Wednesday, September 02, 2009

King of Wishful Thinking

Melanie and I own a queen-size bed. It was originally Melanie’s brother Mark’s, but he bought a new bed and donated his old one to us when Melanie and I got married. I don’t know how long Mark owned the bed before giving it to us, but since Melanie and I got married in 2005, I’d guess that it’s at least five years old, and almost certainly a few years older than that … and maybe even a few years older than that. I don’t know how long beds are supposed to last. And though it sounds like I’m setting this up to say we need a new bed, I’m not. Not exactly, anyway. In my opinion, our mattress is just fine. I find it very comfortable. But the box spring is, and I think always has been, incredibly noisy. Squeaky and creaky, like the floorboards of a 120-year-old house. And even that wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t so darn sensitive. You can’t move a muscle without the bed groaning. It’s amazing REM sleep itself doesn’t cause the bed to squeak. On restless nights, I worry that our neighbors must think Melanie and I are still in the honeymoon phase with all the creaking they must hear. (On the plus side, when Melanie and I do get romantic, our neighbors probably can’t fathom that we’re doing anything romantic—it must sound like lumberjacks deconstructing a rainforest.)

Confession: I’ve never purchased a bed before. I have no idea how it works. I don’t know if you buy the box spring separately or what. I would think so; I know not everyone has one. But in the little bit of research I’ve done online, I don’t see any stores saying anything about box springs for sale. I can find mattresses aplenty, but nobody mentions box springs. What’s the deal? Not that we’re likely to buy a new box spring even if we can find them. But it’s nice to know our options, just in case we someday make our dream a reality. We’ve been talking about buying a new box spring for a long time, but it’s never seemed absolutely necessary, so it’s hard to do it. Of course, this is based on my assumption that it would be a fairly expensive purchase. I’ll be angry at remaining ignorant for so long if it turns out they’re not too pricey. But I assume they are. And so, let the creaking continue.

Noisy box spring aside, my real motivation for writing this post is how crowded I’ve ended up feeling in a queen-size bed. Before you bust out the fat jokes, I only feel crowded when Peter and/or Edison ends up in bed with us. But, so far, that happens almost every night, at least at some point. More often than I’d like, I end up lying on my side on the very edge of the bed, which not only feels unstable but can cause my arms to go dead and ache. (Thankfully, I don’t have nearly the problem with dead arms that I used to have, though it helps immensely if I’m not stuck lying on my side.) I wouldn’t have thought that a king-size bed could make much of a difference, but I learned otherwise when we recently stayed at a hotel in Savannah, Georgia. We had a room with one king-size bed, and to my great astonishment, all four of us fit in the bed rather comfortably! I couldn’t believe it! Consulting the omniscient and infallible Wikipedia, it turns out a king-size mattress is wider than a queen by a whopping 16 inches. I guess I didn’t think it’d be that big of a difference, but now that I’ve seen just how beneficial those extra 16 inches can be when you have children, I’m eagerly awaiting the day when I’ll have a king-size bed of my own. The problem is, I probably can’t afford one until my kids have all grown up and moved away. (Cruel non-literal irony!) Realizing just how lovely a king-size bed would be also discourages me from investing in a new box spring – why invest in a new queen-size box spring when that would pay for a substantial portion of a king-size mattress and box spring? Fortunately, being a grad student precludes me from worrying much about making these kinds of decisions. A more realistic decision I’m currently facing is whether or not to splurge and buy bread that costs over a dollar.

The preceding message was in no way brought to you by Oxfam International.


  1. This post makes me laugh because Chad and I could write a post that is almost exactly the same.
    We bought our bed right before we got married. It was $100 and we bought it from a condo sale where the FBI had stayed during the Olympics. Cheap, cheap mattress, but hey we were newlyweds. Not too long after we started sleeping in it, Chad jumped onto it. (Really, he jumped were weren't doing newlywed stuff at the moment.) My dad helped us repair some of the wood in the box spring that Chad had broken right before we moved into our aunt's house. My dad was smiling when we told him we just didn't want a noisy bed when we were going to be living with somebody and our room was above somebody else room.
    Our bed was quiet for a while, but then Chad jumped on it again. Seriously! That monkey needs to stop jumping on the bed. So, the boxsprings are insanely loud. When Ben was born we had to slither into the bed like snakes as not to wake him in his bassinet. Fortuntately Jack is a much deeper sleeper.
    The bed was only $100 and it was about that comfortable. Springs started sticking out. Eventually my sister gave us her mattress because they bought a king size bed. Just a mattress, no box spring. The bed is more comfortable but it's loud.
    Now that we have two kids who always end up in our bed. We desperately want a new bed. King size of course. We've had the money set aside for four years, but I can't bring myself to spend that much money. It's just such a difficult decision to make because it's something I will spend a third of my life in. We are intended to buy a bed in the next couple of weeks, before we move into our house. We'll see if it happens.

    Box springs aren't too terribly expensive, but they probably always give you a better deal if you buy a mattress too. Since the box spring isn't the part you sleep on, maybe you could just look on Craiglist or something. Just make sure it's front a smoke free, meth-lab free home :)
    Transporting might be a funny story, post a picture if you end up getting a box spring you have to transport yourself.

  2. My first thought was Craigslist, but a quick search showed more people looking to buy than looking to sell.

    Perhaps in May when school is ending instead of starting, the ratio will be reversed.

  3. I can really empathize with you about the bed, especially clinging to the edge and your arms going dead. Papabear and I recently got a queen-size bed and it has made a world of difference. I don't wake up hurting all over anymore.
    You can buy just the box springs and they shouldn't cost much. Do you have a Deseret Industries store? They make their own furnishings and can be very reasonable. The box springs are important to your comfort too.
    My recommendation is to find a little mattresses only store. There is tremendous difference in the prices. Furniture stores really charge a lot.!!! You can save tons of money by going to the little store. We bought a box spring and mattress set for under $500. At the furniture stores, they all started at around $1000.

  4. Go to Beds Beds Beds on Tennessee Street. Friendly guys, best prices in town, cheap delivery. Just helped two friends buy mattress sets there.

  5. You ask how long a bed should last? Most mattresses on the market today have a planned obsolence of 5 - 7 years. The reason is the mattresses are made of poly urethane foams. These foam are made from petroleum oil. It takes a 55 gallon drum of oil to manufacture just one queen memory foam mattress. These mattresses are so highly flammable the government required manufactures to make them safer, so they poured more toxic chemicals in on top of it. CPSC says the levels of Atimony (rat poison found in chemical flame retardants) is so high (63 times what the FDA claims is safe) Remember Asbestos & cigarettes? Where the mattress industry is today is where the cigarette industry was just 20 years ago.

    I would lay away a Savvy Rest Organic Mattress from our company Mountain Air Natural Beds. Go to your local mattress store and get a cheap box queen for $79. so you can at least sleep without the noise. Just don't jump or stand on the box because the cheap card board will cave in and you will be sleeping in a hole.

    Crystal for your husband who loves to jump around so much, you guy need a platform bed and a organic latex mattress (doesn't have coils to break down). BTW, these mattresses are $1,999 in a queen and you can expect a comfort life of 30 years. The rest of most peoples life. I see you have kids, you can make them their own bed by getting a 6" slab of medium Dunlop latex and a protect a bed encasement for $799 or order a 7" Twin Organic Tranquility model with zipper for $1,199

    If you want to sleep cooler & breathe better get rid of your synthetic mattress and bedding. Not sure, look at the law label.