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And the mattress saga continues. In fact, it turned into a French farce. You didn’t see that one coming, did you, dear readers? Or perhaps you did. We have already regaled you with stories of carrying a mattress on the roof of a car in a blinding rainstorm and Gill carrying a large futon through the streets of Glasgow, so perhaps the element of surprise is gone.

But, not to be outdone, the current debacle involves me becoming a therapist for a delivery guy offering TMI with my mattress, L’il Sis potentially riding on the roof rack of my car, a bed store employee with, you guessed it, a bad back, Crazy D’s 120 km impromptu bike ride and a potential lawsuit. All in a day’s work for this family. I know that, at this very moment, Gill is shaking her head and thinking, “I’m so lucky I’m not living with those idiots right now. They can turn something simple into a major slapstick comedy short. A bad one at that.”

So, the mattress delivery was set for yesterday afternoon. The truck pulled up at the appointed hour.  I happened to be across the street with The Pig, watching my neighbour plant some flowers. She had just offered me a glass of wine (it WAS 3 o’clock so the drinking hour was virtually upon us) but, with the appearance of the truck, I had to refuse. The Pig and I raced home to welcome the new bed.

After the box springs, mattress and new frame were carried to my room, the head delivery guy asked if they were to take the old ones. They were…with the old bed frame.

“Why? Nothing wrong with it,” he said.

“I thought it wouldn’t be strong enough to support the new mattress,” I offered.

“Nah! It’s fine.”

After spending a huge amount on this purchase, I rejoiced in the knowledge that I could return the new frame and recoup some money. I requested that they take the boxed-up frame and put it in my SUV so I could (this is me being efficient) return it to the store on my way to retrieve L’il Sis from her job.

The delivery guy ( A very large, burly fellow) seemed to be spending an inordinate amount of time on his cell phone. “Bad day?” I asked. In fact, he was having troubles on two fronts simultaneously.

I then learned too much about his personal life. He had been married for 9 years, was getting a divorce, had two teens in this blended family and the kids were choosing sides, he was working extra hours, living with a friend to save money for a new place. And trying to appease the kids via cell phone while at work. When I mentioned that I too was divorced and had gone through issues with kids,  his face burst into a big smile. I felt he viewed me as a comrade in arms– or at least a cheap therapist.

Then the bad news: “They didn’t send your new pillow and mattress cover with this order,” he apologized. “It’s somewhere on another truck. Don’t know where. That’s the office I’m speaking to…trying to figure out where your stuff is.””

No matter, I thought. I’ll simply pick up another pillow and cover at the store when I swing by with the frame. My new bestie cheerfully offered to put the frame in my car. It took a lot of manoeuvering. The front seat went down flat and the frame was angled between the seats, virtually rendering all but the driver’s seat useless. No matter. I’d drop the frame off on my way to pick up L’il Sis. It would only take a few minutes.

At the store, I explained my problem to the woman manning the front desk. She cheerfully looked up my file and tried to change  the original receipt to return the price of the frame, take the pillow and cover off the original shipping order and replace them with inventory from their store. Couldn’t be done. The program didn’t like what she was trying to do. She tried several different ways, but nothing worked.

“I have an idea,” I offered. “How about I buy some of these lovely bamboo sheets for which I have a coupon and that will roughly break even with the refund for the frame? Maybe the computer would prefer a swap…”

She looked hopeful. She began pecking at the computer keyboard with renewed vigor, determined to get rid of me…although by this time, we had shared a few laughs at the situation. “Don’t tell anyone I did this,” she said.

Time was flitting by. I was now late to pick up L’il Sis. Using the store phone, I called my house to see if Crazy D was home from his ‘short’ bike ride (he left five hours before) and available to pick up L’il Sis. He was not. (When he eventually turned up four hours later, having ridden 120 km, he wolfed down his second or third dinner of the day.) I then phoned my daughter’s cell to explain that I might be another half hour and that she should wait for me.

Meanwhile, back at the computer, the store lady was ready to chew off her arm in frustration.”Could you come back tomorrow morning?” she asked. “I’m sure we can figure out how to do this by then.”

“Well, I could, but my daughter will have to ride home on the roof rack…on account of the frame riding shotgun and taking up most of the room in the car.”

I didn’t want to be difficult. ” I HAVE to leave the frame here. It’s taking up most of the space in the car and I know she doesn’t like the feeling of dead bugs in her teeth.”

“Oh, but I can’t lift it. I hurt my back today and cannot lift anything. And trust me, you can’t either. It’s VERY heavy.”

“Is there someone else here, perhaps lurking in the back warehouse space, who could help?”

“No. The other person who’s normally here had to fill in at another store when another salesperson called in sick.” Of course he did.

“How about asking someone at the store next door?”

With an odd look on her face, she quickly said, “No. Can’t ask them.”

“Why not? Are they old and crippled?”

“Actually, yes…”

As we were contemplating our dilemma, a couple entered the store. The man was tall and sturdy looking. The store woman and I locked eyes , a lightbulb moment for both of us.

“Stay here”, she ordered and trotted off to greet the new customers. “This is your lucky day”, she said. I have an offer for you. I will give you 20% off anything you buy if you’ll help us get a frame out of this lady’s car!”

“Be happy to help,” the man said.

Then, just as they reached the door, the store woman turned and asked, “You don’t have a heart condition or anything, do you?” He was not a young man and no doubt she was seeing lawsuits flashing before her eyes. Considering she had just done several things way outside the framework of ‘company policy’ with my bill and reshuffling stock, I think the timing of her question and concern was a bit off. I mean, in for a penny, in for a pound. Happily, the man lugged the frame into the store without incident, not even slipping on the banana peel that had fallen from the car cup holder (evidence of my attempt to counteract my late day sugar low).

In due time, the bed was dressed with freshly laundered sheets and I awaited bedtime with great anticipation. I was finally going to have a good night’s sleep!

The mattress was wonderful but I still had a lousy sleep. Remember that missing pillow? The one I replaced with one in stock from the store? I hated it! Although I had tried it out in the store, I found it to be uncomfortable when I slept on it. And of course, it can’t be returned. So I’m thinking, since I bought some sheets with the refund from the frame, I can return the sheets instead of the pillow that I can’t return and come out more or less even, money wise. Aargh! And somewhere, on some truck, my original pillow and cover are still touring Southwestern Ontario. But, on the plus side, L’il Sis didn’t have to ride on the roof rack, nobody was injured enough to file a lawsuit, and Crazy D had a nice long bike ride.

And yes, Gill, I can feel you shaking your head in disbelief…Just be grateful we are quite capable of doing stupid stuff without you having to be involved.