Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Bed Is Just To Hold The Pillows Up

I finally punched through my favorite bed sheet the other day. I've been sleeping on it for twenty years, and it was getting so thin I could read the Do Not Remove tag on the mattress through it. It was the softest, smoothest sheet ever, the kind of sheet that makes you wiggle like you're treading water in the morning instead of getting up, just so you can feel it some more. It was soft as a baby's bottom without any of the effluent, mostly. I was so crushed to see the hole that I briefly considered keeping the sheet but avoiding the thin spot. Then I realized that whatever portion of me had thinned out the sheet was not likely to voluntarily relocate in my sleep.

I have another set of sheets, and they're pretty good, but not as good. The good ones didn't quite fit the mattress, and kept poinking off at the corners. The not-as-good ones fit just fine. The trouble is you can't tell if you have the really good sheets until you've bought them and opened them up. They can say stuff on the packaging but it doesn't mean anything. Egyptian cotton? Good for side-sleepers, I assume. Thread count? Please. There's no guarantee your 500 threads per square inch aren't all sticking straight up. Or that your sheet isn't as dense as a pair of Carhartts. And they won't let you feel the sheets in the store. The best you can hope for is if your sheets are all made up on an abbreviated display bed, and you can strip down and crawl in for a few seconds, but usually, in your better department stores, they send over some lady from Fragrances to spray you down. I've heard.

The set I just brought home is typical. It's a cube. It's not remotely squishy. It's encased in a transparent plastic suitcase all its own, with a zipper and everything. When you open it up it slides out all square. And then it folds out like one of those old Christmas Life-Savers books, and if you dig at it long enough, you'll discover it has been folded around heavy-duty cardboard to maintain squaritude. They pay some tiny person in Indonesia fifteen cents a day to cardboardize your sheets and then the store puts a lock on the little zipper so you can't open it up and feel them. Oh, it's packaged all to hell. You can tell the company sincerely wanted to add polystyrene foam and microbeads to the packaging and edge the plastic suitcase in baby seal fur, but Marketing intervened and insisted everything be transparent. At any rate, you have to throw the little suitcase away, preferably directly in the ocean where it can eventually choke an albatross. Because you're never, ever going to wad your sheets back into the sucker.

At least I was able to purchase a sheet set that didn't include four pillowcases and a pair of shams. We only use the two pillows, and they're not even king-size, though our bed is. Dave wanted something he could locate both ends of, so he got a queen, and mine is even smaller. When I make up the bed, it looks like I'm hiding a Tic-Tac in there. All I use in a pillow is the corner. I'm a stomach sleeper, and I fold the point under and wad up a fist-sized portion to mold to my eye socket and temple--just enough to keep my nostrils off the mattress. I don't even use the center portion of the pillow. That's just there to give me four corners to choose from.

Since my entire pillow inventory could be the size of a stuffed sock, I have always wondered why beds come with so many pillows now. I thought it was just for show. You have your regular pillows, you have your extra set of regular pillows, you have your throws, your tubulars, and your shams, all in attractive coordinating fabrics that aren't too matchy-matchy. What are they for? Are they bolsters to keep you from sailing off the bed? Are they cat deflectors? First thing I do when I encounter a bed with this many pillows is find the skinniest squishiest one and throw the rest on the floor. But at some point it occurred to me that my guests might actually enjoy pillows.  So I got a few extra for the guest room. OMG.

They use them. They orchestrate them. They want them. They, like me, have body parts all over them that need to be molded or contained, and they will draft every available pillow to give them an edge on insomnia. I may hate fat pillows because they force me to crank my head back like Jake the Alligator Man, but other people need as many different pillows as they can get. I won't argue: you have to go with what works. I need to keep my nostrils from being mashed into the mattress, and if my guests have something personal on them that needs propping up, it's no business of mine.

54 comments:

  1. The sheets I've encountered in those little zipper cases were not locked in; I was able to unzip it and cop a feel. If they are starting to lock them in, I suggest that you carry a very small penknife with you and make a tiny little slash in the plastic, so that you can feel it for yourself. Even with a return policy, they know that you will keep the damn thing even if it feels like sandpaper, rather than try to get it back in the zippered bag.

