First, I want to make it very clear (in the first sentence so whatever snippet some weird search engine pulls off of this will see it) that I *know* the most recent “refund” checks are not, in any way, going to prevent the demise of or ameliorate or stimulate the economy. Just wanted to put it out there. But for those people who believe that claim, well, we did it. Spent that money, I mean. Let the flurry of growth begin.

A few weeks ago a friend sent me the link to the Story of Stuff. I strongly suggest visiting the site if you haven’t, although the little label on the site says that 2 million people have visited the site, so maybe I was the last person in the country to watch it. If you haven’t seen it, it’s well worth your time. There is a 20 minute video clip that’s pretty entertaining and, in my opinion, thought-provoking. This little 20-minute video had a profound effect on my…level of guilt.

I’m trying to determine how guilty I should really feel, so maybe all of you (and I know there are a lot of you clicking from Pho for Four…hi there) can help me out. Here’s the situation: our current bed is a full-size bed that roughly resembles a taco. The flattest part of the bed is in the middle, and DB and I sleep cuddled together (single people, don’t barf) both because we like to AND because we don’t really have a choice. If we WANT to sleep apart, we have to cling to the edge. Sometimes the cat or the dog join in. It’s a fairly well-populated full-size bed.

Numerous people warned us that we would run out to buy a queen-size bed within a month of being married (no, people, we didn’t live together before we got married. I know. It’s crazy in this day and age, but if you click on the “About Me” link, you will see that I am a POLITICALLY liberal *evangelical Christian*. The kind that believes in not living together before marriage! And I can go into great detail as to why I think this is a wonderful thing but that is really not the point here). Anyway, they warned us. We would be cramped. We’d go insane. They warned us not to register for full-size sheets because we’d regret it.

I’m here to tell you – we lasted THREE YEARS. And we’d keep lasting for many more had DB not laid on a queen-size bed in a mattress store and realized that his feet were fully on the mattress without doing some body contortions.

So anyway, Saturday morning, I was in agony. I have joint problems, and every morning my body recoils against the gymnastic moves required by the taco bed. Saturday was a particularly problematic day, but most mornings I do roll out of bed in some degree of agony and bee line for a hot shower, where the water helps a little bit. I attribute this pain fully to the bed. I don’t get this pain in a hotel room. However, DB bought this nice full-size bed from Ethan Allen 4 years before we got married, and it is supposed to last forever, so we were committed to the full-size mattress for a while, and I felt guilty buying a new full-size mattress because then we’d just have to replace the full-size mattress with a queen size mattress in a few years when we finally DO have a child (since we will probably adopt, and it seems that co-sleeping is strongly recommended for promoting attachment, and…I can’t imagine how we could put anything else in the full-size bed), and we’d be wasting valuable resources (financial, environmental, and everything else) if we got a new (full-size) mattress, if only to replace it shortly.

(Can you see the role guilt plays in this?)

So I had lots of temporary solutions: The Real Simple magazine informed me that to fix a taco bed, I just needed to put towels under it. That was heavenly – for about a month. I decided to buy a mattress topper. Three mattress toppers, to be exact. And Saturday I had my eyes on a new one (#4) that, I was convinced, would really make this bed work. I figured I’d rotate the bed again, pop another towel under there, and get a new mattress topper at Costco (total price: $150). I’m thinking I am being a good steward of the economy by using this temporary fix, and stalling the bed-purchase decision just…a…little…bit…longer.

DB, on the other hand, had other ideas. He said “no” to the mattress topper. And instead of rationally explaining my cost-savings plan (flipping, towel, and topper), I cried. (Remember, pain. Pain makes one slightly irrational.) Feeling very sad for me, DB suggested that we just take a little stroll through the mattress store. Just to see. Not to buy. We made a pact in the car: We.are.not.buying.a.bed.today.

Anyone who has ever been in a mattress store knows that this process is worse than buying a car. It really is. And I was like the poster-child for hard-hitting mattress-selling tactics: I was dressed in a huge hooded sweatshirt (that was just my Saturday errand-running grub), I had just been crying, and I truly hadn’t slept in a few days (see procrastination post, below). The woman told us to try out the tester bed thing, and I almost fell asleep. Repeatedly. It was really pathetic, actually.

