in the corner. It’s an entirely different thing to stand and watch it because there’s no chairs and the floor gets hard pretty quickly.

As a temporary solution, we purchased two lawn chairs and arranged them tastefully in our living room. Well, as tastefully as two beige plastic patio chairs can be placed upon wood laminate flooring.

Which is to say, not tasteful at all.

Luckily, a number of furniture stores are located near us conveniently grouped together, simplifying the process of finding the two overstuffed recliners we pictured replacing our tasteless lawn chairs.

(I’m not even convinced that the two chairs look tasteful on an actual lawn.)

I quickly discovered that freedom of choice can be a huge detriment when shopping- the greater the possibilities, the harder the decision is to make. I had an idea of what color I wanted, as well as material and features. With that in my brain, we were able to narrow down the possibilities to a much more reasonable representation our needs from which to choose.

Still, a recliner needs to pass the most difficult of tests, and there was simply no way for us to avoid sitting in many, many different chairs, trying to determine which one was a function of our requirements as well as our Goldilocks buttgroove neccesities.

It’s astonishing how tiring sitting in numerous chairs can quickly become.

Matters were not helped when my first sit-down test in the first furniture store went quickly, horribly wrong.

The first recliner we found that appeared to be all we wanted sat empty and alone, its lushly padded seat and leather-like finish practically begging me to plunk my posterior.

So I plunked.

Charmed by its warm, leathery posterioral embrace, and astonished that this very first choice could possibly be the chair that would return home with me, I relaxed, closed my eyes, and leaned back.

The back did not stop.

In cuddling slow motion, the chair continued until I lay flat back against the floor, my feet pointing towards the industrial steel roof overhead.

With heroic intent, my roommate sprang (stepped) forward and tried to help return my seatback to an upright and locked position by pushing my feet towards the ground.

The back of the chair then separated from the base of the chair, which returned to its original position, leaving me now stretched uncomfortably across the two pieces.

It was just my luck to first try an overachiever. I struggled to extract myself from this recliniest of recliners, finally managing to do so by simply sacrificing my remaining dignity.

Luckily, none had witnessed my mishap, so we casually (briskly) left the store without looking back.

It was hours later in a different store that we finally purchased our two recliners. At the end, I’m not sure if I chose the one I did because I liked it or because I was giving up or if it won for not trying to perforate my spine.

So, shopping for furniture is really not a favorite activity as a result.

During my hospitalization later that year, I learned two valuable lessons about hospital beds. First, being able to mechanically raise my upper body to an upright position was remarkably useful when I was not allowed to use my arms to raise myself.

And two, whoever invented the hospital bed obviously never needed to use one.

In addition to my inability to use my arms in a lifting manner, I was not allowed to reach or twist, either, making it nearly impossible for me to reach the bedrail and use the controls. Additionally, with the way the head of the bed lifted, simple physics decreed that as my top was raising, my bottom would be sliding towards the foot. Alleviating this by raising the feet as well nearly always resulted in a taco-shaped bed with my crumpled body as the filling.

When I decided I needed a new mattress after returning home for my lengthy recovery, I understandably dreaded returning to deathtrap filled furniture stores, and neither was I in any condition to spend lengthy spans of time shopping. I chose to forego any comparisoning and just return to the store from which we purchased our recliners months ago.

As bad as it had been to repeatedly sit and squirm to test the fit of a new recliner, testing mattresses proved even worse. Ironically, it was more tiring as well. With my cane and a paper testing pillow, I slowly shuffled around the showroom, lowering myself painfully onto different beds and trying to imagine after a few minutes how well I would feel after an entire night. Due to my condition, I wasn’t even able to test my favorite sleeping positions.

Eventually, all the mattresses began to run together, and I was no longer able to tell which I had already tested. None, however, had really slept out at me.

It didn’t help that deciding what mattress I wanted was really a decision I needed to sleep on.

But in the clearance section, I found hope once more. A pillowy dream of a mattress that felt like home to me as soon as I gently lowered (crashed) myself onto it. With my eyes closed, I blissfully felt myself swaddled in the chest hair of angels.

And then my roommate found the remote control.

First, he raised me to a comfortable acute angle.

Then the bed began to vibrate, massaging me without needing coins or a cheap motel!

I had found my new nocturnal home.

I also found the price tag marked ‘sold’.

The hirsute angels of my dreams ripped away, leaving me once again in pillowtop purgatory.

Luckily, we found another bed almost as nice, with the same features. Once again, I made my decision not really knowing if I chose the bed for its comfort, or to end my shopping ordeal.

My concerns were soon laid to rest.

At home, I quickly came to appreciate the new bed not only for ending the struggle of getting up, but as an upgrade from my old twin size to new queen dimensions, spreading out became a possibility and the cats finally had plenty of space to sleep on the bed instead of on my chest.

(Not that this has stopped them.)

While I may not have found exactly what I wanted, I certainly found the night time partner I needed, one that keeps me at just the right angle and quiets my muscles with soothing (rumbling) lullabies, no quarters required.

And hopefully, no more shopping nightmares for many years to come.

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