Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Hell With Air Mattresses!

I've had it. I'm through with inflatable air mattresses.

The tenth or eleventh air mattress I've bought in almost two years just sprung another leak. Ever since I threw out my bed bug-infested mattress, bed and headboard two springs ago, I've placed my faith in inflatable mattresses in the fear that if I bought a new conventional mattress would only become infested and promptly thrown away. Besides, buying all that laundry detergent and fabric softener to wash my entire wardrobe and ammonia to mop and scrub my home got rather expensive, making the purchase of even the cheapest conventional mattress even more of a pipe dream.

Air mattresses (especially the ones that are under $50) are basically camping equipment and only meant for occasional sleeping and not everyday use to be slept on day after day for weeks on end. And they're definitely not built to withstand a regular routine of vigorous sexual activity. Not to be terribly explicit, but M and I are both around 200 lbs. (she's gonna crucify me when she finds I out I blabbed about her weight!), we're in our 20s and we're horny and in love. I think what we do in that bed has probably led to the many, many sprung leaks which have appeared in the many air mattresses we've bought.

The air mattresses I've bought range from $20 to $45 and are either made by Greatland or Coleman, the latter being a much weaker brand of bed. I really don't have the money for an Aerobed or one of those fancy Eddie Bauer air mattresses and the widest variety is only available during the summer. During the winter, at least in New York, most stores don't sell air mattresses, and those that do barely sell any at all. Since August I think I've bought about five air mattresses, all of which have sprung leaks. These mattresses do come with patch-up kits, but even these don't hold for very long, and if they do hold another leak appears elsewhere. The mattresses are almost as much of a nuisance as the bed bugs themselves.

I finally broke down and decided to buy a conventional mattress on Sunday when M, after unsuccessfully trying to patch up a leak in our air mattress, declared that we've spent enough money on air mattresses to buy a conventional mattress. I couldn't agree more. So I went to Sleepy's yesterday and ordered a regular full-sized mattress for about $400. I cringed as the salesman kept pressuring me to lay down on the more expensive mattresses, afraid that a lone bed bug would somehow crawl out of my pants leg or something and onto the bed. And then he'd see it and make me pay like a million dollars for the bed. I cringed even more when he told me horror tales of buying mattresses from other retailers, who he claimed often pick up discarded mattresses from the curb, slap a new cover on them and then sell them as "new" mattresses. "Sometimes these discarded mattresses have bed bugs in them," he warned in his spookiest tone. "And then you bring them into your home!"

If only he knew, he wouldn't have even let me in the damn store.

Damn, I forgot how much money conventional mattresses sell for! Some of the more expensive ones (just the mattress, mind you. No frame or box spring) sold for $1,500 and even $2,500. I cut the salesman off in the middle of his pitch and told him I was looking to spend no more than $400 and he led me straight to the cheaper mattresses.

I really liked the inflatable mattresses, but I really need something that's going to last more than a month or two. I plan to cover and seal the mattress with a heavy plastic drop cloth, the kind painters use to protect the floor and furniture from dripping paint. Not to perpetuate stereotypes about Latinos and the tendency to work as day laborers, but in my apartment, we have a six-foot steel ladder, various work gloves, safety goggles, a tool belt and of course, a 100-foot roll of heavy plastic drop cloth. When my mother purchased a new mattress (her old one became infested with bed bugs) last August, we covered it with the plastic and closed it shut with duct tape. Obviously, there is a crinkling sound that comes from the mattress whenever someone climbs onto the bed but to me it is a small price to pay to sleep bed bug-free. And when you consider that a mattress these days can cost $400 and up, it makes sense to do whatever needs to be done in order to keep bed bugs out of it.

I sincerely recommend that anyone buying a new mattress do the same. The drop cloth is not that expensive, and is a rather smart investment considering how expensive mattresses can be.


pest control portland said...

Have you tried bed bug mattress encasements, designed specifically to guard against bed bugs? They aren't uncomfortable like old encasements, and they work well to keep out bed bugs from new mattresses and boxsprings, and will trap existing bedbugs inside to keep them from eating, where they die.

Check out http://www.modernpest.com/commercial/programs/bedbugprep

for more info and ideas.

Anonymous said...

You know what really doesn't help when living with bed bugs? Getting a new sweater that leaves little lint pellets everywhere.

Anonymous said...

Hey, you're back together with M!