EVERYTHING YOU WEREN’T THINKING ABOUT MATTRESSES – Marilyn Armstrong

Let’s not talk about the news. I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t want to think about it. Instead, let’s talk about mattresses. Because we just got a new one.

I’m a born researcher, so when I’m buying anything, I feel I need to learn everything about whatever it is. I’m still in a mental huddle about possibly buying a new rack for the dishes in the kitchen so you can imagine the intensity of my search for a mattress to fix my spinal problems.

In the course of buying a mattress, I made a bunch of useful discoveries. First, I’m getting out of bed in the morning in less pain than I was. This is probably due to the new mattress, but also to not sleeping on my side. My left hip thanks me hourly.

Mostly though, I had to recognize that nothing was going to make it all better. It’s way past that point now. A good mattress helps, but changing the position in which I sleep counts too.

Money: A Good Mattress Doesn’t Cost $100


If you are spending in the “moderate” range, a decent quality mattress, queen-size, will cost you $1000, give or take a couple of hundred dollars. Smaller mattresses of the same type will cost a bit less and bigger ones will cost a bit more.

Spending more may or may not actually get you a better mattress. Many of the better-known mattress companies no longer make the best mattresses, but they still charge higher prices.

You can save several hundred dollars by buying your mattress online. However, unless you don’t have a bed at all, you will have to figure out how to get rid of your old mattress. You can’t just stick it on the street and hope someone will pick it up. Your trash company will not take it away.

Unless you live in a town that has a dump of its own (and you pay to use it), someone is going to have to take your mattress away. Because they are so big, nobody wants old mattresses.

Here, where there’s no town dump and all nearby dumps are full, it will cost anywhere from $150 – $400 to get rid of a mattress. If you need to hire someone to take it away, as opposed to stuffing it in the back of your truck and driving it to the dump, you’ll have to pay more.

You have a truck, right?

In our case, being older and with arthritis in all the right places, we couldn’t haul an old mattress outside, much less to the truck we don’t own. I finally realized we could solve the problem by buying the mattress at an actual store. We went to Bob’s Discount Furniture.  They advertise on every television station in New England and have a local store. They would take away the old mattress and install a new one.

Regardless, online or not, it’s probably going to wind up costing you about $1000 between the mattress itself, taxes, a cover, and unless you are getting it from Amazon Prime, delivery.

Our delivery was just $70 and included free removal of the old mattress, which was all told less than it would have cost us just to get rid of the old mattress on our own.

$799 for the mattress, $54 taxes, $70 delivery. I also bought a topper for it, bringing the whole thing to $1002.

What’s the Right Style?

If you are arthritic or have other back, hip, shoulder, or leg issues, you’ll be happier on memory foam or gel than on an innerspring mattress. If you have an adjustable bed, you can’t use a hybrid or innerspring mattress. Our last mattress was a 10-inch pure (real, from the tree) latex mattress. We couldn’t afford that today.

We have an adjustable bed, so it was going to be memory foam or gel-infused memory foam.

Most foam mattresses last about seven years. An expensive latex mattress can last twice that. The one we had to get rid of was unbelievably comfortable for 15 years. We had a 20-year warranty, except the company that made the mattress was no longer in business as of five years ago.

It’s one of the problems with long warranties. You need to assume the company will be around as long as your warranty lasts. Often, they aren’t.

Regardless, after 18 years of daily use, it wasn’t hard to figure out we needed a new mattress. Nothing lasts forever. This time, having bought a pretty good foam-gel-infused 12-inch mattress, seven or eight years is pretty much what we can expect from it.

We have a 20-year warranty on the mattress, so if Bob’s Discount Furniture is still in business when we need a new mattress, I’ll be curious to see how that works out.

How Hard? How Soft? Springs? Foam? Latex?


How soft? As soft as possible if you are a side-sleeper. I am, but I am teaching myself to sleep on my back because my hip can’t take the pressure anymore. Medium to medium-plush is about right for the vast majority of people, even those of us with back problems. Harder mattresses are not better for you. Most of us, as we get older, need less hardness.

Sex?


Innerspring and hybrid coil/foam mattresses are better for sex. Everyone says so and I will have to take their word for it. It has been a very long time since I slept on anything that wasn’t latex.

What’s the Scale for Measuring Mattress “Hardness”?

Most places use a gauge of 1 to 10. Almost every mattress will be between 4 (plush) and 8 (medium-hard). Six is the most popular number and when the talk about “the comfort spot,” six is usually “it.”

Bob’s offers several mattresses where you can get firm on one side and plush on the other, but Garry and I wanted plush times two. We have arthritis, bad backs, problem shoulders, and difficult hips. Not to mention sciatica and disc herniation.

I would have like a mattress just like the one we had, but I’m not even sure where to get one like it now. Full genuine natural latex mattresses are expensive. Most people can’t afford them and I just got lucky on the first one.

If you are not short of funds and can “go for the gold,” as it were, a pure real from-the-tree latex mattress is as good as it gets. Theoretically, the imitation foam is identical to the stuff from the trees, but every report indicates people who buy real natural latex are happier with their mattresses.

