My wife, Sue, considers me a strange bedfellow, which is why it took both of us to drive up to our hometown of Stamford, Conn., disassemble a bed, load it into a rental truck, drive it back down to our house on Long Island, N.Y., unload it, deposit it in our living room, disassemble a bed in an upstairs bedroom, bring it downstairs, load it into my car, drive it to our younger daughter’s house, go back home, bring the first bed upstairs and reassemble it in the aforementioned bedroom. All of this involved headboards, footboards, box springs and mattresses.
I’m exhausted just thinking about it.
And I didn’t even mention that more furniture, including a kitchen table and a set of chairs, was involved.
Fortunately, it didn’t happen all in one day. Also, we had help. And we are grateful to Sue’s mother and sister for their generosity (and, in the case of Sue’s sister, physical assistance) in giving us, respectively, the bed and the kitchen set.
Still, for someone my age (old enough to know better), it’s hard work, which I have always tried to avoid.
This is the best time of life because you can still do everything you have always done, but if there’s something you don’t want to do, you can pull the age card.
“I don’t think I should be lugging furniture anymore,” you might say to no one in particular, because no one in particular will listen to you.
Sure enough, it fell on deaf ears. And those ears belong to Sue, who pretended not to hear my feeble excuses (hernia, heart attack, death) about why we could live without all the exertion.
I must say, however, that we are a good team: Sue’s the brains, I’m the pawn. So we joined forces to get the job done.
The worst part of bedding against the odds involves: (a) mattresses and (b) stairs.
The mattress of one of the two beds has handles; the other doesn’t. With the former, at least you have something to grab hold of; with the latter, you have to try to grasp the smooth edge and lift, pull, push, slip, slide or, if you are not careful, drop it down an entire flight of stairs. Or vice-versa, though it’s impossible to drop a mattress up a flight of stairs because it will only slide back down with you holding on, handles or no handles, until you both crash to the floor.
It’s not that a mattress is heavy (any Olympic weightlifter can hoist one for at least three seconds before EMTs have to be called), but it’s definitely unwieldy. That is why Sue and I had so much trouble navigating each of them, not just up and down stairs, but around corners, over railings and past a wall full of family photos that include one of me when I was a baby (it was taken last week).
Then there are the headboards and the footboards, which are meant to be dropped on your head and your foot, respectively. These not only are unwieldy but are approximately as heavy as a full-grown rhinoceros, without the horn but with posts that can do just as much damage if they hit you in the wrong spot. After one such near-catastrophe, I was lucky I didn’t have to go to Vienna, either for medical treatment or to join the Boys Choir.
Finally, Sue and I got the first bed upstairs and put it together, a herculean feat that called for several infusions of cold beer.
That night, we collapsed on our own bed. It was the best night’s sleep we ever had.
— Jerry Zezima