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    1. The penknife might come in handy in Fragrances, too.

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  2. I had no idea that someone could write 6 full paragraphs about sheets. Nice piece o' writin'.

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    1. The history of "Aunt Flo" and how she is dealt with. *wink, wink*

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    2. YOU are trying to get me into trouble.

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  3. For winter I have some nice warm and soft flannel sheets that I hate giving up in the summer, but it's not my decision. I'm with you on all the fancy pillows all over a bed. I just need one to sleep and just throw or kick the rest out of the way. I hope you can wear down the next set so you have the proper softness at night. Or whenever you sleep.

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    1. I got flannel sheets when we first lived in this house and had no heat upstairs and no insulation and the flannel made it easier to crawl in bed. But I prefer slicker sheets and five thousand pounds of blankies.

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  4. Don't get me started on Mrs. C's pillow regimen (I probably used that word incorrectly). I don't trust those sheet claims, I think they are like the short 9 inch subway sandwiches. I counted the thread's once and only found 475.

    Funny stuff.

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    1. You mean it's really "FIVE...FIVE DOLLAR...FIVE DOLLAR NINE INCH?"

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  5. God. I have to buy ten sets of sheets per year. Ten strangled albatrosses every damn year. I'm sorry, albatrosses!

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    1. Well, you're sticking whole other people on your sheets, right? And you never know how abrasive they can be.

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    2. Dale rubs butts for a living. Sorry, Dale, but that's exactly how MY massage therapist puts it.

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    3. Ah. Thanks for clearing that up. I wondered if maybe he ran a small hotel or something.

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  6. They lock up your sheets down there? Remind me never to cross the border!

    For me, the best part of the sheet sets IS the zippered plastic packaging. They're handy for keeping sewing projects together because you can see through them. (For those of us without a dedicated sewing space.)

    Good luck in your quest.

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    1. Huh. That's actually a good idea. Everybody send jenny o your plastic suitcases. You KNOW she has dozens of not-quite-finished sewing projects.

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    2. Sad but true ! Known as UFO's (Unfinished Objects) and PHD's (Projects Half Done), I do believe - and don't all sewers have those? Come on, Murr, admit it!

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    3. Me too! Me too! We knitters use them for finished projects and for yarn!

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    4. Well I wish I could fish it out of the recycling but it's too late. We have a wonderful store here that accepts all manner of oddities that children might possibly use for arts and crafts: clothespins, buttons, that kind of thing. They'd probably like my sheet suitcases.

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  7. Sleep like an Egyptian...wasn't that by the Bangles? And anyway, my nickname is 'Pillows'...'Pillows Galore' to some in the know.

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    1. I might need to be just a weensy bit MORE in the know.

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  8. I just found your blog and am enjoying it very much. We think much alike on sheets and pillows. I bought the "hang them on your clothesline" sheets from Vermont Country Store and they are simple and terrific.

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    1. Welcome! Thanks for popping by. I'll need to look up those sheets. Although I already hang all my sheets (and underpants and everything else) on the line.

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  9. The very best sheets I ever slept on belonged to a Bed and Breakfast. Linen. Dried in the sun over lavender bushes. Absolute bliss.
    One pillow here too. Himself has two. And they are NOT interchangeable.

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    1. Were they really? Or is that what the B&B said? Because that's kind of precious. I might need to check out this linen thing...I keep thinking of the sort of burlappy material.

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  10. I envy small animals. When you only weigh a few ounces, the whole world is your bed.

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    1. Even someone else's bed can be your bed. I don't really want to think too hard about that right now.

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  11. Mr Boom actually sleeps with one pillow under his head, and one on top of his head. He's kinda weird.

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  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  13. Oh damn! I tried to delete my over-long comme nt. Sorry, blogger blew it.

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    1. I read it because it came through my email! Why would you delete such a nice fat comment?

