Once upon a time i had norovirus and vomited continuously from sundown until the dollar general opened the following morning, until all i had to give was bile which was burning my throat and nasal passages each time. This resulted in some pretty severe dehydration and desperate to absorb water via osmosis or simply trick my brain into thinking i was getting water in some way, i soaked my clothes, a sheet, and laid wet towels all over my forehead and skin. Occasionally i would have to sit up rather suddenly to upchuck in a violent way and the towels flying off of me would soak the bed rather than me. This resulted in a certain mildewy odor. Had i not been such a loner i probably could have called a human who was not upchucking and asked them to drive to the next town where the walmart was still open and purchase anti nausea tablets. However, i am a loner and the result of that at the time was no one close enough to me to desire to run such an errand in the middle of the night. Add 4 years of unwashed and occasionally wet dog and you get a mattress that smells as if it has outlived its expiration date. It was time to get a new one. However, my financial situation didn’t think so. Unable to ignore that i had to scrub my skin thoroughly every morning in the bath to make sure i didn’t track wet dog and mildew to work every day, i was motivated by a strong desire to make the bed clean. Slightly before new years day i noticed things were on clearance online. I could get a mattress for 100 dollars, a comforter from gap for 22.50, 2 pillows for 3.50 each, and a flannel sheet set for 16 dollars, all with free shipping. This seemed like a plan that was going to help me render the bed clean. There was a sadness in me as i realized that if i did this i would not be purchasing the 8 inch extra soft memory foam mattress i usually got from walmart. The mattress was 6 inches. I knew it would be thinner and it ended up being quite firm with very little give. I bought it anyway, even though i knew it would be significantly less comfortable. I had to render the bed clean and this was the only way i could do that without putting myself in a situation where i had to seek extra work to pay for my splurge. I needed to keep extra money aside for 3,000 dollars of car repair, two $300 dental visits and any fillings that i might need pending discovery at such routine cleanings, home owner’s insurance, an annual blog fee, taxes, and i knew the government would revoke some of my health insurance credit when they realized i worked more than 3.5 hours a day during about half of my work days. Unable to give them a consistent number because it fluctuated and was not set, i guestimated an average based on what i was doing at the time. Then my hours moved to an average of 4.5 hours a day following the coverage of some full time people’s vacation and sick leave which put me at 8 hrs a day for a couple weeks and then an additional 4 or 5 days. I will need to set aside some money to atone for my sins of making more money than i said i would later. So, a super comfy thick memory foam mattress was not in the cards this year. I moved the old mattress into the shed, trying to convince myself that if i absolutely hated the new mattress i could put the old one back on, but i knew mentally i would not be able to convince myself to switch it back if i had one that smelled clean. I bought the thinner firmer mattress. One pillow case came with the sheet set. A sham came with the comforter. In this way i secured two covers for the pillows. Sili could have the pillow with the sham on it. The comforter was reversible with lavender tie dye on one side and solid lavender on the other. It was a thick cotton comforter and on sale. I usually stuck to blues and greens, unwilling to give those who thought i needed a husband to own my land, fell my trees, and lift my feed bags for me any indication that i might in fact be a girl. It wasnt that i didn’t enjoy a nice dusty rose color or a plum purple…i just didn’t want to have to overcome the additional bias it would result in. But, at the price the comforter was, from the gap, i felt it would be foolish to pass it up. The flannel sheets were gray with white reindeer and snowflakes. I would have a gray, white, and purple bed. It seemed the practical decision to make. I would repurpose the old blankets as fruit tree covers for the following winter.
