There are a couple of household items that we won't skimp on in this house. Although I'm ok with cheap wine, I demand gourmet chocolate. Hank, on the other hand, requires high quality moisturizer, but is ok with a bargain bin husband. We learn these things over time.
One of the other things I've learned that we must choose carefully is a mattress. Hank's back is very fragile, made out of some delicate substance like fine crystal breakium. Years ago we bought our first mattress together and she bought the most expensive mattress in the store, some diamond-hard California King monstrosity, made out of diamonds and covered in a fine layer of diamonds. The salesman referred to it as "firm".
Flash forward about seven years and Hank has realized that our mattress is a bit too diamondy, almost hard. So we set out to the local mattress store to buy a new, firm yet cushy mattress. I made sure to offer no input in this process as we sampled mattress after mattress. I'm going to lay there each night and watch my alarm clock count minutes no matter whether the mattress is pillowy, firm, dialable, foamy, diamondy, or Kryptonitastic. It was Hank's decision. We intentionally shopped at a store with a no-questions 90-day return policy so that we could exchange the mattress if Hank wasn't comfortable after a few weeks.
So, she picked out some expensive mattress (with a pillow top!) and scheduled a delivery for later that week. Right on schedule, the mattress delivery guys appeared last Tuesday afternoon, with a big mattress to haul up our stairs.
They got about three steps up the staircase before they wedged the mattress between the stairs and the ceiling. Instantly, the delivery driver whipped out a release form.
"Sir," he began, "You have purchased a mattress which is not supposed to bend, but we'll have to bend it to get it up your stairs here. We can either take it back, or you can sign this release form, giving up your right to return it. You'll be buying it as-is at that point."
I stared at him, blinking.
"So, you don't think you can sort of scooch it up a bit further? Maybe just squish it a tad? Gentle-like?"
"Sir, we can't move it without bending it, so if you want this mattress you'll have to sign the form. Otherwise you're welcome to come back to the store and look at some of our other models. Some of them are bendable."
I didn't think Hank would be happy with a bendable mattress. This was the one she had picked.
"Do you think you'll have to bend it much? Looks like just a teeny bit. I think once you get it up over that step right there, it'll be ok, right? Hmmm? What do you think?"
The driver shrugged at me with a World Series quality poker face. I looked over at one of the other guys.
"I mean, don't you think it'll be ok?" I asked pitifully?
He shrugged. I looked at the third and final guy and made a pretty-please face. He shrugged too.
"Sir, you can either sign the form, or we can return the mattress for you."
I thought back to how the last guys had delivered our previous mattress, which was clearly not very bendable either. They had come up these very same stairs, and had not damaged the mattress. So, clearly these guys were just being over-cautious.
"Ok, gimme that form. I'm a gambling man," I blustered. I signed it and handed it back to the driver.
The driver finally smiled. "Don't worry," he assured me, "These guys are professionals."
The delivery guys started to push and pull the mattress. They gently popped it past the third step and only bent the mattress a bit. Then, it got wedged at the fourth step. So, pushed and pulled much hard and BENT THE CRAP OUT OF THE MATTRESS. By the time they got to the fifth step, the mattress was firmly wedged in place and had completely buckled into an 'S' shape.
Meanwhile, I paced back and forth in the upstairs hallway, watching the carnage and moaning pathetically. After a couple minutes of super-human effort, the delivery crew smashed the mattress past the blockages, and dragged it up the last few stairs. They stopped there, breathing heavily and sweating. They leaned the now misshapen mattress against the wall. It was still MOSTLY flat, but had an obvious deformity at one end where it was clearly curved.
"GAH!" I calmly screamed, "Did we just destroy my very expensive unreturnable mattress?!?"
The driver grimaced and shrugged. I turned towards the next delivery guy.
"BLARG! HANK! MMFFT! GRRRRBLLLLZQ!?" I asked. He averted my gaze entirely. The last guy stepped up.
"It'll be fine sir," he stated, confidently patting the mattress, "We'll put this bent section here against the headboard and you'll never see it."
I knew Hank would notice. There was no way that she wouldn't feel a broken mattress, but I was without a Plan B. The delivery guys moved the mattress into place, got a final signature from me, and exited the house very quickly. Hank arrived at home about 30 seconds later. She bounded up the stairs and saw the new mattress.
"Yay! New mattress!" she squealed. "Well, I'm off to make dinner."
"Why don't you try the mattress first?" I asked, my voice squeaking a bit.
"No, I should get dinner started. Besides, I have 90 days to try it!" she enthused.
"Uh, not exactly." I offered. "Just try it."
She glared suspiciously at me, but laid down on the mattress.
"Seems good," she said, warily.
"Try that middle part."
She scooted over. "That seems fine too. Why don't I have 90 days to return this?"
I gave her the Reader's Digest version of the story, downplaying some of the more gut-wrenching mattress-buckling. She took it in stride.
And, I am happy to report, that after five days with this mattress, it's still pretty comfy. Amazing.