Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Mix and mattress... or just call us the Clampetts

A note to my readers (all 3 of you): I usually try to break my "travel" posts into smaller, more bite-size pieces, but this particular Memorial Day moving weekend was, in my humble opinion, epic and best described all in one sitting. So fasten your seatbelts.

The WPS and I spent most of Memorial Day weekend in the rain, in a cargo van, on the west side of the state, helping our offspring move into new apartments.

We rented a cargo van in Bermtopia and emptied out our storage unit. (Well, actually I can't take any credit for that. It was all the WPS. But I was there with him in spirit.) We also cleared out a few corners in the basement -- and hauled an old mattress off our bed as a gift for the Number 2 Son. It felt good to purge ourselves of old and unused furniture and household items.

About the mattress. We thought we were being so clever here. The N2S needed a new mattress and, to paraphrase, wanted to sleep "like, in a normal bed," rather than on the floor where he'd camped in various rentals during his college years.

Coincidentally, the WPS and I were in the market for a new mattress, but not the box spring that usually comes with a mattress set. And so began the perfect storm. See where I'm going with this? Boxspring (that we don't need) + (our former) mattress = "normal bed" for N2S.

So into the cargo van the mattress went -- plus 300 pounds of old college textbooks and other memorabilia, end tables, the last of the wedding gifts, and a lamp, lamp shade and sofa for Number 1 Son and The Miz (his lovely bride). Add to that -- one reluctant Australian shepherd mix, his dog bed, our bags and a plastic container with dog food, a box of Milk Bones and biodegradable poop bags. We were locked and loaded -- ready for our cross-state journey.

We did indeed look like the Beverly Hillbillies -- or, in our case, the Bermtopia Hillbillies. Except, as the WPS pointed out, the cargo van was enclosed so Granny couldn't really perch on the end of the vehicle like she did as the Clampetts triumphantly drove through the city of Beverly Hills at the start of each show. But still. I believe we were one in spirit.

Did I mention the cargo van was approximately 200 feet long? I didn't think so.

The rain started as we hit the Cascades, intensifying as we slide through Seattle on our way to Everett -- and N1S and The Miz' first (and, I might add, darling) apartment. By the time we reached their front (and, I might add, darling) door, we were in a rain storm of biblical proportions. . . except for the 20 minutes it took to unload the van when the rain miraculously abated. But when that last college textbook landed in the the living (and, I might add, darling) room, the clouds opened once again and resumed their dump.

The rest of the evening was wet -- and uneventful. Except for the WPS' three black jacks in a row and my own $110 run on a slot machine at a local casino. I love you, Pegasus. You know who you are.

Sunday morning was (mostly and surprisingly) dry and clear. Perfect mattress-hunting weather. Or so we thought. We loaded up Ben, the dog, and got on the road, Bellingham-bound, with the goal of stopping at the local mall to buy a "mix-and-mattress" set for ourselves and the N2S at Macy's. One rice cooker, toaster, and 45-piece flatware set later (all booty for the new N2S apartment), we learned we couldn't purchase a "to go" mattress set at Macy's. Doh.

Good-bye, Macy's. Hello, Sleep Country. Sky's still clear, though. Things are looking good.

But first, a word about mattress salespeople. OK, it may be one of the harder, sadder ways to make a buck, watching people flop on bed after bed after bed in search of the perfect mattress.

But, Mattress Sales Person, it doesn't help your case, when -- once your customer has made his/her choice -- you get a faintly queasy, greasy look on your face, as if you've just uncovered something that has gone very, very bad amongst the mattresses, and point out in a strained, pained, yet somehow amazingly predatory tone of voice, that our choice of mattress only has 207 coils as opposed the apex of all mattresses right over there, which has 1,516. So, so MUCH better for your body -- and only about $500 over what we've told mattress sales person we wanted to spend.

The upshot: We learned more about mattresses than I thought was humanly possible. But about 90 minutes later, we were out the door, cramming a brand-new mattress set into the cargo van. Next stop Bellingham.

Taking a few seconds to admire a half-full 64 oz. bottle of Budweiser tastefully displayed on the front steps of the N2S' Bellingham batchelor pad, we scooped up the lad and his girlfriend, extracted our new mattress from the van, and packed a 6-foot sofa, cushions, six-drawer dresser (sans drawers), TV stand and one small table fan into the back of the van and headed to the boy's new digs -- Magnolia Court. He's working there, rent-free, as an apartment manager over the next 18 months or so while he completes a degree in graphic design. I think it's going to be a pretty sweet gig.

The small spartan apartment, which comes with a huge, wide covered porch, is old and quaint -- perfect for the N2S. There was one scary moment when it appeared the sofa wouldn't fit through the apartment's skinny little front door, dashing all sorts of decorating plans against the rocks and creating much grief and anguish between the WPS and N2S, who were doing most of the heavy lifting. (I was in charge of the screen door.) But The Girlfriend gave it an another look and convinced us it would fit. And it did.

One more run and the N2S' large furnishings were moved. Our job here was done. Bruised, battered and still largely buffaloed by all matters pertaining to mattresses and moving, we retired to our hotel. As it began to rain in earnest. Again.

And here is where we stayed:

And where we ate:

And what we did:

A good time was had by all. Then we drove back to Bermtopia. In the rain.

The end.

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