The princess and the pea(brain)

by Andrea Mulder-Slater

We were at the furniture store, selecting a couch for the local youth centre, when Jan suggested I try out some mattresses.

It was a valid proposal since I’ve been sleeping on the same bed since college.

I graduated from college in 1993.

In other words, I have a problem with change. Once I find something I like, I have a difficult time replacing it, even when it's a mattress with a sag at the edge that causes Geoff to roll onto the floor at least once a week and springs that poke at my lower back like a bad masseuse.

The thing is, buying most anything new fills me with anxiety as thoughts like these float in and out of my head: What if I find a better one next week? What if it goes on sale the day after tomorrow? What if the boyfriend jeans trend doesn’t outlast the MC Hammer pants craze?

Like my dad used to say, “You’re a picky dick Walter” (Walter being my uncle). So, instead, I just hang on to my old stuff.

I’m like a hoarder with as-yet-unrealized shopping skills.

To give you an idea: My pillowcase was purchased eighteen years ago. My closet contains a pair of clunky, walnut-heeled shoes from the mid 1990s (think stilt-walker at a county fair). My cell phone doesn't connect to the Internet. And, I’m currently wearing a muumuu I found at a vintage clothing store when I was 18 years old.

You thought I was kidding, didn't you?

I know what you’re wondering... "Does she always dress like Mrs. Roper?” 

The answer to that question is: Only on the weekends. In the summertime. I’m a complicated woman.

Back to the furniture store and the mattresses with names like Comforpedic, Posturepedic, Cheapopedic and Expensopedidic. While the salesman prattled on about coils, pockets and box springs, I proceeded to sit, lie and roll on each and every bed, assisted (as always) by the 4 year old who was quick to announce, "These are nice. I have to pee. Can we go now mommy?"

She can be so unhelpful.

With the exception of one, all of the floor models were soft, like cream cheese with mountains of marshmallow fluff piled on top. Comparatively speaking, the one I ultimately decided on was as hard as day-old toast. It was perfect!

Still, I broke several rules that day, the first being: Do not, under any circumstances, buy a mattress on the spur of the moment without first doing your homework. Like I said, I’m a terrible shopper. Also, I was starving and in a hurry to get to the store to buy cream cheese, marshmallow fluff and bread.

Several days later, my new acquisition was delivered after having been transported by two immense men, in the back of a tiny pick-up truck. In the rain. Geoff declared it the most comfortable thing he had ever laid on. I on the other hand, suspected immediately that the store had sent me the wrong mattress. I said nothing to the delivery team but instead did the next best thing.

I sunk into the bed, sobbed myself to sleep and became trapped in Full Boat Pose for approximately six and a half hours.

Full Boat Pose - for those who were curious.


The next day - after pulling myself out of the layers of ticking and foam - I made my way to the furniture store. With the posture of a 90 year old gorilla, I lurched inside to confront the "sleep peddler" who had pulled the old bait and switch on me.

Me: You delivered the wrong bed.

Him: No I didn’t.

Me (motioning towards the floor model): But THIS is the bed I chose.

Him: We never sell our floor models, so I sold you the ‘latest version’ of that bed instead.

Me: But it’s a different bed. I want this bed. I NEED this bed.

Him: Sorry, you can’t have it.

Me: I hate the bed you sent me. It’s too soft. I need a firm bed. I’m terrible at yoga.

In the end, the only thing the salesman was willing to do for me was suggest I stick a sheet of plywood under the mattress. In return for his advice, I cast a spell on him involving fleas, armpits and rat turds. Big ones.

That afternoon, I took a shot of my bed made of quicksand and stuck it online for sale, for less than I paid for it, mostly because I was exhausted and also, I'm a little unclear on the science of economics.

It's like laying in a giant vat of cotton balls.
Thankfully, it sold immediately, to my neighbor who is far more flexible than I am and happened to be in need of a plush mattress.

Meanwhile, Geoff and I are back to sleeping on the same bed I’ve had since college. Also, "Buy high. Sell low!" is my new motto. Which reminds me... We’ll be holding a yard sale soon and if you have any questions about the merchandise, I’ll be the one wearing a muumuu.

No, really.

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