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Sunday, December 21, 2008  

Bed Bed Bed

Last summer, M. Edium graduated from his race-car bed to the Kura reversible bunk bed from IKEA. He'd encountered one at a play date at a friend's house, and had to have it. Which meant we didn't have to go through a lot of drama shopping for the new one, plus the price was right, so everybody won. The pictogram instruction booklet even said I could probably put it together in ninety minutes. Although several hours into the assembly process, I began to wonder if that part of it hadn't been inserted by someone at Lie-KEA. By coincidence, my twenty-year high school reunion was that evening, and I began to literally wonder if I was going to finish in time. As it was, if anyone had asked me what I had been doing the last two decades, I was fully prepared to answer, "Putting my kid's bunk bed together."

Part of the issue was that I hacked it a little bit. It's "reversible" in the sense that you can flip it upside down and turn it into a canopy bed instead of a bunk bed, but I thought "reversible" meant you had a whole menu of possible configurations. Before I started putting it together, I asked M. Edium which end he wanted the ladder on, and which end he wanted open and which end he wanted walled off. He wanted the ladder at the far end and the wall at the near end. It wasn't until I was more than halfway through until I realized that wasn't one of the options, and by then it was too late. The pre-drilled bolt holes that were pointing in the wrong direction would just have to stand empty.

He loves his bed, of course. It's his most prized possession. It's the first thing he wants to show off to new people, to the point where if he were older it would be borderline inappropriate. But the configuration of his room has been less than ideal for us. I wasn't quite clear on Trash's vision that featured one end of the bed tucked neatly into the natural alcove formed by his closet. Instead, that alcove has been containing his dresser and a bookcase full of supply bins, while the bed has dominated the entire rest of the room to the extent that it's turned the room's floor plan into that of a submarine crewed by dwarves.

I'd been putting off reconfiguring it the correct way for about six months now. I've been waiting for a time when a) I didn't have anything else to do, b) M. Edium was gone for the day, since the Saturday I originally put it up he ended up feeling so neglected by me it broke both our hearts, and c) I had a six-hour window, just on the remote chance that changing it around took as long as building it had.

This past Thursday met all those conditions, since I had the day off work. I'd just finished stripping the bed down to the wood-and-metal frame, with all the linens folded into one overflowing laundry bin and all the stuffed animals in an even more overflowing laundry bin, when Trash suggested, "Maybe we should do it when he's home so he's not surprised and he doesn't freak out."

My response was thoughtful and considered: "Are you shitting me?"

I went ahead, and wouldn't you know, it took me about six hours. I nearly had to take the whole thing back down to its component parts just to swap around the ladder, the wall panels, and the four columns. Oh, and take some of them back apart again so I could dig out the specifically-sized nuts I'd put into a few wrong slots.

A funny thing happened, though. When I was done, there weren't nearly as many extra parts lying around as there were the first time. The top end panel no longer opened like a trap door, dumping the outermost stuffed animals on the floor like it has been. And the whole thing felt a lot sturdier, to the point where I might have considered repealing the rule against jumping on the bed. The rules against wiggling, clapping, and sighing on the bed were already things of the past, as far as I was concerned. I was beginning to consider a rule against eating in the bed after seeing the quantity of crumbs that ended up on the floor, though.

Then, as much as I might have wanted a nap at this point, Trash came and helped rearrange the furniture. The end of the bed got tucked into the alcove where it belonged, the dresser was pulled out to a place where we can reach into the drawers with both hands at one time, the giant bookshelf swapped places with a smaller one in the hallway, and the whole room seemed to become large enough that the last person in didn't have to be the first person out any more.

But would M. Edium freak out? By this time, I was almost late to go pick him up, so he'd find out soon.

He loves it. In fact, he's so excited about it that he can hardly go to sleep at night any more.

That was not entirely the desired outcome.

posted by M. Giant 9:18 PM 0 comments


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