There was a horrible little man who worked for walmart’s customer service department. He got angry i spoke when he was speaking and put me on hold indefinitely. Then i got an email notification saying that i requested the mattress be cancelled from my purchase. The sheets and the comforter were still on the order but the customer service rep had written that i requested the purchase of the mattress cancelled. I had called to change the generic delivery instruction “leave at door” because the address was a P.O. box and i was worried this would confuse the delivery driver. I spoke when the customer service rep was speaking and he informed me that he was very angry i was speaking over him and then put me on hold indefinitely. (He was telling me i should send it to my physical address next time and this wouldnt happen and i was trying to tell him i have a PO box out of necessity rather than privacy because i live some place where the city does not provide mailboxes because im too far out to be considered part of it.) I say indefinitely because i gave him the benefit of the doubt. I waited for him to return but he never did. I ended up having to call back twice. The third customer service rep was kinder than the first two, could see what had happened, confirmed that he had indeed cancelled the mattress from my order, and gave me a 20 dollar off coupon to buy the mattress again but this time for 80 dollars instead of 100. So, in the end the first agent’s petty behavior saved me $20 but if i could have kept my blood pressure in a safe range for the hour that i dealt with him, i would have gladly let them keep the 20 dollars. Tired of problems and setbacks, to make sure that this mattress made it to its destination, despite the auto generated delivery instructions, i paid my friend in a nearby town with a legit porch and a mailbox 2 dollars as a courtesy fee to address the mattress to her, send it to her address, and pick it up in my car upon her notification of its arrival. It arrived vacuum sealed. I wrestled it into the mosquito net tent and let it inflate. When it was near done inflating i put the linens on the bed.
It is different. Im trying to remind myself different is not necessarily bad. It is very firm. It is clean at least. It smells very nice, like clean linens. I tried to keep it that way by banning the dog from sleeping with me. Cashew appreciated Sili’s company for about a week. They would curl up together and sleep with their heads on each others’ backs. However, i really missed Sili. There’s nothing that helps you get to sleep more than a dog holding onto your arm with their paw and smooshing their head against your chest or shoulder. After a week i said “oh **** it” and Sili climbed into the bed. Sili’s assessment was similar to mine. It wasn’t as comfortable as the expensive memory foam. It was thinner and firmer. She looked at me like, “what did you do?” she slept curled in a ball at my feet instead of stretched out with her head on the pillow under the blankets. We missed the smelly mattress but neither one of us would admit it…her for fear of losing bed privileges and me out of sheer denial. I quickly ended up with my neck in nots and my back really tight. I would wake myself up at night because i was getting sore and needed to change positions. There was something initially more comfortable about the support of a firmer mattress…you didnt sink into it like the expensive memory foam. However, gone were the days of waking up in comfy memory foam bliss…too happy to move. I told myself, “you were the one that wanted to work less so the dogs could have more outdoor time. You were the one who wanted to work only for privately owned companies and no longer for corporations. This is the consequence. You make your choices, and then you must live with them.” This was the mattress we could afford. I stared at Sili. Sili stared at me. “It’s a good bed.” I said. She looked at me.
I had better get used to it because walmart reviewed my complaint about the customer service rep cancelling the mattress from my order and decided that he was indeed in the wrong for his actions. They sent me the mattress from the original order…to the PO box. They left it despite the auto generated delivery instructions. Now i have 2 of them. I stood at the post office bewildered, not wanting to be ungrateful. It is a perfectly good mattress. Now we just have the next one for four years from now when this one wears out. I pressed my lips together in a thin line. This is a perfectly good clean mattress. We are happy to have it. We will get used to sleeping on a firm mattress. It can be done. It will be done. 2023 is the year of a clean house and smart budgeting. It will be fine.
Update: On Wednesday i made my usual trip to Kerrville to buy produce at Red Barn. I stopped at the Walmart afterwards and bought a 47 dollar vacuum sealed 2 inch mattress topper. When it was done unfolding and inflating i put the bed back together and tried it out. Sili and i looked at each other in complete relief. This will do. It’s not the old mattress but close enough to it with the topper. I got my first solid sleep since replacing the mattress and Sili curled up on the pillow under the covers rather than sleeping on top of the comforter at my feet.