Joco Opinion

August 26, 2014

Denise Snodell: When good intentions go bad, try to forget the memory foam

When the youngest bird flew off to an out-of-state college, my former bedding obsession was brought to the surface once again.

I messed up a bit with our youngest son’s college move-in. But my heart was in the right place.

If you caught the last column, I explained how I channeled my emotions by fixating on a super-cushy dorm rug. The kid was lofting his bed, and I worried that if he rolled onto the tile floor, a puffy carpet would help break the fall.

Mothers tend to do these things. We visualize what will never happen, while the real fiascoes are lining up around the corner, twirling their evil mustaches. But anticipating/preventing potential danger gets our minds off what is really going on. In this case, it was my youngest bird flying away.

So since the kid is attending a school out of state, we really couldn’t go all Jethro Bodine when the day came to pack the ve-hicle. We had to streamline things for the road trip, hauling only the puffy rug, clothes and basic essentials. Our plan was to buy the bulky bedding and other stuff our son needed near the university.

Once we dumped the smaller load in the dorm, we immediately headed to the college town’s parallel universe Bed, Bath & Beyond. I can’t tell you how disturbing it is to be in another city’s chain stores that look the same on the inside but are vaguely off-kilter. Store No. 938 always has a few molecular shifts from Store No. 947. Every section is flip-flopped. Duvets that should be on the left are on the right. It’s like stepping into a mirror.

And perhaps that’s what brought my former bedding obsession to the surface once again. My alter-ego, Thread Count Dracula, emerged from the fog with sharpened teeth.

Here’s the hyperbole-free truth about what I did to my son’s standard-issue dorm mattress, which honestly is a thin slice of angel food cake wrapped in a flimsy tarp: I covered it with a super thick memory foam and gel combo wackadoodle topper. Then I encased that situation with a hypoallergenic anti-bed bug mattress protector.

Wait, there’s more. I added a hefty mattress pad over the protector. The logic — it would make the 3,000-thread-count fitted sheets more grippy. Because, ya know, the bed bug/allergy shield is kind of slick. After adding the two sheets, on went the overstuffed comforter, the matching sham and several accent pillows. It took Herculean restraint on my part not to add the extra color-coordinated microfiber blanket.

His bed looked like an art installation titled, “Still Life of a Marshmallow-Injected Cotton-Bale Cloud.” I loved it.

Several days later, I’m home, pretending everything is normal and my son is away at weekend Cub Scout camp. Then I get a text: “My back started hurting yesterday. It could be because the bed is too gushy.”

Too gushy. I blew it. I totally blew it.

The kid proceeded to tell me, via text, that he peeled off all the crazy layers, flipped the mattress over and so forth. Now 50 percent of Georgia’s 2014 cotton crop is jammed in my son’s tiny dorm closet.

I paced the floors for a good 40 minutes, worrying about his back and maybe questioning my tendency to overdo the nurturing thing. Did I mention we lined the underside of the metal lofted bed frame with pool noodles so he wouldn’t crack his head when he got up from his desk?

At press time my son was considering getting a ride to a parallel universe’s Home Depot. He wants to purchase a wooden board to place under the mattress.

So the big question is, does plywood have a thread count?

Freelancer Denise Snodell writes every other week.

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