In case you didn’t know, I sleep on a waterbed. Well, prior to these past few days, I slept on a waterbed. Fairer to say that my default sleeping arrangements, typically, were that of a waterbed, and right now as I write this, but well before you read it, I sleep on an air mattress.
What’s interesting about this is that the failure on a waterbed is pretty catastrophic compared to the failure on a foam or spring mattress. If you sleep on a mattress right now, and if your house is set up for that kind of mattress arrangement, you can really easily replace it — heck, if I wanted to right now I could probably order a mail-order mattress from some ASMR-supporter, have it brought to my house, in maybe a day and that’s it, deal, sorted. But I don’t have the infrastructure in my house for that. I don’t have a space for a bed, I have a space for a frame that’s meant to hold a bed, and it is a lot of wood. It’s designed to hold somewhere between one and two tons of water after all.
That means to replace the bed, first, we have to get that out of the way.
What happened is that a leak formed in the bed, in the water containment called the ‘bladder’ over a period of time we don’t currently know for sure. Something like well over a day or two, possibly weeks. Thing with leaks is that over time, they get worse; water going through a leak pushes at the perimeter of the leak. This little leak escalated until suddenly, one morning I wake up and my feet are wet.
I get up, and I find water has leaked out of the bed, around my side of the bed, and what ensuse is a combination of panic and urgent action. Lay down towels, contain the water from spilling around and immediately start draining the bed. We put a hose in the bladder, then, using suction, siphoned it into the bathtub – along a hallway. That draining then had to be helped along later on, by using a smaller hose and buckets and dumping it in the laundry. This water is, by the way, shampoo flavoured, because you shampoo the water in your waterbed or it forms nasty mouls in there. It’s also still stale water, which smells awful.
Once the bladder is drained, we take the whole thing and get it out of the house. We then have to start taking apart the bed itself, to get the wood that’s damaged by the water out. That wood has to be either put somewhere water-safe so it can dry (like the undamaged drawers) or somewhere away from everything else (like the support boards that are mouldy, and now live outside until we can get them taken to the tip).
And that’s the first day.
Then we had to set up alternative sleeping arrangements, but that room is not useable, because that room has a bunch of drying wood in it and also smells like stale shampooey water. The floor is not available.
We got an air mattress loaner, and it went down the first night, so I woke up on the floor. Then we made a substitute using cushions from the sofa, which is not a great way to do it but that was okay for a bit. This is all while online orders are happening, as we seek to not ‘replace’ the bed as much as ‘rebuild a new bed with most of the same parts.’ We have to custom order the bladders, the support, the protectors, sheets of plastic to prevent further leaks.
Today, as I write this, and again, about a month ago, we had to put a piece of wood against a wall to cut the edges of it properly so it can be put into place, in the bed. All the bits have arrived — the bed platforms, the protectors, the bladders, custom fit, and the bed frame, custom fit to the wooden frame for that frame we have. But we can’t work on it right now, because we’re still waiting on some parts to dry.
Okay, why am I saying this.
Partly because I just want to have a vent about it. It sucks! I’m sleeping on the floor, my hips hurt in the morning, I fall off the side. The space I record audio in never gets quiet, not properly; it’s got other people in there, sleeping, accommodating as best they can. It has undeniably hurt my workflow, which isn’t super important, but this also happens during a lockdown, so even just getting help from friends like a lift to the hardware store is hard.
This is a thing that’s happening.
I think part of why I’m writing about this, why it’s easy to write about this, is because this process isn’t simple, and it’s an infrastructural pressure I feel is easily misunderstood. We all have infrastructure, we all have stuff we build into our lives to make them work the way we want them to work.
Right now, things are hard, and something unique happened that’s making it harder.
It consumes what I’m thinking about, and it is often the only thought I can go to when I sit down in front of a blank page. Hopefully now you have an understanding of what’s involved. Or maybe it’s just me, taking notes, and wanting to make sure I don’t forget all the stuff involved.
Maybe tomorrow, to me now, not to you, reading it, it’ll be the time to put the bed bits in place. Maybe things will have dried. But bonus: I’ll be risking doing that while I feel bad, because tomorrow, I’m getting my first vaccine shot. That’s the timer I’m using for this, too – this article should be going up when I’m about to get my second vaccine shot, thinking about beds and heating panels and the long slow process of filling up two tons of water and hoping I haven’t messed up somehow.