Upkeep Note:
As Foreseen
18 June 2018

Our bed has been falling apart for about fifteen years. Lately, the need to replace it has taken on some urgency, but we have dilly-dallied. Kathleen found the right bed, but it’s pricey, and so we have dilated.

We bought it in 1999, I think, so we’ve certainly gotten our use out of it. It was made by Grange, the French furniture maker; our model is no longer available, even if we wanted to pay scads for it. It’s very handsome, and stained in the most satisfying green — a French, not English, gentleman’s green. When it first gave way, somewhere around 2003 — a story in itself — I shored up the bed rail somehow in a way that depended on the nightstand. Later, on the very eve of our trip to Istanbul in 2005, a fellow came and screwed up the whole frame with massive, nine-screw L brackets. The other fellows who, four years ago, unscrewed the bed so that it could be transported from the old apartment to this one were pretty rough about screwing it back together. All four bedposts — there’s a handsome footboard — would shed the side-rails without these brackets; the wood in all of them has given way.

And the bedpost nearest my head looks ready to lose its L bracket.

I was changing the sheets yesterday. Minding my own business. Having pulled on the fresh fitted sheet, I thought that I would give the box spring a little shove, because it tends to drift toward the side-rail on Kathleen’s side, what with all of me getting in and out on mine. A little shove — and the slats fell out of their sockets. The box spring and mattress didn’t fall all that far; Kathleen has forested the under-bed area with plastic storage boxes. But it was far enough from plane to prevent any kind of sleeping.

Stricken with helplessness, I called Ray Soleil, who, miraculously, was free to SOS. Having done this, I went ahead and fixed the bed myself. This is what always happens. Disaster strikes, my brain freezes. I call for help. While help is on the way, my brain resumes normal functions. In this case, I had no intention of actually fixing the bed; I just knew that Ray and I would have to have a space into which to tip the mattress off the box spring. This meant getting my nightstand out of the way. Once I’d done that, I thought I’d give the mattress a tug, using those handles that they weave into the sides, and it came about a foot off the box spring, perfect for tipping. Having nothing else to do, I went over to Kathleen’s side and gave the box spring a tentative lift. The mattress, now something of a bascule, was my friend. Without much effort, I replaced first one and then the other slat in its socket. Voilà. But I didn’t continue to make the bed. I thought that I’d better have Ray give it a once-over first, as long as he was coming anyway.

Ray said, “You know it’s going to happen again.” But it didn’t happen last night. When I called Ray just now because I couldn’t remember “L brackets,” he even more miraculously — masochistically? — picked up. “Don’t tell me the bed fell again!” Happily, there was no reason to.

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