It takes a village

There is going to bed and then there is Going to Bed.  On New Year’s Eve, I Went to Bed in a bedroom—in a bed—my bed!  Our bed.  We had bought it on sale and on credit nearly a year ago, to replace the one made soggy with Sandy.  We could hardly wait the three months until we could sleep in it, in our own bedroom, at home.

Fast forward to 2014, and you see where we’re at.  Our bedroom at home is a criss-cross of wood and wires, and on New Year’s Eve, 14 months after the hurricane, we moved our nearly year-old “new” bed into a new apartment.

Under the covers waited 2014, eager to ease us out of our lumpy old year and into the loan-financed, space-age-technology new.

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Years ago my parents had lent us the money to buy our first Tempurpedic, doctor’s orders.   It was $2,000.  That was an unseemly amount of money for us, and we couldn’t imagine where we’d come up with it.

A decade later, we’d have one less job and need to come up with one hundred times that amount, so we could purchase a new bed and all that surrounds it—walls, floor, ceiling, roof—everything that will one day shelter us, and all we will wake up to in our future, in our house.

Fortunately, our disaster loan for contents allowed us to replace our box spring and therapeutic mattress.  We’ve been paying down that bill since last winter, and the big boxes first gathered dust in the Sleepy’s warehouse and then, when our pleas for clemency ceased to elicit compassion (businesses are only Sandy-sympathetic for so long, except for Bed, Bath, and Beyond—to this day, they would actually let us camp out in the bedding section if we found ourselves in a tight spot), our friends let the monstrous boxes consume all the space in their garage.  They were severely affected by the storm, too, and when they were ready to renovate their garage they built a bed shed.  They made up a story to convince themselves and us they needed the shed for their own purposes but these are people who, at the bottom of a sand pit, could not be convinced to suspend their extreme altruism even to save themselves.

Not too long ago we transported the mattress and box spring to the storage space we were also supposed to only rent for three months (not surprisingly, with the help of these same friends).

All this time, as you faithful readers know, Steve and I were sleeping on separate twin air mattresses because we could not fit our bed into the basement studio we’d been living in since last New Year’s Eve.  Nor could we squeeze a queen-size air mattress on either side of the support beam in the dead center of our floor space.  We figured we could endure the twin air mattresses for three months by gazing yearningly and symbolically at each other from opposite sides of the pole, in concept replicating the long-distance longing that fueled our love in the early years.

Multiply those three months by four, and we’ve added a year to our already impressive long-distance record.  It’s amazing how agonizingly separating a mere three feet can feel.

A few days ago, another friend offered to get up on a Sunday and close the miles between us with his truck.  He and Steve loaded up our bed-for-two and hauled it to our new place.

As for the air mattresses, one had foreseen its own demise two weeks ago and exhaled completely under a sleeping Steve.  He used the twin feather bed from a friend and the memory foam topper from another to form a makeshift mattress of sorts.  Mine held out, and needed to be flattened and folded on the last day of the year.

It is positively intoxicating to deflate an air mattress on purpose.  The powerlessness one feels at 3 a.m., when the fifth Aerobed in a year starts to sag beneath one’s back, cannot be overstated.  I am quite prepared to put that humbling season of our lives, well, to bed.

Our first two air mattresses were given to us by a generous family member.  We had to replace each, one from Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and later the other, online.   Since then, Bed, Bath, and Beyond has exchanged, for free, five more popped mattresses—even the one we bought online from another company.  “Anything else you need, you just let us know.”

Our pillows and blankets were donated by yet other friends and purchased anonymously from an online registry for people affected by Sandy, and I will soon return the body pillow I used to partially support my aching back to still someone else.

As I settle tonight into the purest comfort I have ever known, I will remember that this night’s sleep has been brought to us, over a year, by at least seventeen separate acts of kindness.

Not even Ambien is that good.

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