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  14. "the softest, smoothest sheet ever" I had a set just like that, the most comfortable sheets I ever slept on, but they're queen sized and don't fit well on my smaller bed now, so I gave them to my son, who has my old queen sized bed.
    I have four pillows on my single bed, I use one for sleeping, but the rest come in handy for propping myself up when reading in bed and for putting under my knees when I need to lie flat with my legs up because my back is behaving badly.

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    1. Pete Egoscue: "A Revolutionary Method For Stopping Chronic Pain." Ten-buck book, and you'll save that in pillows alone.

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    2. But I already had the pillows from when I had the big bed and I have Peter Egoscue's Pain Free book. It's interesting reading, but when I tried a couple of the exercises I had to go lie flat with my legs up on pillows...Probably I did it wrong, or maybe my floor is just too hard.

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    3. I have to admit that most people who are disappointed in the book say it was interesting reading, but they didn't actually do the exercises, or they tried "some." If you give it another shot, go for glory and follow instructions precisely. Maybe someone can help you.

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  15. Like you, Murr, I'm a stomach sleeper and need something solid that will keep me from suffocating. Sometimes, when traveling, I've encountered pillows so fluffy that even folding them over didn't provide any support, and I've ended up using my purse or backpack instead. I'm convinced that mooshy pillows are the work of Satan.

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    1. I'm starting to recognize that there needs to be five thousand different kinds of pillows, because we are all, each and every one of us, Princesses.

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  16. I LOVE flannel sheets, but recently slept on top of one of my soft fuzzy blankets with another on top of me and was in softness heaven! I had washed the sheets and forgot to dry them, thus the blanket bundle. It is wonderful and I may do this at least once a week! Felt like I was in the arms of a big, soft, warm teddy bear!!!
    Oh, and your challenge of should fish more remark----lampshades!

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    1. Naaaah, I wasn't serious! But if I was, it would involve my old iguana, Sparky.

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    2. Alas poor Sparky. I knew him, Horatio.

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    3. He did dress up a lampshade something fierce, though.

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  17. Pootie and I have the exact same PJs! (I always suspected that he had excellent taste.)

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    1. It's a very fine flannel. But he looks good in any old thing he throw on.

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  18. Now just hold on a dang minute. I love the post, I love real pillows, I hate shams; I throw tubular pillows at the hotel mirror and all the shammy ones right on the floor and stomp on them. But THAT...That is a FeeJee Mermaid. That is NOT "Jake the Alligator Man." Look it up. See if I'm right. Ax The Google.

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    1. "Jake the Alligator Man is an alleged half-man, half-alligator on display in an apparently mummified condition at Marsh's Free Museum, a tourist trap located at 409 South Pacific Avenue in Long Beach, Washington. He was acquired by the Marshes for $750 in 1967 from an antique store. He is kind of similar to the "Fiji Mermaid" also spelt "Feejee Mermaid".

      His image was used by the Weekly World News on November 9, 1993 for front-page article, "Half-human, half-alligator discovered in Florida swamp". The periodical subsequently reported on his escape from captivity, killing of a Miami man, and giving birth.

      Jake has acquired quite a following in Northwestern popular culture. Bumper stickers featuring the oddity can be commonly seen throughout Washington and Oregon."

      I believe there are several mermen extant. They occupy a plane of existence unique to them and also Route 66.

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  19. Murr, you nailed it once again! Well done ( and funny too)!

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    1. These are important, momentous topics that must be tackled.

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  20. When we visit a certain sister of mine she puts us in a guest room the bed of which is piled to the ceiling with pillows. The only place for all but two of them is on the floor. Then I run the risk of breaking my neck and assorted pieces of furniture when I have to get up in the middle the night.

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    1. Where you're going wrong is that "get up in the middle of the night" part.

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    2. Did you miss the part about "have to"?

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  21. I've priced those linen sheets. A fortune! But, then, if you can save enough to buy two sets, you'd be set for life, sheetwise. Let's write a letter to Santa.

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    1. Really? Lifetime sheets? Still sounds more and more like Carhartts to me.

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