The saga of the new bed

Perhaps you recall that wayyyy back in August, I spent a significant amount of time digging out our master bedroom so that my husband wouldn’t divorce me because it had become quite cluttered. This, naturally, led to multiple discussions about What We Should Do In Here, with Otto never even once agreeing with me that “set fire to everything and walk away” was a good option. (Hmph.) We agreed that Real Furniture—not the “half of my bedroom set from my first marriage plus random other pieces” assortment we currently have—would be great, and we even agree on what sort of furniture we would like. We have great taste, Otto and I do. SUCH great taste. Expensive taste. “Never gonna find what we want in our price range” kind of taste.

But no worries! We have been scouring Craigslist and local Marketplace ads and remain hopeful that someday, somehow, our furniture shall present itself. I have a dream, people, and that dream involves… matching nightstands. (Aim high, that’s my motto.)

Sure, there have been a couple of false starts. One promising set of furniture turned out to be in pretty rough shape, so we passed, and then another time we found a couple of amaaaaaaazing matching dressers, but no nightstands, and the design involved was so unusual we just didn’t think we’d be able to find anything to coordinate. Oh well. We kept looking.

And then I found it.

I found a bed. Now, listen, all this time I had been saying I don’t care if we get a bed as part of new bedroom furniture or not, so I totally understood when Otto was skeptical about my find. To me, pretty headboards and such are purely superfluous and yes, should I happen to find myself with gobs of spare cash, I’d be interested. But otherwise, a Proper Bed was somewhere at the bottom of my list of wants. We bought ourselves a Tempur-Pedic set when our old bed was clearly giving us back issues, and the surface we sleep on is not only comfortable, it was crazy expensive. What do I care if it simply rests on a plain metal frame that got thrown in for free?

But this bed came up while I was browsing, and it not only had an interesting wood headboard (again, lovely, but hardly necessary), it was a storage bed. It had six drawers, and suddenly the urgency of finding another dresser seemed like it could be solved with this massive platform bed, which would essentially be both a new dresser and something that might transform our bedroom from its current “late grad student” vibe into “maybe these people care a little.” Plus we could add in other furniture later and easily coordinate.

I showed it to Otto and he was, as mentioned, surprised. I pointed out the drawers. I pointed out that it was an excellent price for such a massive piece of furniture. He pointed out that it was dark brown.

“I thought you wanted something lighter?” he said.

“I do,” I said. He looked at me. I looked at him. “I can paint it!” I said. “I think it would be amazing in gray.” Mind you, this is a VERY LARGE piece of furniture. Otto continued looking at me. “I can do it!” I insisted. “I can do the whole thing myself, you won’t have to help. If I use chalk paint I think I only need one day. It’ll be fine.” (You know, I don’t want to brag or anything, but I totally painted some stuff a while back and no one died.)

Otto suggested that I go to see the bed in person when he was too busy to go, but that if all seemed good, I could put down a deposit with the sellers and then we could return with a trailer to load it up a few days later when he had some breathing room in his schedule. Seemed reasonable, so I made an appointment with the sellers and went to see it.

It was—as promised—a giant bed. A huuuuuge bed. Very large. Even bigger in person. Did I mention it was massive? MASSIVE. I mean, it’s a king bed, first of all, and then there’s the drawers, and the headboard, and yeah, this is foreshadowing, of course it is. The bed was gigantic and I said “We’ll take it!” and left some money with the very sweet couple selling it, and then a couple of days later Otto left work a little early to get the trailer and me and go get the bed.

In-between those two times, I fell down the Internet rabbit hole of chalk paint refinishing, and in the precious few hours I actually got to SEE my long-suffering husband over the next few days, I was constantly shoving color charts in his face and saying romantic things like, “I really like the Stone Castle but I think the Dove Gray is a little warmer? What do you think?” Otto, being Otto, took three seconds to declare Dove Gray the right choice, and no matter how many follow-up issues I tried to present, told me he was sure that was the right one and I should order it. So I did. I also ordered new brushes and wax for finishing/sealing. I had no clue what I was doing, but I WAS READY.

The day of 1) picking up the bed and 2) receiving the paint from Amazon arrived, and the paint got to the house before Otto did. I unwrapped it with all the zeal of a kid on Christmas morning… only to discover that I had ordered the Dove Gray and been sent… Malachite. Now, maybe you don’t know what color Malachite is (I didn’t), but it’s not like I ordered one gray and got sent another gray. I ordered a neutral gray and they sent me vivid green. I could barely contain my giggles (even over my annoyance) as I contacted Amazon Customer Service about this error, picturing painting this hulking mass of a giant bed bright green.

So: It was bed day, when I’d promised Otto I could paint it in a single day, and I had no paint. [Sidebar: The “single day” part of this is important, because I would, of course, be displacing one of Otto’s precious cars from the garage for the painting, and there is RAIN in the extended forecast and as we all know, CARS CANNOT GET WET. Ahem.] I did some Googling and discovered that I could buy some different chalk paint locally which also got decent reviews. Okay. We could go do that after pickup.

