Audio Post: Tinker on Sept 24 2012

Our new bed was not tall enough. When I turned to get out of bed in the night for the necessary trip, I kept going. A couple of times I rolled right out of bed onto the floor. If the trip were not so necessary, it would have been funny.Tinkering was necessary.

One of the new fire-necessitated discoveries we have made is that everything needs to be tinkered. The bed needs to be raised, the new suit needs to be tailored, the new pots broken in and the new shoes too. The new couch pillows don’t quite fit; the stuffing in the dog bed won’t settle down and needs to be washed. The new desk organizers on the new desks don’t quite organize yet and the clothes don’t hang right on the wheat colored hangers but they work fine on the ivory colored ones, except for the lighter weight stuff that can go on the wheat colored hangers. Everything needs to be tinkered.

The need for tinkering does not show so much when you acquire things gradually. When a new item comes into the house you fuss with it to make sure it works just the way you want and then you go on and live your life for a while until a new thing comes and needs to be tinkered. When everything is new and comes at once there is one whole lot of tinkering going on which can be very vexing.

After a few ignominious mid-night slides from the bed onto the floor I decided enough was enough. Tinkering was required. We needed bed risers. I spent a lot of time researching them. Curiously, queen and king size beds—probably the largest sector of the market share of bed sizes in the United States—have 6 feet and the bed risers come in sets of 4. I suppose you buy 4 and let two legs dangle or you buy 8 and have 2 spare risers. I am not sure what you do with the 2 spare risers .Everything we could think of had 4 legs, not 2 legs—other than us and we did not need to be raised up.

I read reviews for every type of bed riser. In truth, there are not that many types. You have (1) those that you put the feet of the bed frame on top of and (2) those that fit inside of the bed frame leg. There are very few of the latter. There are very many of the former. The two main differences are: (1) material and (2) height. Those in the first material group fall into two simple categories: (1) plastic and (2) wood. The second category, height, is not simple. You can buy bed risers that range from 1 to 12 inches. Some models are stackable so you can have increments of an inch. Others are stackable but come in increments of 4 inches. Still others are not stackable but you can buy them in 1, 2, 3 and 4 inches. Something over 4 inches seems to violate the laws of physics. I measured and measured our bed and determined we needed to raise the bed 6 inches. That would take it to the height of our old bed.

I found a patented system that allowed the risers to be adjusted between 3 and 6 inches thereby addressing the all-important 4 inch height-barrier and, importantly, they came in a 6-pack. I was not sure which was more exciting; that they were adjustable with a patented system or that they came in packs of 6. I read in the reviews, and chose to ignore, that the base for the riser was quite large and that it was easy to stub (painfully) your toe on them. No matter, they came 6 x 6. My dream risers.

The risers arrived. We opened the package and found 12 round pieces with squares and stars that looked wickedly sharp. I actually looked on the box to make sure we had bed risers not some other instrument of handy (wo)man destruction. Once we firmly established that these were indeed bed risers, we each grasped what appeared to be a pair and went to town. Of course, after we had stuck ourselves a few time trying to press fit the parts and having them slip and smash against our hands, we thought to read the directions. Turns out there were numbers on the different points of the stars and on the corners of the squares. You line the numbers up and viola; you have the riser height of your choice. No wonder it was patented.

We took the adjusted risers upstairs to the bedroom and addressed the bed. We have one of those newfangled memory material beds and they weigh a ton. So, with a great deal of enthusiast anticipation we took on the task. My spouse lifted (with a groan) and I hunkered down (with a groan) to put the riser under the first corner. We did the second corner and looked at each other. My spouse had not been conveniences that the bed needed to be higher at all and now we had the Princess and the Pea. I allowed as how we might want to use that patented system and shorten the rise a little. We did. We did the next corners of the bed and stood back to admire our work. Two things were immediately apparent: (1) there were two bed risers left over and (2) the bed skirt looked like the skirt of a 12 year old who had put on a growth spurt.

The first order of business was to get the risers under the legs that were under the bed. I guess because I had put the other 4 under the legs while my spouse heroically held up the bed, I crawled back on the floor to get under the bed. What I did not consider was that the best view of the legs came from lying on my side but it was not the best method of getting under the bed. The flattest version of me came from lying on my back or my front. I figured that out when got part way under the bed and discovered no further forward progress could be attained. I was stuck. Of course, only my legs were sticking out from under the bed so I thought my predicament was not apparent to the person with the weight bearing task. Wiggle, wiggle, stick, stick. I sheepishly call out, “Honey, can you raise the bed a bit so I can get under here to make it fit?” I thought I had gotten away from the embarrassment of getting stuck but no, hHe replied,“I thought you were going to get stuck when you went under sideways.” I held my tongue and my spouse was pleasant so we survived the moment well. We got the additional two feet in place. Getting out from under the bed was a lot easier with the risers in place. Tinkering accomplished.

Now, on to problem #2. I felt bad that I would have to replace a perfectly good bed skirt since it was now 5 inches too short. I fretted over the money that I already spent. I fretted over the money that I wanted to spend to keep the bed from looking so funny. Then, I stumbled across the information that I had only spent $9.99 on the bed skirt we had. I could afford to get another one and sew them together. More tinkering. The second bed skirt came. My new sewing machine finally came. I got my new fabric shears I was ready to rock and roll. I had been sick before the fire came and I got sick again. I fretted over the short bed skirt for two weeks as I went from one doctor’s appointment to the next. Week before last I had 5 appointments, this past week I had 4 and tomorrow another 2. Don’t they know I need to fix my bed skirt?

I finally got to fix the bed skirt. Problem was, it took me about 2 hours longer than I planned and my poor spouse had to wait to go to bed because I needed to put the skirt on. At 11:30 pm I finished. My tinkering job to fix the bed skirt involved cutting the 2nd bed skirt and attached the bottom to the bottom of the first bed skirt. I used the hem of the top bed skirt as a pleat. I was very happy with the outcome of my tinkering. The design actually ended up looking intentional.

With the tinkering, I am happy with my bed skirt. It hides the things that accumulate under the bed (we have a blanket and some books under there). The other thing it did was to hide the unsightly patented bed risers. Aesthetically that is a good thing. However, there seems to be a learning curve for toe safety. I have considered tinkering up an early warning system like a radar but was not sure how to bounce the radar off of the riser since I just covered it so nicely with the bed skirt.

So, in the end, tinkering is necessary even thought it does not solve every problem. Tinkering the bed height solved my first problem. It was now unnecessary to roll onto the floor when it was necessary to make it to the necessary room. Sometimes you just have to go with the big picture.