Going to the mattresses

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					                               Going to the Mattresses
No, this does not have anything to do with the Cannolis. It actually has to do with
mattresses. You know, the ones you sleep on, not the ones you go to if you are from a
certain Mediterranean ancestry.

This expedition started one blurred night when WinoWife tells WinoWally we are
redecorating the Master Bedroom and we are shopping for mattresses. After some lewd
comments about mattress wear and tear and being the international dealmaker he is,
WinoWally suggests that he has a “guy” who could get us a “deal” on mattresses. His
guy is not named Fat Sally or Tony Two Chins but his “guy” turns out to be his brother,
the hotel magnate of beautiful downtown Westminster, MD. Being the cheapskates we
are (remember that I am the king of the $8 bottle of wine), WinoWife, Brother-yes one
and the same with the tape measure and the turkey, and I, decided to take WinoWally up
on the “deal”. The catch is that we have to pick up the mattresses at a hotel in
Westminster.

This project was doomed from the start. In trying to be efficient, a reservation for a U-
Haul truck was made one week in advance. We ordered their $19.99 box truck special
which sounds like a deal until they mention there is a $.69 per mile charge. This trip is in
the neighborhood of 350 miles, that is how a $20 truck rental goes to $275. Of course, we
are told that the U-Haul dealership does not open until 10 AM on Saturday. So much for
an early start. Then a revelation strikes; let’s get the truck on Friday night! Then we can
leave really early on Saturday morning. Then another brainstorm, let’s call to verify the
truck is where it should be, mainly waiting for us in the U-Haul yard. Fat chance, a call to
Abdullah our friendly neighborhood U-Haul guy tells me there is no truck reserved, but
we can expect a call in a few minutes from their national dispatcher. Sure enough, a nice
lady named Amber calls and says that she will find us a truck and she knows we made a
reservation because Abdullah called her earlier in the week on availability and he
promised to send our credit card and reservation info to her but somehow he never did.
Next event; you guessed it - bigger truck bigger price. No to both! The next call, Amber
makes to us is for a bigger truck same price but we need to return it by 7 AM on
Saturday, which is fine but I’m not scheduled to pickup Brother until 7:30 AM on
Saturday and we expect the trip to take 5 hours provided we don’t get too lost and the
Nagasaki Rust bucket doesn’t break down. In short, “No to Door Number 2”! The Wheel
of Fortune spins again and she has a truck close by. It is a larger size, and she will charge
us the previously agreed to $19.99, but the truck is due back by 3:00 PM on Saturday.
This we can live with. But Amber says “you got be at the store in 10 minutes because
they’re closing and Jethro has a hot date”. We get there in less than 10 minutes, fill out
the mile long rental form, make Jethro sweep out the back of the truck which looks like
the bottom of a bird cage, and I start to get in the truck and Jethro says, “Oh Ya, there’s a
quarter tank of fuel in the truck now, bring it back with the same amount or we will
charge you extra”. How the hell do you gauge how much gas to put in so you don’t make
a sizable fuel donation to U-Haul? We think were done when Jethro says “it takes
diesel!” OK where do you buy diesel? Wouldn’t you know it there are only 2 stations
anywhere close by? For those of you that have no experience with diesel it has some not
so amusing characteristics one of which it stinks like hell and causes everything near it to
stink like hell and secondly it is expensive as hell. After we diesel up and $45 later the
truck is ready to go. So we drive home. As it turns out this is the best and least eventful
part of the trip. Now it is about midnight and after 5 hours of effort all that has been
accomplished is that we stink like hell, we have been dieseled-up, and we are out $45.
Not bad for having a 7 o’clock appointment, sort of like going to the DMV or a doctor’s
office; pay to be abused and ignored.

Now that this hurdle has been cleared I wake up at the crack of dawn on Saturday, for me
about 7 AM, anything earlier I consider it nighttime, and it is pouring like a cow pissing
on a flat rock. This is a metaphor for all you that are not familiar with farm animals. The
trip to pick up Brother, who is 20 miles away, is uneventful and by the way it’s foggy as
hell, did I mention it is raining?

