Dec 7, 2002
When we moved into our house on October 1, there was only one minor problem with the furniture. The major problems, unrelated to furniture, were that Mrs. Subcom had her second psychotic episode during the days leading up to the move, plus we had to schedule her appointment to see a doctor & resume her medication in the middle of moving day, and I got a killer migraine in the middle of moving day.
But the only minor problem with our furniture was that the boxspring part of our queen-size bed would not fit through the turns in our stairway. The mattress fit upstairs, but the boxspring stayed downstairs. Our temporary solution was to leave the mattress on the floor and save up for a new two-piece boxspring section, or else I could try to someday build a bed customized for our bedroom (it could happen).
Is this a tragedy yet? We had to sleep on a mattress on the floor. That mattress is a few years old, but structurally it's in fine shape. I slept fine. Not being a princess, I can't feel the difference between sleeping on a mattress on the floor versus a mattress on boxspring and frame. The only inconvenience is that it's so low, you have to pull yourself up almost off the floor first thing in the morning, which is when I'm at my most wobbly. But I could have gone on like this indefinitely. We're not quite in financial shape to be dropping money on frivolous things, having just purchased the house, trying to save up a few hundred extra to visit Mrs. Subcom's family in TX and Mississippi for Xmas. As far as I was concerned, jacking up the bed by a foot or two was not a hardship, and we could wait a while to remedy it.
In describing this problem to others, Mrs. Subcom began saying that we needed a new bed. I tried to remind her that the mattress and frame was fine, that we just needed a boxspring to fit up the stairs. She said that we might as well get a whole new bed.
So last weekend, my mother the truck driver stops by our place on her way home. (No, really, she is a truck driver. Her handle is "Bashful.") Ma says she heard an ad for a furniture store, so she decided to get us a bed for Christmas. Awesome! Pile into Ma's car and check out the furniture store.
Mrs. Subcom and I stretch out on the different sizes and types of display beds they have on sale. I know Ma's not made of money, so I'm sticking with the ones that are on sale. "No, this one's pretty good. Come back from that pillowy monster and try this one."
Of course the only queen size beds they have with two-piece boxsprings to fit up our stairs are in the more expensive range. Ma is nodding her head, and the saleswoman is explaining all the advantages of the higher ranged bedding, and how all the lower priced bedding will pretty much crack up and fall apart within a few years anyway. (Which makes me wonder, why are you even selling it if it's so crappy?)
The final choice is a "pillow-top" mattress with two piece boxspring. One thousand dollars.
Don't get me wrong, because I love it, and hope to sleep on it for decades to come. It's comfy as hell. If my mother somehow finds this journal entry and reads it, please don't take it wrong. I am thoroughly grateful!
But I could never pay that much for a bed. It's insane. For that price, you could get a used car that would run for at least six months before needing work. For that price, I could replace most of the windows in my house, which I'll need to do eventually, or almost reshingle the roof, which needs to be done sooner.
So the saleswoman tries to sell us other junk, furniture polish and a mattress cover. No, thank you, we're all set. We still have our queen-size metal frame to support the new mattress and boxsprings. It doesn't have a strut down the center, which the saleswoman says we'll need with this two-piece boxspring, but I figured she's just trying to get more money out of us. That's okay, we'll rig up a 2x6 and bolt it to the frame, something like that.
They don't have one in stock, so they're going to deliver it in a few days. The night before it comes, Mrs. Subcom makes me move the old mattress and assemble the metal frame and headboard in our bedroom. We sleep on the hide-a-bed in the living room, so the delivery dudes will be able to instantly set the new bed on the frame and be done.
They deliver it! Yay! It's tall and comfy and we don't have to crawl out of bed anymore, and we all live happily ever after. It looks like the frame will support things fine, but I tell Mrs. Subcom that we'll cut and drill and assemble this 2x6 that we lugged over from Ma's, maybe this weekend I'll mess with it. Not in the middle of the week.
Two nights later, as I get out of our new bed, the metal frame breaks. The section at the foot of the bed cracked and bent to the floor. I guess we won't need to jury-rig a 2x6 anymore.
We move the bedding off, unbolt the headboard, take the broken metal frame back out of the room, lay the boxsprings on the floor and the mattress on top. It's a lot higher than the old mattress was, but it's not towering like it was ten minutes ago.
