Tuesday, December 14, 2010

"New Bed"

This is one of those “what it’s like now” stories.

I’m very fortunate to have parents who are doing well, financially. They aren’t rich, not by a long shot, but they’re doing well enough to help me out as I’ve been struggling with being unemployed. They plan their finances well so that they can buy one ‘big’ Christmas gift for my sister and me each year.

This year, they offered to replace my old bed. They gave me a price range and I went to Ikea to try out mattresses. I found one that felt great that was low enough in price that I could pick up a frame and the support slats as well. I found out how much the delivery charges would be and sent my folks an email breaking down the full cost with tax. On Saturday, we went out and got everything.

Delivery was made the next day, Sunday, and I started putting it all together. For those who aren’t aware, Ikea furniture is all do-it-yourself assembly. Personally, I enjoy putting my furniture together. There’s just something about it. Call it strange, but I feel more connected. It must be a throwback to when I was a kid and was always taking everything apart. The bed frame went together, piece of cake, but something seemed strange about it that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I set to work on the slats that sat in the frame and made up the base.

Oh. My. God.

It took forever. Hundreds of pieces. Hours and hours of work. I think I was about a third of the way through when I thought to myself it was a good thing I’d done the frame first, otherwise I never would have finished and would have just given up and slept on the couch for the night. Of course, if I was still getting high, I never would have finished. It probably would have taken me days, or a week for all I know.

The slats were in two halves that, once assembled, hooked together. After I finished the first set, I noticed that they seemed a little wide. I laid the one half into the frame and saw with dismay that they covered about two thirds of the base. I’d ended up with the wrong bed frame. I stepped back into the hall to check the box the frame had come in and, sure enough, I’d ended up with a double-sized bed frame and not a queen. Shit. It looked like I was going to be sleeping on the couch after all.

The next part is really interesting to me, actually. The old ‘fuck-it’ thinking came up and I was about to say forget it to doing the rest of the slats, that I’d just sleep on the couch since there was no point to finishing since I couldn’t put it all together, but then a different kind of ‘fuck-it’ came to my mind. I said to myself, “fuck-it, I’m going to finish anyway.”

I disassembled the bed frame and stacked it out in the hall. The second half of the slats went together much quicker from my figuring out how to do the first half. I put them together and laid them down. The mattress was a queen (thank God!) and I set it down on the slats. Mattress pad, sheets, quilt and pillows all went on. I made the bed up and laid down on it. Ahhhhh… I slept well that night, proud of myself.

In the midst of all this, I got a call from Ikea that my folks had been overcharged for the order. I told them I’d be in the next day to deal with it. After all, I had to go in anyway to exchange the frame.

Yesterday, I found myself looking at the bed frame with dread. Ugh--return lines. Bleah. I took the headboard downstairs and out to my car where I discovered (wouldn’t ya know) that it didn’t fit in my car. Shit. No cause for panic, though. My folks have my old pickup truck. So I drove out to their house, switched vehicles, and went back to my apartment. I loaded up all the pieces of the bed frame, even going so far as to lay a sheet down so that they wouldn’t get damaged and would be in good condition for the return.

Inside the store, the clerk told me that normally they don’t take returns if the boxes have been opened. Shit. Then she said it looked ‘damaged’ and that she’d take it anyway, considering the circumstances. She gave me store credit, as well as store credit for the overcharge. I thanked her. She listed out the location in the stock of where the queen-size frame was.

Ikea is a pick-and-pull kind of place. All the pieces in their showroom have tags telling you where the furniture is stored. You write down these aisle and bin numbers, then pull the boxes yourself and go check out. When I got to the location where the queen frames were stored, I checked the labels carefully to make sure I was getting the correct size. They all said ‘double’. No wonder I had the wrong frame--they’d stocked the incorrect size!

I found the clerk who’d helped me with the exchange and showed her the problem. She thanked me and got on her radio to get someone out with a forklift. Then she tracked down where the queen size frames were actually stocked. I loaded up my boxes and went to the check out. With the extra store credit from the overcharge, I was able to get the queen size frame without having to pay any extra. After dropping the boxes back at my apartment, I drove back out to my folks and switched cars again.

Back home, the new frame went together as easily as the other had. I laid the slats down inside and they fit like a glove. I slid the bed on top and made it up. Victorious, I laid down and breathed a sigh of relief. Ahhh…

Now, what makes this a “what it’s like now” story isn’t what I’ve said here, it’s what I haven’t said. Nowhere in any of this did I dissolve into a hissy fit or a shouting match. I didn’t yell at Ikea for the overcharge or the mistake in the stock. I wasn’t happy about having to go through all this rigmarole, but I did it calmly and without incident. And, actually, with a minimum amount of swearing to boot. In fact, I probably laughed more than I swore. Because, ya know, life is just like this!

My old way of dealing with all of this would have been to have a tantrum, to do everything I could to berate Ikea, and to wallow in self-pity about how shit always happens and it always happens to me all the fucking time. It’s not like that for me anymore. The most amazing part is that I didn’t even counsel myself not to do those things. My natural reaction was to have a little bit of an ‘argh!’ moment, then shrug my shoulders. Then I took action and dealt with the situation. I did it--without thinking--with patience, calmly and rationally.

I’m really happy with my new bed. I’m probably even happier with it because I did have to go through an ordeal to get it. It looks nice and feels great to sleep on. But more than that, it’s become yet another symbol of the continuing improvement in me, in my life. It’s one more example of the proof that working the program has been good for me. Even a normie would have been challenged to go through all that with a calm temper. For me, it was natural. Just another miracle.

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