Brother gets loaded into the truck not to be confused with getting loaded, which we will
do after this ordeal, and we now are officially “Going to the Mattresses” which are
waiting for us in northern Maryland. As we tool along Interstates 66 to 495 to 95 we
notice that the truck has a few interesting characteristics one it is very noisy-so noisy that
to talk to each other you have to yell so loud that by the end of the trip we both have sore
throats, two-you have to lean waaaay back to see the side view mirror, and three every
time we make a left turn the top of the driver’s side door leaks like a garden hose. After
about 30 miles and a few left turns later the entire left side of my body is soaked to the
point my socks are squishy and this is not due to poor bladder control. Of course, the
faster you drive the harder it rains, when traffic builds and we slow below 25 mph it
simply mists. Oh, did I tell you that the steering is so sloppy that your hands are moving
about a foot per second while firmly grasping the wheel and the suspension is so stiff
when you drive over a pebble your kidney’s shake loose.

Eventually Brother and I arrive in beautiful downtown Westminster, MD and meet
WinoWally’s brother. We receive the goods; 2 sets of queen size box springs and
mattresses and one king size set. Upon opening the box of the truck we figure it is raining
harder inside the truck than outside. Luckily we have tarps and the goods are sealed in
plastic. This is when I realize that Brother is not in the best of physical condition, after
loading-up he’s ready for a nap, this is not to say that I’m not ready for a nap, you have to
remember that I’ve been up since the crack of dawn and turned the steering wheel about
10,000 revolutions and that is without making any turns. But by the grace of the gods it’s
Brothers turn to drive, we pay the bill say our good byes and thank the hotel king of
Westminster profusely and we repeat the trip only this time backwards. Coming does not
go much better than going, we get into a terrific traffic jam at the 270/495 merge, now
that’s a surprise, and the 3:00 PM deadline is in jeopardy.

We get to Brother’s house and we carry the 2 sets of mattresses upstairs, I think Brother
is going to pass out from the exertion and then he announces that since we have the truck
let’s take the old mattresses to the dump, so off we go to the dump, god I love the dump
on a rainy Saturday, every friggin’ yuppie in Northern Virginia is doing his ecological
duty by bringing and carefully sorting their recyclables, I liked it better when all the
recyclables were on the side of the road where they belong. (Editor’s note: Wow! I think
Mike just broke WinoBob’s record for most commas in a sentence!) I’ll bet you that they take all
that crap and burry it one big hole at the back of the landfill. Anyway, after this fun time
we get to WinoManor to carry the king size set up the stairs to the master bedroom.
WinoWife knowing Brother and I all too well removes all the throw rugs, pictures on the
walls, small pieces of furniture, and any other loose or fragile item from our path and the
surrounding area, one can not be too careful with Brother and I on the loose. She also
admonishes us to be careful of the chandelier which hangs in our 2-story foyer. Brother
and I once installed garage door openers in our new house and drilled a few extra holes in
the doors; WinoWife seems to think that it would not have happened if we had not drunk
a case of beer while we were installing them, sheez what does she know?

This is our first king size mattress, damn those thing as are big and heavy, sure enough
with WinoWife screaming at us we miss the chandelier by a scant few inches. Brother
almost passes out from hauling the mattress up the stairs and we plop the box spring and
mattress on the bedroom floor and discover they are tall too. We load these babies into
the bed frame and climb up on the thing; it is so tall I almost pull a groin trying to get in.
Now I’m worried about breaking a limb if I rollover and fall out of the bed. The bed is so
wide or I am so short that I can lie sideways in the thing and still not spill over either
edge. There is enough room for more people in here, gee that conjures up some thoughts
that I’m sure to get smacked for if I ever say them out loud.

With the mattress secured in the bedroom Brother and I go to diesel-up the truck and
return it to its rightful owner. The dilemma is how do we leave it with only ¼ of a tank of
that stinky diesel, did I tell you that I am cheap? The two rocket scientists figured if it
took $45 to fill up a tank that was ¼ full how much would it take to return the level to ¼.
We could have asked WinoWife who is a math wiz but we took the high road. One of us
pumped the diesel and each time a dollar or so rang up on the pump the other one started
up the truck to see where the diesel gauge registered, by the way it took $13.82 to hit the
mark, think we repeated the process about 6 times.

WinoWife and I are enjoying our “deal” and there maybe a moral to this story “if you
want something done right do not call Brother or WinoMike” or “Mattress Discounters is
looking real good right now”. We did this in the absence of alcohol, just think of how
much fun it would have been if we drank?

Obviously this article has nothing to do with wine but WinoWally has been hounding me
for a few months to write something so I did. Maybe he will think twice before he hounds
me again. Promise the next article will actually mention wine once or twice.

WinoMike
Northern Virginia
Sometime in 2003

(Editor’s note: Here’s the wine tie-in… Wally later informed me that Mike saved so much money
on the mattress purchase that he treated Wally to a few bottles of Dom Perignon. Hey, it’s a stretch,
but it is wine…)

				
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