Breaking Down the Old Mattress

Myself and two dogs slept on this mattress for a number of years; Sili every night and Cashew occasionally when i had a momentary lapse of judgement and decided to allow her access to the mosquito net tent. it had been through a lot. There came a time when the odor emanating from the fabric of this mattress was probably a mixture of sweat, wet dog, and dead animal (to be clear, the dogs roll in dead animal whenever they find it…dont come for me, im not out here killing animals and rubbing them on mattresses for the sake of being crazy). It was time. I had to call it. It was the most comfortable mattress i had ever owned in my life. It hurt to let it go. However, when the mattress scents your skin after lying on it for five minutes, you should probably get it out of the house. Its done its job and now its time for a new one.

I dragged it off the bed and into the shed for the time being and replaced it with a much less comfortable cheaper mattress because at the time of replacement i was working 3.5 hours a day and couldnt afford an expensive sleep-on-a-cloud type mattress. Oh well. There are bigger things to think about than mattresses and one day between now and 50 i will purchase another mattress that is hundreds of dollars and sleep-on-a-cloud type quality. There will be other seasons and other chances to buy bedding. This is just what we have for now.

One day i was having a conversation with my coworker. I needed to purchase a chainsaw at the hardware store in order to take down some of the trees that had succumbed to oak wilt. As the carpenter ants set in i knew they would become soft and porous and present a hazard every time a big storm came through. I needed to take them down if they werent living. The ants had a way of rotting wood pretty quick to the point where there wasnt a stick that wouldnt break in my hand to throw to the dogs. You dont want too many dead trees hanging around your structures with multiple colonies of carpenter ants on the property. So i was in the market for a chainsaw and researching varieties when a thought came to me. Perhaps i could solve two problems with 1 purchase. I had this mattress in the shed that now wouldnt fit in my new car. It was slightly smaller than the old one and even with the seats down the mattress wouldnt have fit. Also, i was pretty sure the smell would have stayed in the seats and floor mats of the car. I didnt really want the old mattress in there anyways. I decided the only thing to do was rent a truck from enterprise, strap the mattress down, and drive it to the landfill. However, i would need to take a day off work to do this during the landfill hours of operation and the car rental lots had been requiring 3 weeks to 1 month notice that you would like to rent a car to be able to guarantee they’d have one for you. I wondered if they even still had a truck. Places like enterprise get rid of their cars after a few years and just replace them with all new ones. Well, during the pandemic things got all screwy and they werent able to replace them this time around….and rather than seeing that coming and holding onto their old stock, they just flushed the cars they had per usual routine and then began operating with a bare minimum amount of vehicles. Thus, it became a situation where there was a waiting list to rent a car. It all seemed like it involved a lot of moving parts and variables that i didnt want to or have the time to deal with. So the old mattress remained in the shed, taking up a lot of space and blocking access to everything behind it. Now that i was researching chainsaws an idea popped into my head. I thought, “what if i cut the mattress up? Then it would fit in trash bags and i could transport them in any vehicle.” My coworker said, “You dont want to do that with a chainsaw. That is going to be a mess, foam everywhere! It will probably gunk up your chainsaw too.” He said, “What you need is a good sharp hunting knife.” I shrugged, “I dont hunt.” He said, “i can lend you one of mine. I sharpen all my hunting knives myself so i can guarantee you its good and sharp.” I said, “Thank you” and took him up on his offer.

My coworker brought me a hunting knife in a holster the next day. It appeared to be nice and sharp. It was a heavy knife. Boy did it do the trick. I set the mattress outside in the dirt and began carving it up into pieces.

When all the layers were cut into chunks i bagged them in trash bags and put them in the back of the car. I think there were ten bags total when all was said and done.

The next day after work i drove them to the landfill 3 minutes before closing time in an attempt to pay cash to dump the bags there. I should clarify that i live in one county and work in another. I leave for work before dawn and come back around sunset. So i made it to the landfill in the town where i worked 3 minutes before they closed. I was super anxious the whole drive there because i wasnt sure if i was going to make it but here i was and i still had three minutes. I pulled up to the gate and red a sign that said “Only citizens of Gillespie County may drop off materials at this location. All violators will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.” I realized that my drivers license indicated i was a citizen of Kerr county, not Gillespie, and that would be because i didnt live in Gillespie county, i only worked here. “The fullest extent of the law” sounded pretty menacing and i was sure i didnt want anything to do with a fine or ticket or jail time or whatever punishment they had planned for violators of the rule. Disappointed and dejected i turned the car right around and drove home, car full of the bags that i was now uncertain how i was going to get rid of. I would pretty much need to take a day off work to drive to the Kerr County landfill during business hours. I was always in Gillespie county. I pretty much lived in my car. Kerr county was just my technical living place, the place where my stuff was. Then an idea came to me. My coworker lived in Gillespie county. I would just give him the money to pay the landfill to dump the bags, plus a little extra for labor, and see if he would drive the bags over to the landfill with his local drivers license and license plate. He agreed but he wouldnt take the money. I told him he would need at least some of it to pay the landfill. They would likely weigh the car on the way in and the way out and then charge him based on the weight of what was dumped. He said he had a different plan. He had me drive up behind his truck and transfer all the bags into the bed of his truck. He divided the bags between himself and another coworker (his friend) and they each got rid of a couple a week with their regular trash service that allowed them to fill a huge can, regardless of how many bags were in it. You see, i dont have city trash, i have a private pick up service, and they allow you two bags per week, not the amount you can fit in a giant can. So, they got rid of my mattress through their city trash service in Gillespie county. I was thrilled to have the shed back, super grateful to my coworkers for helping me get the bags to a landfill in some way. And i realized how problematic it was to need to get rid of something large on the homestead. Many of my neighbors burned trash in a barrel. I had made a commitment that i would never do that for one reason. Everything we manufacture nowadays has a label on it warning that the materials could cause cancer, just from making contact with your skin. It seems to me that burning those materials, so that you can inhale the cancer causing particles into your lungs rather than have them against your skin, might be a bad idea health-wise. I would not dare burn a memory foam mattress. There are probably so many woo woo chemicals in there it would make my head spin to know what i was sleeping on.

This will not likely be the last time i have to undertake this task. Mattresses wear out. I will have to do this again. I think that next time i will likely take off work and make a day of it, getting rid of anything and everything that i need to take to the landfill in the county that i technically live in.

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    1. Yes, i have wonderful coworkers where i landed now. They have given me deer meat, vegetables from their garden, let me shower at their house in the winter when the whale is frozen at my house, let me mail packages to their addresses when the seller wont do a PO box or when i need to pick it up from the post office and wont be in my town during business hours, and my boss even offered to drive half way to another town to get me when my car died. Also, the one that lent me the hunting knife will always read you scripture if you tell him you are having a bad day or a rough time. He has a library of devotionals for coworkers and patients to borrow and he knows just what verses are going to be relevant to help anyone through any situation. Its a good crew.

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