Friday, September 25, 2015

The Day a Pair of Bunk Beds Kicked My Ass

It's officially fall, dear readers. Punkins. Boots. Colorful treetops.

Long-haired Jens hurtling toward Home Depots in beat-up pickup trucks with grimaces on their faces like a redneck version of Cruella deVil.

Oh don't worry. I'll tell you the story.

So once upon a time there was a mom who suddenly had a second baby, but didn't suddenly have another bedroom. No biggie, the kids will share, she thought. But as the wee ladies grew older mom began to realize two twin beds would only just fit in the bedroom the girls shared. So this mom, like any good homesteader wanna-be, decided to be resourceful and found some bunk beds on Craigslist. They were local, owned and purchased by a family in town whose children were now grown, but had loved the beds throughout their childhood.

So this mom loaded these beds into her truck, drove them home, and put them at the top of her to-do list. Meaning, she let them sit in the garage for about 3 months. Once the appropriate amount of procrastination came and went, she dragged them out, wiped the spiders off, and painted them white. They were beautiful.

She let them dry a couple days but then couldn't stand the thought of them sitting idle for another few months. No, the mom said to herself, these beds simply must be put up today. Now. Right now. Immediately. So the mom lovingly broke down the younger girl's crib and started moving the bunk bed into place.

Of course, when her spouse returned from work he was overjoyed to see how productive she'd been. He was so excited about assisting her with the remainder of the project that he was rendered speechless - at a true loss of words, no doubt from overwhelming joy at the thought of assembling bunk beds after work on a weekday.

Together they arranged the bottom bed. But once assembled, the mom realized the bed was simply too tall. No. That would never do. We're putting the youngest daughter on the bottom and she can't climb that high up on her own. Can we undo everything we've done and lower the mattress rails? Of course we can. Let's get to it, honey.

Now, because the mom wanted more weight on the bottom bunk, it made perfect sense to tear apart the oldest girl's current (put together, made, perfectly beautiful) twin bed to steal the boxspring. Now, the mom said, satisfied with the lower bunk, now we need to get that top bunk bed set up. Way up there.

Oh that wasn't that hard, she said. The first top rail is secure, yes? Lovely. Now for the second rail....wait a minute. Where did you put the other bolts? No, I don't see any over here. Are we missing a bag? We must be missing a bag. The lady said she included all the hardware. We just must be missing a bag somewhere. I'll check the garage. You check under the beds. All of them. Maybe I packed them with the crib hardware? I'll go check. Oh! Wait! Here's a few of the bolts we need - but only 3. We need four, yes? What about the dowel connectors? See any of those? No? Nothing?

Conclusion: the Craigslist lady is a straight liar. There is no hardware. There was never any hardware.

The mom, despite her best efforts to remain calm, drives to Home Depot like Cruella de Vil.

"No, ma'am, we don't sell dowel screws and bolts that heavy-duty. Might need to order those online."

But the mom doesn't want to order them online. She wants this bed done now. Immediately. Cross it off the list. She returns home with smaller bolts and screws. Maybe they'll work out. Putty or something. That'll help. Mud. Rocks. Something.

They don't fit, they're too small, and it's officially an hour past the youngest kid's bedtime. This youngest kid is running into the bunk bed construction zone, jumping onto her new bed, jostling the entire top bunk half-done half-assed piece-of-crap contraption above her head, making it shake and threaten to fall down on her little head at any second. And dad tells her to get out of the room. And mom tells her to get out of the room. And she leaves for a second and sneaks back in as mom is trying desperately to make too-small screws magically grow longer. And the little hell-raising child bumps her head. And picks up small metal pieces. And moves blankets onto what little, precious floor space is left. And stands on unfinished particleboard in her bare feet.

So mom decides this is it, it's not going to happen, the bed will not be finished tonight. She can smell her own armpits and is trying to remember the last time she showered while she grabs the nearest set of twin-sized sheets and tosses them on the bed. She puts the comforter on top. The pillows. Stands back.

It's too tall. The boxspring makes the bottom bed too tall. Again. Dad comes in with the youngest on his tail. She is excited to see her new bed. Frantic, even. She leaps towards it. NO, her mom grabs her. It's not ready. Go read books. Dad looks like he might actually punch mom in the face but mom just shakes her head. We need to take the boxspring off.

