To buy or not to buy

For about two years, my partner – who has arthritis in his hips – has been mentioning that he would like to get a better mattress to make sleeping more comfortable. I had no opposition to this, but it was not something I thought about except when he brought it up. Given that this was usually just as we were getting into bed, things dangled along for some time, with no decisions made.

(I think of us as good decision-makers, but perhaps this is a misperception: we have been contemplating for a similar length of time whether or not to buy a new bathmat.)

Several months ago, we began to think about whether we might want to renovate the second floor of our house to make our bedroom larger. Before we really had time to make any decisions about that, I decided to toss in an even bigger question: do we want to stay in this house indefinitely or do we want to think about moving?

Circular conversations

While you might think we had moved far away from an apparently simple decision about buying a new mattress or bathmat, as you will see, one thing inevitably led to another and then back to the beginning again.

In early winter, we had our house appraised, just so we would know what kind of options – a new house, a renovation, a mattress, a bathmat – we could afford. The house was, at least in theory, worth more than we had thought, so we had a richness of options to consider, which proved to be more paralyzing than having no options at all.

Somewhere along the way, my partner heard of mattress toppers, so we now had yet another layer of decision-making: a new mattress or merely a new MT?

We decided we would consider all of our options, from the grandest to the smallest, while we were in San Miguel, the theory being that we would be relaxed, far from distractions and able to give these matters the consideration they were due. Because the pandemic forced us home before we got to this point, we returned with no decisions made.

Getting down to it

A week ago, we had the following conversation:

My partner (MP): We need a better mattress.

Me: I thought we had decided on a MT. (I knew we hadn’t, but thought I would try to get ahead of the discussion.)

MP: Oh, okay.

Me: But, we still have to figure out a few other things first.

MP (slightly impatiently): Like what?

Me: (patronizingly soothingly): Are we going to get a bigger bed? If we are, we should wait and get a better mattress or a bigger MT.

MP: We can’t fit a bigger bed in the bedroom.

Me: Right, so that means we need to talk about whether we are going to renovate the house. Do we want to knock out that wall so our bedroom is bigger? If we get rid of one bedroom, where would guests sleep? (Sidetrack: Will we ever have overnight guests again? When can I start to travel for work? What if we can’t go back to San Miguel next winter?) Some quiet sobbing, then a return to the discussion: Should we redo the bathroom at the same time? If so, let’s talk about that bathmat, too.

MP: Well, you know I have always wanted to open up the attic for a bedroom.

Me: We are too old to add another flight of stairs to our lives. Anyway, weren’t we going to talk about selling the house?

MP (annoyingly sensibly): We can’t sell the house in a pandemic.

Me (petulantly): No, but I still want to have the discussion about whether or not we want to sell the house.

MP (sensibly, again): Where would we live if we sold this house? Besides, I just started to build a fountain in the garden.

Me: We could . . .  (a lengthy list of possibilities from the modest to the extravagant).

MP (with resignation): I was just hoping we could buy a MT.

Decision made, but . . .

A few days ago, when we were out in the car running a few errands, I suggested we see what the lineup at Costco looked like and, if it was not too long, buy a damned MT. After all, my partner’s longing for a comfortable night’s sleep was not unreasonable. Maybe we could make a decision about this without having to consider all our life possibilities.

Miracle of miracles: no lineup at all, hardly anyone in the store, and a large supply of MTs right inside the door. We decided on a “3-in-1” mattress topper, which promised “uplifting support you can feel.”

We returned home, both feeling quite triumphant about our purchase.

However, the MT saga was not ready to end just yet. My partner, while putting the purchase on the mattress, discovered that one caster was missing, so the bed was off-kilter and making a huge gouge in the floor.

More decisions, a trip to Canadian Tire and a few hours later, the MP was successfully installed and my partner was happily reclining on it.

No more decisions, for now

As for me, the extra three inches of height meant I couldn’t actually get into the bed, but that was a problem for another time. We were done with decision-making for the day and ready for a cocktail.

Fortunately, the sparkling wine I had ordered from Kew Wintery in the Niagara region had arrived that afternoon, so no cocktail decisions had to be made. We chilled one bottle and happily enjoyed it while sitting in our backyard.

Now, about that bathmat . . . .

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