I received a message from one of the sellers before we left, letting me know that in taking the bed apart, they’d found a bent screw which was preventing detachment of one of the side sections from the headboard. “That’s fine!” I told her. “My husband is very handy! He’ll bring his tools!” She replied that that was a relief, because she didn’t want us to change our minds as she’d already spent the deposit on their rent. (This is also foreshadowing.)

We arrived to pick up the bed, which was now in several separate pieces, though the stuck screw was actually a completely borked bolt which had been installed improperly to begin with and was now jammed in a way that made it inaccessible from any logical point. I hadn’t been lying; Otto IS very handy, and I knew he’d figure it out. He did, after about 25 minutes, when we ended up basically using brute force and a little torque to bend the two pieces apart. But hey, no worries, Otto could make it work again when we got it home! Or we could skip that bolt! No biggie.

Did I mention the apartment from which we were retrieving this bed was on the second floor of the back of the building? Down two flights of stairs, and aroooooouuuuuuuund the side of building we went to get back to the trailer.

We carried the drawers outside. We carried one of the side pieces outside. Otto and I placed pieces in the trailer. And I tried not to think about how heavy the headboard and foot section were going to be. I left Otto arranging things and went back inside, whereupon I discovered that the remaining side unit—now that the drawers were removed—was housing a tiny mouse mummy and an impressive assortment of mouse droppings. “Do you happen to have a vacuum cleaner?” I asked, in what I hoped was a calm voice. Embarrassed, they rushed to clean out this new discovery while I went back outside to report to Otto. We came back inside.

And then one of the sellers said, “Oh, yeah, I forgot to tell you. When they brought the bed in, they had to cut that foot piece in a bunch of places and then use brackets to put it back together. It wouldn’t fit through the door, otherwise.”

Time slowed. Colors swam. My unflappable husband sighed. We looked at the piece in question.

Ah, yes. Now that the drawers were out, it was clear that it had been… hacksawed in at least 6 different locations. There were brackets. There was glue. It was a mess. And yeah, we tried to figure out how to get it out of the room intact, but the original movers had been correct that the angle was too sharp and it couldn’t be done. But. We didn’t really want to cut it apart and reassemble it, IF such a thing was even possible, because we strongly suspected that cutting it again would mean the end of its life.

Otto and I discussed it for a bit, and then he went back outside to start bringing pieces back in. I found the sellers in their kitchen. “I’m sorry,” I said. “We just can’t buy it like this. We didn’t come equipped to saw it apart and I’m not even sure you’d be able to put it back together again after that. You, uh, maybe want to let the next buyer know that it needs to be cut apart. That’s a huge job.”

They were bummed (as was I!), but also mortified because they couldn’t give me my money back. I told them I was okay with them taking some time to get it back to me, because what else could I say? I actually was recently scammed by an online seller and it was nothing like this. This was just a young couple scraping by and if I never get that money back, well, I guess they need it more than we do. But I do think they’ll get it back to me when they can.

In the meantime, we don’t have a new bed, and I don’t have to paint anything, which is good, I guess, because of the incoming rain and also because there is nothing I wish to paint Malachite at this time.

This whole episode was enough to send me back to looking at new furniture, which of course is way more than I am willing to pay, so I think maybe we’re going back to “oh who cares how the bedroom looks, anyway” and in conclusion I think maybe our bedroom is cursed and we should just leave well enough alone.


  1. Jeanie

    OH. MY. GOD!!

  2. Cali

    LOL…sounds like my son’s recent purchase – a 4 huge poster California King, extra heavy duty wood…wouldn’t fit in his current living situation but fits perfectly taken apart in my garage. He’s sure he’ll get it soon though…yeah, right…

  3. Liz Neust

    Have you thought about an unpainted furniture joint? They offer the usual sizes and most will customize to your specs. It’s all pine and then you can paint it or stain it or varnish it. It would be a lot cheaper than regular new, although maybe not as cheap as Craig’s List. But if you are already willing to paint, might give you some new options. Good luck!

  4. Heidi

    Geez, thanks for the letdown, MIR. I was living vicariously through you for a minute there, what with the miracle bed and the vague whiff of a possibility of matching nightstands. That truly is the stuff of dreams, given that our nightstands consist of (1) Target laminated particleboard unit from my husband’s single days, waaaay over 20 years ago, now yellowing, and (2) a rickety IKEA umlaut-fest Craigslist purchase from a deeply depressed former graduate student who was selling everything she owned, and originally purchased for my now-14yo son when he moved from his crib into a regular bed. But! They’re both sorta white, from a distance anyway, so why am I complaining?

    Please keep us posted as you continue, despite the disappointment (for both of us) this time.

  5. Philippa Connell

    Oh Mir, I’m so glad you were kind to the sellers! We’ve been in that situation where we’d spent the money before the item was collected and we would have been in so much trouble of they’d changed their mind. Though to be fair we hadn’t cut the bike we’d sold into bits then glued it back together.

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