We believed we had the most comfortable bed in the world. It was, for about 16 years.

I think the new one is going to work out. After five days, it’s softening up and getting comfortable. But we can still trade it for 90 days.

Not bad, right?

A Short Summary


If you have the money, buy a natural latex mattress, the best you can afford. Not only will your bed be your most comfortable place, it will outlast any other mattress you can buy. I wish I could have afforded another one, but we couldn’t come up with the money.

If you are a stomach or side sleeper, consider making an effort to sleep on your back.

Make your bed really comfortable! These are Beegod pillows and I love them. Who knew pillows could make such a difference?

If you don’t have an adjustable bed, consider getting one. If you have back problems or asthma? Raising the bed makes it better. I originally got ours because of asthma, but it turned out to have many other values too.

Also, get a great pillow or two. Yes, they also matter.

GARRY’S COCHLEAR IMPLANT IS TODAY – Marilyn Armstrong

By the time you read this, we will be at the hospital and quite probably surgery will be underway or even finished. I guess it depends on what time zone you’re in.

This is exciting stuff. Nervous-making, too. It will be at least 5 weeks until he is out of bandages and fitted with all the technology.

Remi, Garry, Tom, and sunshine

After that, it will take a few more weeks while we wait for the magic to work. The technology doesn’t produce “natural” sound. It is essentially electronic, yet the brain converts it into “real” sound. Or, more to the point, makes it sound like whatever sound we recognize as “natural.”

How it does the brain do that? No one really knows for sure. It just does it. Why? That’s another thing we don’t know. It’s a little miracle in its own right.

What we know for sure is that it happens. At some point during the first few months, the brain converts those “electric” impulses into what it “knows” as “real” (normal) sound. For some people, it happens very quickly. For others, it takes a longer and there’s no predicting which way it will go. The important thing is understanding that it will occur and when it does, its magic time.

For Garry, it has been a lifetime waiting to hear. It’s also going to mean some big changes around here. For one thing, I’m going to have to stop muttering under my breath. For the first time in our lives together, he will be able to hear what I’m really saying.

THE TINY WORMS IN THE FRIDGE – Marilyn Armstrong

My house was neat enough if you didn’t look too closely. You could walk into it without falling over a pile of dirty clothing (that was all in the basement — another story entirely) and the dogs and cats were  (usually) housebroken.

I couldn’t say the same for my toddler or my friends. Overall, the toddler was less of a threat to house and home than the friends, but when they got to messing around, anything could happen.

As my son grew, he developed (what a surprise) a passion for all kinds of creatures. Rabbits. Hamsters. Birds. We already had cats (many) and dogs.

We never properly owned more than two dogs but often had three or four. Two of them were ours. One was on loan from a friend who was in the army or on the road playing gigs. The fourth had belonged to a houseguest who had left but somehow forgotten to take their dog. Sometimes, it took us years to get the owner to come back and take the furkid too.

I love animals that aren’t insects, so while I frequently pointed out that it was NOT my dog and would they please come and get him or her, I would never throw them out. The owner I might toss out the door, but never the dog.

The year Owen turned eight, he decided he wanted geckos. They were the “in” things for 8-year-old boys that year. I pointed out that I didn’t think they would last long with the cats in the house.

He wanted the geckos. I was not much of a disciplinarian. If you argue with me, I’ll say no at least twice. After that? I usually give up.

As soon as we got the terrarium and the plants and finally settled the geckos into their home, Owen promptly lost interest in them and rediscovered his bicycle. That left me to care for the geckos, who would only eat mealworms.

I am not a big fan of worms. Any worms. I can tolerate earthworms because they are good for the soil, but overall, if it creeps or crawls, it’s not my thing. Did I mention that the geckos would only eat LIVE mealworms? I had to buy them in little cups at the pet store.

So mom dropped over and the cup of mealworms for the geckos had tipped over in the fridge. Which was now full of tiny worms. I assured her that my fridge does not usually contain worms and the worms were what the geckos ate. I don’t think she believed me. It was years before she would eat anything at my house. She always quietly inspected everything, in case there were a few worms there.

As for the geckos, a few days later, the cats figured out how to open the terrarium and there were no more geckos. And thankfully, no more mealworms.

WELCOME! LET US MAKE THIS EVENT STRESS FREE! – Marilyn Armstrong

RDP # 49 – WELCOME


Nurse: Welcome to the University of Massachusetts hospital! We are here to make your experience as comfortable as possible.

We’d like to get started by asking you to give us the identical information we required from you on your previous pre-op visit. Yes, I know, it’s in the computer, but we need to see it. Again. We feel doing everything at least three times will lower your stress levels and help us avoid working on the wrong piece of you.

Just kidding. That never happens.

I know we asked you to not bring your wallets or valuables. We apologize for that because we really meant was don’t FORGET to bring all your paperwork and of course, your wallet. So now, would you please give us your driver’s license, medical card, and if possible, a third identification displaying facial recognition?

Entry

No, I’m sorry. Your wife assuring me that this is you would not be “official” enough. If you didn’t bring the information we asked you not to bring, don’t worry. We’ll reschedule the whole procedure in another few months.

