Once Upon a Mattress
What is it with me and inflatables?
Everything I touch loses air faster than I do running my mouth.
We’ve got a nifty inflatable hot tub in our postage stamp backyard. The whole kit and caboodle, which can be yours from Walmart for under $400, worked great, stayed hot, and bubbled well for over a year. The tub is seriously sturdy enough for me to sit comfortably on the rim while hoisting a beverage. It’s also a strong perch for swinging one’s legs over and into the warm bubbling water.
But last week it started to go squishy. My getting into the water was a tad awkward as the tub faltered under my butt and slid me into the bubbles. But I did not spill my drink.
By the time I exited the tub, things had deteriorated. My trying to straddle the side for dismount saw me sink down so low, the water flowed out over me, the tsunami flushing me, bass ackwards, onto the concrete, then into the garden. Luckily, the Moscow Mule cup was copper.
Bonnie then spent several hours she’ll never get back looking for tiny air bubbles on wet spots. She patched a couple of places she thought were pinhole leaks, but to no avail. After filling the tub again, we got a mere day and a half out of it before it looked like deflate-gate with the New England Patriots.
Since the filter pump and cover were still good, (I guess that’s the kit), we ordered a replacement caboodle.
Amazon promised the new tub would arrive in three days, so we headed out for a weekend away to Virginia. Bonnie and I, plus the dog, visited a dear friend in her new, partially-furnished home. We had a wonderful evening, but wondered where we were going to sleep.
“Don’t worry,” my friend’s daughter said, “We have an air mattress for you, although it may have a really slow leak.” Uh-Oh. She set up the amoeba-like inflatable in the completely empty guest room. By completely empty, I mean not a stick of furniture. Except for a giant plushy Teddy Bear, propped up in the corner, watching us.
The mattress was a little low to the ground for our knees and hips, but we’d persevere.
“Really, this will be fine,” said the daughter, “but maybe by five in the morning you’ll be sleeping a bit downhill, rolling towards each other in the middle.” Okay, that seemed like fun. We cautioned Windsor, who generally bunks in the middle, to go sleep on the teddy bear’s big plushy leg.
Within an hour of lights-out, the trouble must have begun, because by 5:30 a.m. when I awoke for a potty call, I was essentially lying face down on the floor atop a crinkly, bumpy rubber sheet. I admit, I thought “I’m too old for this.”
With aching hips, I rolled out onto the carpet, realizing that with no furniture to grab onto, getting up would be a challenge. So I flipped over, hoisted myself to all fours, and began crawling toward the bedroom door.
That’s when Windsor woke up, thought I was the drooling Boxer from downstairs, growled, bared his teeth and lunged at me. “It’s me!” I hissed, to Windsor’s embarrassment. I was relieved he didn’t bite first, ask questions later.
I grabbed the door handle to haul my ass up, but that caused the door to swing open and fling me backwards, smack into the wall. Who’s embarrassed now? And Windsor and I were still on all fours. I think big bear was laughing.
My spouse, by the way, still slept.
Using the Schnauzer for leverage, I finally got up off the floor, went to the bathroom and took care of business.
Upon my return, I eyed what was left of the mattress, squatted and flopped back down. Apparently, there was just enough air left in my side for the belly flop to displace it towards Bonnie, literally flipping her off the bed and onto the Teddy Bear. She did wake up, on the proverbial wrong side of the bed, saying bad words, including figuratively flipping me off.
As Bonnie clung to Paddington, I was again face-planted on the lumpy rubber sheet, suspecting that the Princess and the Pea would have had a better night’s sleep.
“What is it with us and inflatables?” I asked. “It’s a good thing I don’t have breast implants.”
“I don’t think they inflate,” Bonnie said, “But I’m pretty sure an inflatable kayak is now out.”
“Yeah, being launched onto a stuffed bear is jarring, but it beats swimming with alligators.”
“And,” Bonnie added, ”it’s a good thing we didn’t take that ride on the Goodyear Blimp last winter. It could have been another Hindenberg.”
True. Although I did feel like the Hindenburg getting back up off the floor again to pack to go to our second weekend stop. They, lucky for us, offered up an actual mattress. And all things considered, it was a miracle we made it back home without a flat tire.
Well, in our absence, the new hot tub arrived, we pumped it up, waited 24-hours for it to heat up and just had our first dunk. Yes, it was glorious; yes, the Margaritas were delicious, and yes, dammit, we heard a pathetic whistling sound as we leaned on the rim to get out.
Now Bonnie’s outside checking the gasket between the tub and the pump. If we need another replacement part, I’ll be blowing a gasket myself.
As for our inflatables curse, I just scratched Hot Air Balloon Ride from my bucket list. From now on, the only thing filled with hot air around here will be me.
Fay Jacobs is the author of As I Lay Frying—a Rehoboth Beach Memoir; Fried & True—Tales from Rehoboth Beach, For Frying Out Loud—Rehoboth Beach Diaries, and Time Fries—Aging Gracelessly in Rehoboth Beach.