Worst bed ever

Last night I stayed in a dingy hostel with what I shall crown the worst bed ever.

The rickety bunk bed creaked and squeaked as I looked for a way to clamber atop. As I searched for footholds, it was revealed that this is the kind of bed you would find at your grandparents’ place that hails from the fifties or sixties. You know the type with the metal mesh that is suspended trampoline style in the frame. The type that can’t do anything but sag really.

Atop the saggy bed was a very sad mattress. It had clearly seen better days, but now, after much tossing and turning of backpackers upon it, it is so mean and bitter as to stab you with the springs inside it. I will even go so far as to say there is nothing soft about it, not even the covering. Just tired metal coils to stick and poke as you lay like a banana and will sleep to come quickly.

Each tiny move you made, be it bodily or adjusting the position of your foot, caused the bed to squeal and rock, creating more metallic creaking sounds.

This bed is even worse than the dodgy, broken bed I bought in LA.

So, I moved on and pitched my tent in a campground where I could get a comfortable night’s sleep on my queen sized airbed.

Tool time

Bed being uncovered
After ripping off the interfacing the damage was exposed and I got to work ripping staples out.

All the cards fell into place this weekend for me to fix my broken box spring.

I spent Saturday stripping the upholstery off the frame staple by staple. As I had not yet purchased a tool set, I managed to do the job with my Leatherman (which by the way, has never been used as much as it has here where it is truly indispensable) and a pair of nail scissors. It did take a really long time though and my patience wore somewhat thin.

By the end of the day I’d removed the interface, the fabric cover and the big piece of cardboard sitting on top of the slats and exposed the frame in all its shoddy Made in USA glory.

Skeleton of a bed
After removing the fabric and cardboard. I still can't believe they tried to gaffer tape it up.

Cue to Sunday where prior to going to Home Depot for the timber I’d measured up and to buy myself a tool kit and drill I met up with My Friend Who Puts the A in LA to go to the Hollywood Farmers Market. I mentioned my planned outing and discovered that he has a drill which he gladly loaned me after I said I’d buy the drill bits he didn’t have. So that saved me a few bucks.

I always enjoy going to Home Depot (a Bunnings equivalent) in Westlake, between Echo Park and Downtown. The staff are friendly and helpful, and there are so many conversations going on in Spanish around me. Today no fewer than three people helped me out and I had at least four others ask if I needed some help. Maybe it was because I wore my damsel-in-distress-I-don’t-know-what-I’m-doing look. I find it is always helpful when doing traditionally male things, even if I really do know what I’m doing.

I picked up the drill and driving bits for A, bought a probably dodgy $10 tool set, some screws and had five pieces of pine cut to length. I had initially been concerned that the timber wouldn’t fit in Esmeralda, but they did easy peasy as unlike my Daewoo in Australia, she has fold down seats.

Drill time
Putting the drill to work on the slats

Back home I pulled the frame out into the lounge area and tried to rip off the broken slats. They were nailed down harder than they looked (with an odd little nail that had a thread on the end) so in the end I just broke off the splintered pieces. The centre rail was broken and had a piece missing, so I screwed a new piece of pine to the side of it and up against the chock blocks and then put the four new slats into the frame.

Finished piece
Finished and atop the frame! DIY success.

I decided against putting the fabric cover back on because it was one of the manky items that had been painted, and also it was just more work! Dad always says I do a rough job of things (on the DIY front), and whilst it probably rings true on this occasion the end result is all that matters, and tonight I will sleep in an elevated position for the first time in ages.

Follow up to the Bedacle

After sleeping on the not-so-amazing bed and waking up at 5am (something that never happened on the airbed) I figured out the problem.

Unable to sleep on the sagging bed, I pulled the mattress off the boxspring to see if that made any difference. It did. When checking the boxspring in the morning, I discovered that three of the wooden slats were broken. One had even had an attempted fix up with a roll of duct tape. Hmm, I was definitely duped on this purchase.

So I have a few options:

  1. Try and fix the boxspring myself with a visit to Home Depot for some timber slat replacement and some screws. In doing so, I’ll also have to recover the top with a cardboard like cover.
  2. Ditch the boxspring all together and keep sleeping on the mattress on the floor.
  3. Buy a new boxspring.
  4. Buy a bed frame that doesn’t need a boxspring.

All of these options, except for number 2, require time and research.

In the meantime I decided to do something about the aesthetics of my bed and purchased a lovely soft 400 thread count mattress protector and some 600 thread count sheets. So hopefully this means I’ll get a better night’s sleep and also put some good quality layers between me and Sheila’s paint job.