Anyway, there was this bed that was the.most.comfortable.bed. I’ve ever, ever laid on. And I was laying there, swooning silently and wondering how (why?) we had decided to make a pact, and apparently DB was thinking the same thing (and probably eying the 0% down for 12 months or whatever, and knowing that we will be making more money in a few months b/c of DB’s overseas gig, and hopefully thinking about the sad state of my joints), and this guy comes over to us with the woman. The woman says, “this guy [a rep from one of the suppliers] heard about your joints and the state of your bed and wants to make you an offer – you can have 50% off of any bed in the store.”

50%?!? Seriously?

Keep in mind: we came in the store to shop for (not.buy.) a full-sized replacement for the taco. Mattress only. No waste. Medical necessity purchase *only*.

The 50% discount induced a drunken stupor. In a fit of ecstasy, we laid claim to a – cough – $4000 – yes, $4000 – QUEEN-SIZED mattress. At 50% off, that is *only* $2000. We were on cloud 9 until we…fell. Hard. And thought about who on Earth would buy a $2000 mattress!

Now here, single people, is where you might want to take note, as we are still learning this on a daily basis. Marriage is all about communication and expectations. DB’s thought: it is necessary to buy a $2000 mattress for Rachel’s joints to be better. My thought: “oh my gosh, what if we buy a $2000 mattress and I’m STILL IN PAIN? And how irresponsible is this?!? We could save a million orphans with this $2000.”

Long story (and a lot of perseveration) short, we went back on Sunday, canceled the order and purchased a queen size bed at a more reasonable price and it is a really comfortable bed. In fact, the mattress retailed at $1700 but we purchased a model that had been returned by someone so it was a LOT less expensive. So everyone’s happy.

Here’s where the guilt kicks into overdrive.

We now need a bed (frame), because otherwise we will be sleeping on the floor. Here’s where the conflicted part comes in. I want a cool bed. I have this irrational desire for a Pottery Barn storage bed with cute baskets or whatever. It is irrational because a) we have nothing that matches it, b) we can’t afford it, c) it’s expensive and it’s made out of particle board (!!). I have now been to 12 furniture stores but I just really don’t know what I want. If you watch the “story of stuff”, they suggest you a) buy used or b) buy local. So I’ve searched high and low for a used bed. I can’t find something I’m psyched about. I went to a furniture rental place where you can buy returned furniture, but I wasn’t stoked about that stuff, either, and I went to a local furniture maker place and they were okay…but a little pricey (which I’m okay with if I don’t feel like puking after I buy it…puking from the guilt, I mean). We thought about going to Ikea, buying a cheap bed of renewable resources, and then giving it to a college kid (or Goodwill) or someone who will need it when we can finally commit to a bedroom set.

So…what to do? I can drive myself insane with the guilt of buying something made of wood and resources from Africa, manufactured in a place that cost mothers in developing countries their lungs, and starved fish in the ocean of clean water as it was shipped over to my entitled self here in the U.S. (Yeah, this is seriously what I’m thinking.) DB’s opinion is that we should just buy something that we can use for the next 20 years and I should not feel so guilty about it, and we keep EVERYTHING. Even the guy in the local furniture store said (although he was, admittedly, a very odd guy), “where is this guilt coming from? Do you shop for everything at Wal-Mart?” (For the record, I refuse to shop in Wal-Mart or any of its subsidiaries.)

What do you think? Is it irresponsible perceived obsolescence, buy a bed AND matching other furniture (keeping in mind the children in Africa, Asia, and the wildlife that paid the price to get this to me…) DB really wants stuff to match but I feel eternally guilty about buying more furniture, too, that we don’t necessarily need, because we do have two furniture sets (one twin, one full) that are waiting to be used at my parents house…that we plan to use for our future children. So how terrible is it to buy new furniture?!?

P.S. Comment quickly because we are seriously going to be sleeping on the floor soon, and our dog tracks in a lot of gross stuff.

PPS Congratulations if you made it to the bottom of this post.

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