So they tear the fresh bedding back, move the mattress, and shift the boxspring out. They shuffle it down the hallway and into the dining room, where it sits to this very day. The youngest kid's mattress gets back on the bottom bunk. The top bunk sits like a condemned barn roof - open and unfinished and dangerous-looking.

The oldest kid pops in to check progress and the mother, defeated and tired, remembers she has another kid....a kid whose bed sits in the dining room. So the two grown ups grab the oldest kid's mattress, but leave the boxspring. Maybe she won't notice her boxspring isn't there? Maybe. Maybe not. Does it matter? It does not.

Both kids settle into bed as mom types on the computer. What size are these things we need? These pieces? What are they called? I can't remember what the Home Depot man told me. Do we have anything in this house that can be used to measure anything? The tape measure is in the garage. Here, this is 4 inches long. And that's 1/2 inch long. Oh, here's some for sale at Menards. No, those aren't the right measurements. But look, it says right here, 1/2 inch. That's what we need. No, Jen, that's the length. You're looking at a piece that is 1/2 inch wide. No I'm not. Yes you are. I don't think so. Wait, what does 3M mean? That's metric. What in the h does the "M" stand for? No clue.

An hour of this and the mom's eyes begin to blur. She checks the same websites again and again. Nothing. No parts. No bolts or screws. No hope.

But then, like magic, she finds it. A place that specializes in bolts, apparently. She puts in her order. Falls into bed that night. Sleeps too little. Wakes to find an email that says, "We only sell wholesale. Try this fastener place instead." At least they gave me another lead, the mom thinks, knowing with absolute certainty at this point that what she is, what she actually is, is a bolt detective. Finding missing bolts. Tracking them down. Putting the bad guys in their place.

She follows the next lead. The e-commerce site will sell to her - but only at minimum of 10 per product. She needs 1 screw, 3 connectors. But at this point she does not care. And it's only $4 for all 20 pieces anyway. The shipping is $15, of course, but she is about to put these bolts away for life. She does not care what it costs.

The pieces came today in the mail. Tonight she might actually get to finish the beds. And then she can move on to her fall projects. Start harvesting the benefits of this precious season - one last hurrah of productivity before the silent, sleepy comfort of winter moves upon her.

Maybe she can get her mind right and do more things like impromptu drives through farmland with her favorite sidekick.

Maybe she can go on a few more outdoor excursions to her favorite places.

Take time to enjoy the colors.

Appreciate the immense amount of work that goes into providing for the winter months.

Maybe harvest a better attitude.

The start of every season is a chance to start again, you see.

It allows us a new set of tasks to focus on.

A new list of priorities.

And what a wonderful thing that is.....because those bunk beds sure kicked my ass.

What are you guys doing to celebrate the new season? Are you excited for fall? I'd love to hear about it in the comments down below and as always, thank you so much for reading :)



  1. OMG that sounds SO freaking frustrating! So I have to ask, did it end up being cheaper buying on craigslist and tracking down the parts?! Because I'm all about saving $$ no matter how frustrating!!

    1. Funny story - once we got the damn things up I literally turned around and said, "Next time, I'm buying new." It was SO not worth the hassle! The bed and mattress were $150 on Craiglist, the paint was $40, the hardware $20 - so were over $200 now. I mean, it's solid, it's nice, I love them, but DANG! Worth all the trouble? Maybe not!

  2. Wow. Quite the bunk bed drama, there! Hopefully they are totally finished by now? No wonder you procrastinated on putting them together for so long if it was going to be that hard. Who would have thought it would be nearly impossible to find the right size of bolts? Hey, at least now you have extras...who knows what they might come in handy for...

    1. Haha thanks Rach - we are DONE the girls are sleeping in them and they are PERFECT and they love them and I am NEVER buying another bed again! Forever! :) HAHA.

      And yes, the extra bolts will hopefully come in handy someday. Somehow. HA!

  3. I have one kid so none of that bunk bed drama! Lol Save the bunk bed drama for yo' momma :P He's a simple full sized bed type of kid :) Why didn't your hubby set that ish up? Lol. I'm SUPER excited for Fall, it's my favorite season. It's cool, people start to slow down but happiness is in the air because holiday season is on the horizon, you know what that means: FOOD AND PAID DAYS OFF! For us in this household anyways. Already have my 2016 goals lined up- BRING IT ON!!!!!!! Take Care lovely Jen <3 -Iva