The bedacle

Perhaps I’ve consumed too many American home-style brownies today, but all I can do is laugh and shake my head at the debacle of buying a bed.

I’ve been sleeping on a blow up mattress for a month now, and it’s getting quite tiresome. Those that know me well know that I like to lounge about in bed a fair bit, and that pastime is considerably hindered when there is nothing but air and flocked top plastic beneath you. Feeling on a bit of a roll with all my fabulous purchases of the last week (car, computer, some great garage sale pick ups) I jumped on Craigslist this morning and searched for a mattress.

Now, I’d looked plenty of times, but none of those times was I looking with intent. I had made a couple of ‘going nowhere’ calls about beds and had kind of gotten distracted by my overwhelming need to get a car first. This morning, I narrowed the search to owner only, hoping to find a you-beaut quality mattress and boxspring (what we would call an ensemble in Australia) going cheap. I stumbled across this post:

Beautiful queen double pillow top mattress is in like new condition and is super comfortable. Once you sleep on this double pillow top you wont want to ever sleep on anything else. I have only slept on this bed for less than three months (always had a mattress protector on it) because I moved in with my boyfriend. Mattress is two years old and is completely clean.of stains, rips or funky smells. Actually this set has been in cold storage since january of 2010. I can deliver.

A picture of the advertised bed

The photos of the mattress looked good and the price was nice for a good quality one at $225 for the mattress and boxspring. So I called and left a message for Sheila who then called me back not long after. She immediately went into the detail about the mattress, the pillow top, that it was virtually brand new and had hardly been slept on. She said she could deliver tonight after work if I went halves in the gas and that she would also throw in a free bed frame (here that just means a little metal trolley with wheels on which to place the boxspring). I said bring it on. I proceeded to then document my excitement via Facebook with a series of images of my blow up mattress and my empty room awaiting the new, super comfy bed.

On the phone Sheila had a distinct accent that I can’t place but is what you hear in the movies frequently. It has a Southern twang about it and a gravelly undertone. When I met her at the gate she totally lived up to her voice. She was a little woman in her forties, but with a younger movement about her. Her dyed blonde hair was half hidden underneath her black hoodie and she jumped out of the big white pick up truck driven by her big, goateed boyfriend and proceeded to act a bit jittery. As she opened the door of the truck, a strong waft of cigarette smoke also exited, as though it too had been trying to escape the cabin of the truck.

Gin, J and I helped take the occie straps off the tarp and we pulled out the mattress which was wrapped in plastic. Sheila retrieved a torch from the truck and shone it on the mattress, saying how the reason she wasn’t sleeping on it was “as you can see, my boyfriend’s a big guy, 6’4″ and well, it wasn’t big enough, you know?” She carried on about it for a little while, whereas I was just keen to get it upstairs. I handed over the cash and watched them back out of the driveway, trying a few times to get the big truck lined up down the narrow driveway and closed the gate behind them as they drove home to Santa Clarita (quite some way away).

In the meantime, Gin and J had carried up the frame and boxspring and J helped me carry the mattress up the stairs.

Quite excited to have a bed, I ripped off the plastic and exposed the rough fabric of a not-the-quality-I-thought-I-was-buying pillow-top. We put the mattress on the boxspring and I pressed down to hear a loud creaking as pressure was applied. The mattress certainly didn’t look as though it had only been slept on for three months. Then I saw where a stain had been cleaned. I touched it and my fingers came away white. I felt duped.

How will I sleep tonight?

Adopting a “oh-well-ha-ha-they-got-me-but-at-least-I-have-a-bed” demeanor, I got the hairdryer to dry where I’d assumed they’d just left upholstery cleaner like J’s attempts at cleaning our white couch. Then, as I was making my bed, I noticed another spot on the bottom corner of the side of the mattress where my fingers came away white again. On closer inspection I discovered that they had painted over some scuff marks on the mattress. Who does that? So much for the “completely clean of stains” claim in the ad posting.

So I didn’t get sold the mattress I thought I was being sold but I’ll wait and see how it goes to sleep on tonight. I probably could have got a new mattress and box spring from a wholesaler for only a little bit more, I was just trying to find a good deal, instead I think I was the good deal for Sheila and her boyfriend. No doubt they are at some seedy bar drinking beers and laughing over the money they made off me right now. Do I dare text my displeasure?

For future Craigslist purchases, I must remember to do my due diligence or else the joke will always be on me.