Friday, April 23, 2010


When one is married and has two dogs and three cats, sleeping quarters become very cramped. Yes, it is so, that both dogs and all three cats (two now deceased) used to sleep with us no matter where we were. This included the full bed at my in-laws house which caused serious consternation, since if you have every slept in a full sized bed with another person, you know that it is more than a little cramped. Add to that 130 lbs of four-legged animals all with night-time gastro-intestinal-air-release and you have nothing short of a potential natural disaster. Couple that with either no sleep or disturbed sleep with very unpleasant dreams and you have a downright crisis on your hands.

The sleeping arrangements were also a little tight in our queen sized bed at home. The slightly larger size of that bed made it a little easier to sleep, but there was still the fighting over prime feline real estate, and Zac’s tendency to expand to fill whatever space he is in. I think some days that he is part goldfish, since when he is sleeping in his own bed he takes up scarcely more space than his little, tightly curled body, however put him in a queen sized bed and all of a sudden his 60 lbs seems large enough to span the grand canyon. We are still trying to name this most irritating of phenomenons.

We decided that the only way to remedy this situation was to up the ante and get a king sized bed. Now mind you, neither of us are very big people, and when we have slept in king sized beds in hotel rooms we don’t see each other and certainly don’t touch over the expanse of bed available to us. We, as we have been trained by the pets to do, claim our own side and don’t stray from the 6” at either the right or left edge. Nonetheless, after weighing the options and realizing the pain of contorting around the fur-people, we decided a king size was the way to go. Even if we did continue to stick to our requisite 6”, the remaining 60” in the center of the bed was sure to be enough for the two dogs, remaining cat and replacement kitten, We figured then we could bring the old queen size to my in-laws house thus increasing the likelihood of getting any sleep at all.

Since we had come to the conclusion that we were going to buy a new bed anyway, we decided that it should be the most comfortable bed on the planet. I had, in the past spent no shortage of dollars on mattresses that I was sure would be the answer to my back problems. Several moves later, it occurred to me that the $1500 mattress would probably have been better for my back had I not had to lug it from home to home. Seems the liabilities of toting that thing around outweighed the benefits of using it in the first place. Live and learn. Se after much consideration, we opted for a Sleep Number. You know the Sleep Number. The Bionic Woman’s choice. I mean if it’s good enough for her, it’s definitely good enough for us.

We actually went to a store and had the nice lady test our number. Ironically we were both 35s. Who knew? It also seems to be the favored number of our goldfish-dog, Zac. The bed came in pieces and was rapidly assembled by two guys who looked like they would have had trouble constructing a Lego set. In the, highly likely event that I would have to move the bed, “some assembly required” was not going to cause the meltdown so often resulting from such things. Additionally, because the Sleep Number bed is basically an industrial strength air mattress, aside from the inconvenience of wrestling with a 76” x 80” rectangle, the weight wouldn’t be anywhere near that of the old double pillow top queen (you knew that joke was going to come out eventually).

The Sleep Number is, as I mentioned, an air mattress covered with, and surrounded by, foam. The reason you can adjust it is because you can add or remove air as desired by using a remote control attached to a pump which is cleverly hidden under the lego-frame. The reason that you can adjust your side separately from your sleeping partner’s side is because the queen and king beds actually consist of two different beds. You can inflate, deflate and jump up and down on your side all you want, and it won’t bother your sleeping partner because they aren’t on your bed. Your side is really your own bed. You don’t, however, have to worry about falling into the crack between the two sides because the crack is filled with foam and the two “sides” get zipped into what amounts to a giant pillowcase which leaves no room for shifting, but is surprisingly easy to zip up.

Sleep Number beds come in different grades, or “series”. Like everything else in this world, the beds increase in cost as the features increase. Our bed is the right-in-the-middle king. We also purchased a memory foam mattress pad because our model didn’t come with that extra layer of squishy, that we so enjoyed with the double pillow top of our last bed. It makes an already amazingly comfortable bed absolutely stellar. The great part about the memory foam mattress pad is that it’s removable and we have been known to travel across the country with it when we know we will be sleeping on a less-than comfortable bed for an extended period of time (which is painfully often).

Our Sleep Number bed is quite possibly the best purchase we’ve ever made. It was a little pricey, but it was worth every penny, and because there are no springs to sag, it lasts longer than a regular mattress making the extra up front cost actually cost less over your lifetime because you don’t have to replace it every 5 years. I’m actually hoping to die an old woman in this one. So unless you sleep with a machete, point side down, you don’t have to worry much about damaging or wearing your Sleep Number out.

All those claims they make about sleeping better and falling asleep faster, are actually true. I’m definitely not one to believe the advertisements, but there is no doubt that the bed has made a difference. We absolutely love it. The only reason we wake up in the middle of night now is because of the toxic fumes emanating from the pet’s nether regions.

Unfortunately, however, the goldfish-dog seems to have expanded even more, as predicted. We’re closer to having enough room for the whole fur-family, but if only we had just a few more inches. Maybe we need to buy another twin to increase the width of the bed another 50%. Maybe a triple king will give us the space we need. Or at least get us far enough away from the farts to not dream of outhouses. Maybe, but probably not.

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