We’re sorry if we got in touch with you so late yesterday you had trouble arranging a ride to and from the hospital, but as we like to put it, “that’s not our problem.” We do the medical part. You work out the rest.

Nurse: Now, Mr. (pause) (looks at paper) Mr. Armstrong?

Me: “Speak up. He can’t hear you.”

Nurse: We’d like to see all your medical papers, listing all the medications you currently take, have taken in the past, or might take in the future. Also, your medical card and another form of ID that includes a picture. A driver’s license perhaps?

You’re trying to explain that you were merely following our printed directions? Like on that paper you are waving in the air?

We didn’t really mean it that way. We omitted a word. We really meant to say you should NOT FORGET to bring all your paperwork with you.

Hospitals get so busy, you know?

VACATION AT HOME – BY ELLIN CURLEY

We were supposed to go to Italy with friends this July. We had to cancel the trip because I’ve been suffering from a chronic condition called Poly Myalgia Rheumatica. I didn’t feel up to traveling so far away and didn’t feel I could handle sightseeing every day.

So we headed for the marina, our home away from home. We decided to live on the boat for five days as our ‘vacation’ for the month. I forgot how quickly we fall into a boat routine. We’re less than half an hour away from home, but we feel like we’re in another world. There’s something about living in miniature, on the water, that relaxes us instantly.

I think that part of the reason everything feels so different on the boat is that all the logistics are different than at home. To use the oven, we have to move everything off the countertop, open the cover for the stove and then we can turn the oven on. To find anything in the refrigerator, we usually have to take everything out, shelf by shelf, until we find what we’re looking for. The frig is packed that tight!

To take a shower, we have to remove all the towels and the garbage can from the shower area and move them into the bedroom. At home, the dogs have a doggie door. On the boat, we have to walk the dogs regularly. Good exercise. But it takes some getting used to. We are totally spoiled vis-a-vis our dogs! So life feels truly ‘nautical’ on the boat. Our house also rocks periodically, which is very cool.

This week, we had guests from New York on the boat with us. We also visited with friends on the dock, so it’s been a more social week than we would have had at home. People love visiting the boat. Even if we can’t take a ride, people just love being on the water.

One of our friends stayed overnight with us on the boat. That doesn’t happen often, so it was a special treat. Like camping out with friends! She stayed overnight the night of the local 4th of July Fireworks. We got to enjoy 180 degrees of fireworks! Most of the fireworks were done by local individuals. But the town of Stratford does a 20-minute display done by professionals. It is truly awesome!

Tom loves fireworks and looks forward to this display all year. It’s worth the wait. We have a clear view from our boat and it looks like the display is being done specially for us.

So this ‘vacation’ week turned out to be more fun and more restorative than we had expected. Even the dogs were chilling out (That may have also been because of the extreme heat).

The longer we stayed at the marina, the more distant our ‘land’ life became. We extended our stay by a day. And we may be coming back for a few more days soon. Now it really feels like summer vacation!

AMIBIGUITY – Marilyn Armstrong

The Ambiguity of Our Times

Ambiguity. That’s when you say “I love you,” but pause afterward and think (out loud) that you used to love other people and you don’t love them anymore, so maybe loving you doesn’t really mean very much.

That’s how I feel about “Our Power President.”

He is making America great. Again. Because our previous greatness wasn’t “his” kind of great.

He has solved all our problems, yet somehow, none of them seem solved. But that’s only because the press lies all the time and refuse to admit all the important fixes he has made in the world.

Trump and Putin

Meanwhile, the kids are still living in baby jails. Kim Jun Un has a lot of rockets and no intention of giving them up. Russia is taking over the United States and our Chief Moron doesn’t seem to notice. We are going to be a new — and really BIG — satellite of Russia. Cool!

Russia is very good at taking over other countries. It’s one of their “things.” At one time, they dominated more than half of Europe and were working on Asia and Africa, until the Chinese beat them to it.

We used to be pretty good at it ourselves, but now, we bow and suck up to Putin.

Dave Granlund / politicalcartoons.com

I’d like to know why this is true. What does Putin have on Trump? It can’t just be something sexually embarrassing. It’s got to be something seriously illegal in an international kind of way. Will we ever know what it is?

Thoughts on the matter?

EXTEMPORE, LIKE WHEN THERE’S NO OTHER CHOICE – Marilyn Armstrong

RDP #48 – EXTEMPORE


ex·tem·po·re
ikˈstempərē,ekˈstempərē/
adjective & adverb
spoken or done without preparation.
“extempore public speaking”
synonyms: impromptuspontaneousunscriptedad libextemporaryextemporaneous

So, extempore means spontaneous. Like, when we spontaneously went and bought a pizza for dinner because I didn’t feel like cooking. That’s probably about as spontaneous we get around here.

I’m trying to think of something else we’ve done spontaneously.

I know! We bought a mattress spontaneously — after we realized there was no other reason on earth why our backs were hurting that much. Spontaneity emerged after all other possible solutions were removed. That’s my kind of spontaneity.

And you know what? Our backs don’t hurt nearly as much.

So let’s hear it for “Extempore,” especially after you’ve given it a lot of thought.