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.

Raising the bar

Gin driving the U-Haul truck in ranch country

Craigslist is like an online Trading Post. It’s where you find all sorts of stuff to buy. Today it was a bar for a bargain.

The bar was a dual purpose purchase. It would form part of props for our short film and at other times grace Ricky’s apartment.

At 7 feet long, the bar was too big to fit in the back of the wagon, so a U-Haul truck was required for the 30 mile trip to Santa Clarita to pick it up. I rode with Gin in the truck on the freeway out of the city into ranch territory. So many horse ranches with the stereotypical white wooden fences lined the road as we struggled to find the address.

After about three u-turns on the windy road (not easy in a big moving van I may add, so high-fives to Gin) we finally found out that we’d been given the wrong address. Thankfully it was only a bit further up the road.

We drove into a small complex of four big ranch houses and met Butch, a retired guy, probably in his early sixties.Not living up to his tough name, he was lean with a silver beard, twinkly eyes and lovely demeanor. Butch used to be a set constructor and built the highway you’ve seen in The Matrix. Some of his old set equipment, a dolly trolley, helped to move the heavy bar from his upstairs self-proclaimed ‘mancave’ above the garage down to the truck. It was still quite a delicate process to get it down the stairs but we managed, and Gin and I proved our mettle to Butch, who had looked surprised at Ricky for bringing some girls to help with the job.

Once loaded in the truck we made our way back into LA where the next challenge was to unload the bar and then find a park in the street. We were lucky in finding an easy park in the street not far away because they can be tough to find, especially truck-sized parks.

Then, the big test was getting the bar up two flights of stairs and into the apartment. With some think-throughs, talk-throughs and just-do-its, we got the bar and a sweat up. Although the last little bit couldn’t have been done without the help of a neighbour who lent a hand at precisely the right moment, while it was in the air and in a pocket of inertia.

But, it looks great and was worth the adventure, although I’m not sure I’ll be volunteering to move it again…