Hoping to cheer myself up a little, depending on her answer, I ask Mrs. Subcom, "Was the real problem with the old bed just that the mattress was too old, or that we couldn't get the boxsprings up to the bedroom, or that it was on the floor?"
She's not worried about cheering me up, or chooses not to. "It was a problem because it was on the floor."
So after getting Ma to throw $1000 at the problem, we're 6 or 8 inches higher, but still on the floor.
Mrs. Subcom recommends we forget the metal frame and save up for a full wooden bed with headboard and footboard and support down the middle. I'm struggling against the footboard, but otherwise we agree.
My first house is a text adventure.
Oct 1, 2002
We narrowly survived moving into our first house on the 30th of September. It's in Jackson, Michigan, but forgive me if I don't tell you precisely where. A really good, devoted stalker will be able to find me without that much help.
I have a million things to tell you about the experiece (whoever you may be reading this), but not enough free time to ramble about it. I'll just drop the coolest detail first, then later you can read my lists of improvements I need to make on the house, and items left behind by the seller, and fascinating stuff like that.
Here's the cool detail. The house was built in about 1937 (if the latest owner has his info correct). It has a lot of hardwood floors, old windows with counter-weights in them, furnace grates that may be older than my mother, an antique freezer in the basement (circa 1960s?) and best of all, door locks with those classic keyholes to fit skeleton keys. Five doors inside the house plus the back door all have that kind of lock on the door.
The bathroom has no other means of locking, so my wife suggested we install a regular bolt & latch lock. But I started wondering if we could get a locksmith to recreate the skeleton key. This idea has been playing through my mind for two days as I wandered through the house, moving boxes and furniture in, thinking of all the other projects that should get higher priority than paying someone to create a skeleton key. How much would that cost? It would involve a house call. For all I know, it might be a lost art. Maybe no modern locksmiths worry about those kinds of keys anymore.
Today I happened to bend down to one of the heating grates in our bedroom. The grates are not secured to the floor, just resting in place, so you can pull it up easily to retrieve lost cuff-links or thumbtacks. Resting there in the duct, between the dirt and the dimes and the dustbunnies, I found a single skeleton key.
It doesn't get any better than that. I ran around the house trying the key in all the doors. It works on all of them except the back door and the door to the basement, both of which look like they were painted over, and like they might work if I fiddle with them long enough and work the paint out from the bolt.
(Advice for stalkers & burglars: just because the skeleton key doesn't work in my back door, doesn't mean it's the only lock on that door.)
So that's why I've been absent from my usual haunts the last few days, and may continue to be in coming days or weeks.
War and Protest - the US in Vietnam
Mar 22, 2002
I'm excited to be associated with this excellent series of entries, but want to make it clear that "Constructively Banned" was the author of those pieces. He was nice enough to add my name as a contributor when I made some suggestions in the Peer Review process. But I don't deserve credit for more than about 1% of the content there.
The importance of copyright on photo-cakes
Jul 17, 2001
At my local Farmer Jack grocery store, in the corner of the store with "bakery" spelled in neon on the wall, I saw a machine that looks like a giant photocopier for posters and blueprints. On the top of the machine it said, "Federal law prohibits the use of copyrighted images on our photograph cakes. We apologize for any inconvenience."
Isn't it nice that photographers and publishers are protected from having their valuable images transfered to the tops of cakes and eaten? ...that is, if enough royalties aren't paid?
Funny how the art is not as important as the artist these days. Fifty or a hundred years ago, artists would have been thrilled at the notion of more and more and more people experiencing their works. Now they try to squeeze more money out by ensuring that it can't be seen or used without payment.
Oh well. S**t happens. Q*e s**a s**a. In a few years, they'll make a cheap attachment to your inkjet so you can transfer images to cakes at home, and we'll all have a laugh about those wacky old copyright laws.
May 25, 2001
"Swearing is an art form. You can express yourself much more directly, much more exactly, much more succinctly with properly used cuss words."
-- Coleman A. Young, Mayor of Detroit from 1974-1993.
[quoted in Michigan History Magazine, Jan/Feb 1998.]
<< Newer Entries
Older Entries >>
Back to Researcher's Personal Space