Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Bed Follies: Time To Buy A Futon

...So I ended up returning that king sized bed I'd bought, having discovered that my greedy addled impulses had not accounted for just how much goddamn space the thing would take up; it was like having a beluga in the bathtub. It cost me a couple hundred clams out of my refund to unload it, but doing so was a relief; I found myself quite happy to return to my air mattress - which was quite comfy, even if it looked like I was camping in the corner of the suite. I've been sleeping on it again for the last week or two, unproblematically - but the idea of buying a bed has never been far from my mind.

The main reason I want a bed, I think, is psychological: I want my space to feel like home. My old apartment had a bed and a futon - both of which were ultimately sacrificed to the bedbugs of the West End. The sense of missing them - of having a bed that was my own to lie in, man - has been slowly building up since I moved into my new suburban suite on October 1st. Not only does this town not really feel like home - not like Vancouver came to - but my own apartment doesn't feel like home. There's no clawfoot tub, no hardwood floor, no gas stove, no large kitchen - it's not a space I chose because I liked it, like my last one (before the mice and bedbugs showed up); it's a space I chose because it was available, affordable, and close to my parents, and to hell with the rest. I haven't even been able to put art on the walls in the living room, since the main space is very well lit, compared to my old, and I don't want my posters and such to end up getting sun-faded. I don't even have a record player, anymore, since it busted when I turned it upside down to shake any bedbugs out of it, when packing. And like I say, no futon, no bed. Tables, chairs, my TV, all that has survived or been acquired anew - but given all the other differences, sleeping on an air mattress in the corner was contributing to my sense of the strangeness of the space, that it wasn't really mine. A bed - or a futon - would make a big difference, I reasoned. This may seem like the whining of the overpriviliged, given that many people live in far less comfort than I do - but understand, this fall and winter have brought about some big changes in my life, which aren't made easier by the strangeness of the environment I come home to. I feel more at home in my Mom's new apartment than I do mine - I've done a much better job of setting up her space so it's comfortable and livable than I have my own.
A bus trip to Ikea in Port Coquitlam demonstrates that no cheap solution will be found there. I almost buy a $600 queen sized foam mattress, marked down to $199 in the As-Is section, going so far to clumsily load up two carts with the mattress and the requisite parts for the frame and getting in the long Ikea line... but I reconsider before I get to the cash. The whole thing - frame and mattress - will cost over $500 all told, which is a LOT of money for me right now. It's just too much of a commitment for a man who is not absolutely sure what he's doing; I don't want to make another mistake. The mattress - with no protective plastic around it - might get damp or damaged during delivery; it might not be comfortable; "as is" likely means no refunds, this time; plus there's something inherently questionable about paying $199 for a piece of friggin' foam, however fancy it may be. Plus what if the damage noted runs deeper than the few visible stains? I can't make myself go through with it - fearing that the impulsive desire to just have DONE with the bed issue is the main driving force behind my desire to buy it, just like my too-hasty king-sized purchase of a few weeks ago. I excuse myself, back out of line, and wheel everything back into place, before trying to figure out how to exit the store (Ikea is a bit of a maze; I'm not very practiced with big box stores). The trip, all told, takes five hours - most of it spent between a busy highway and a garbage-strewn ditch, waiting for a bus amidst a gaggle of Asian-Canadian youth crowded onto the narrow sidewalk.

On to Plan B: a futon. Futons have the great advantage of being foldable; if I don't like it as a bed, at least I've got a couch again! I email a bunch of people on Craigslist; the only one who writes back who still has a futon to sell is, again, in Port Coquitlam. He wants $175 - a bit much, given that some people have free ones on offer sometimes, but it's there and available and has the right specs for me: a hardwood frame, a firm queen-sized mattress, in supposedly great shape from a non-smoking, bedbug-free household. The only drag is that once I make it out there, there's not much room for changing up my mind - say, when I discover that the underside has several dog hairs on it from the family pet (it better fucking not have fleas...). The thing is - as a non-driver, I'm imposing on a friend with a van to help me transport it, so I basically have to either take it or leave it. Fuckit: I'm still not quite sure I'm making a good move, but I take it, pay the money, and we load it into her van, dog hairs and all. We have to disassemble it to fit it into the suite, which makes for a bit of a jigsaw-puzzle challenge for me to put it back together correctly on my own after my friend leaves, my first attempt being all wrong and requiring a complete reconfiguration... but I finally get it together and set it up as a bed and stretch out on it...
Hm. Well, it IS a bit on the firm side. A bit TOO firm, really: my lower back hurts just lying on it. Firm is supposed to be good for you, innit? Does it have to be the kind of good that hurts?
Anyhow, I guess I'll get used to it (having no choice in the matter). At least it suits the apartment. I can always make a couch of it and go back to my air mattress, I suppose. After which point, I guess, I'll be giving up the pursuit of a bed. I'd never realized how good I had it in Vancouver - my old bed I bought used through a friend, and it was great; the same friend gave me his futon, which I'd slept on many times before then and knew I liked. Never realized how much luck was on my side back then. I'm learning now, I hope.
...And there's still so much to clean up, to put away: boxes of stuff from my parents' suite... a closet full of keepsakes from my father, some still needing sorting... pots and pans and glasses and cups and plates that Mom didn't want anymore, given her new, smaller kitchen. Papers to organize, books to shelve, CDs to put away - the battle to make this place feel like home doesn't end with getting the furniture sorted; even though I threw away a third of my personal belongings when I came out here, the space feels like a cluttered, cramped mess. I need to put some time into imposing order on the chaos.
Guess it's time to see how it feels, sleeping on my new futon...

2 comments:

ammacinn said...

I'm somewhat nervous when I finally go to bed: what if I sleep poorly and awake achey? What if the futon feels wrong - if I wake up with a stiff spine and the sinking feeling that I've misspent my money and am stuck with the thing?

I sleep for five unbroken hours and wake around sunrise to pee. I putter a bit online, debating whether to wake and start my day or not, or go back to bed. No aches, no pains - I slept comfortably and deeply, if briefly. So instead of spending the day organizing my apartment, as I'd intended, I end up crawling back into bed and luxuriating on the futon, thinking, half-dreaming, and ultimately sleeping until 10...11... 12... 1... 2. When I get out of bed, it's 2:20. I feel great. The futon - the bed - feels great: a few lumps here and there but nonetheless very comfortable. I've finally got a bed to sleep in...! What a relief...

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