Monday, July 13, 2009

Bed Time Woes

The wife's Element was pretty fully packed for our trip to D.C., what with us camping and all. Beyond food and clothes, there was an awful lot of equipment to haul as well. Most of it went in the back, but we put the tent, bedding and our queen sized inflata-bed atop in the roof rack and tied it all down with twine.

Upon our arrival at Bull Run camp ground, we saw that the twine had cleanly cut two holes in the base surface of our inflatabed. Bad news.

We're kind of old hat at patching holes in inflatabeds, having had to do it for multiple beds in the past--we once spent a very long night at a KOA near St. Augustine, FL, sleeping on the tent floor while we waited for a patch to cure before we could drowsily inflate the bed using only the built-in hand pump; not fun--but we'd never had to with our beloved super-double-layered-queen size model. We've only had it for a year or two and it's served us well, particularly during the weekends spent in Borderland before our move away from Tri-Metro. We also had graduated to a portable electric air pump of extremely high quality that can inflate the bed in under 3 minutes. Wouldn't work well with the holes, though, so we opted to patch them early in the evening. This involves going out and buying a patch kit, which comes with rubber patch pieces and a vinyl glue to affix them to the surface of the bed. The kit claims it takes an hour or so to cure, so we gave it nearly two hours before we inflated it, just to be sure.

Bed inflated, bedding secured to it, we attempted to go to sleep but quickly realized that either our patch job had not worked or there were holes we were otherwise unaware of. Soon, the firmness of the bed began to soften as we sank ever-so-slowly toward the floor of the tent. Before long, we were having to roll to the outer edges of the bed to prevent us being lumped against each other in the middle. Eventually, we gave up on that, too, and just rolled to the center as the meat what was quickly becoming our vinyl taco. Please note that I haven't mentioned actually sleeping during all this. At least, I didn't, as my mind just would not let go of the fact that sooner than later we would be on the ground and would then be uncomfortable and unable to sleep. My ass had not quite reached the ground when I decided I could no longer take the suspense and gave up to go sleep in the car. After all, the Element is designed for the front and back seats to fold down to create a semi-horizontal surface on which a person or two could, at least theoretically, sleep. Meanwhile, the wife decided she would shove together the two smaller inflatable beds on which the girls were sleeping and have a go at snoozing across the foot of those beds.

In the car, the seats folded, I tried to sleep, but it was terribly uncomfortable. I'm a side-sleeper and trying it on those seats was an exercise in spine compression. I did get some sleep, as it was nearly 9 when I finally awoke, but it was not relaxed sleep. Also, a mosquito had shared my slumber chamber with me and had made off with most of my blood in the night. The wife said that she didn't get much more sleep inside the tent, either, as the girls kicked like mermaids and the beds refused to stay together.

We repatched the poor patch-job and left it to cure for the whole day.

The next night we tried anew, but again discovered that the patch was not quite up to snuff. The leak was considerably slower than the night before. At one point, I heard Kayley's voice calling out to Meg, saying, "Meg, wake up. Aunt Ashley and Uncle Eric are gone. Wake up, Meg. They're not in their bed." At first I was confused by this, before realizing that we'd merely sunk down low enough that she couldn't see us very well. "No, we're still here," I called. Soon after, we got up and inflated the bed again.

Since the second night had not been as bad, we decided to repeat the formula for the third--sleep half the night, reinflate, sleep the second half. We arose at 1a, reinflated the bed and then settled back in to sleep at which point we heard "Sssssssssssssss" coming from the bed. Yep, the very process of inflating--perhaps OVER-inflating--the bed had ruptured a new hole in the topside. We swore in hushed tones and pondered what to do. I announced I was going back to the car, but it was suggested a local Wally World or Target might be open to sell us a new mattress. I decided it was worth a try and spent the next hour driving around Virginia in search of a 24 hour Wal-Mart. Didn't find one. I returned to camp to learn that the wife had patched the hole with duct tape and that it actually worked better than the patch kit, so we got a little more sleep.

We bought a new mattress the next morning. It too was very nice, double-layered, queen-sized and comfortable, but it hurt our feelings to ditch the old one that had served us faithfully. It did sleep rather well during our final night in the D.C. area.


crsunlimited said...

Your loosing Ozark Handyman Points there Juice. Your wife was using duck tape before you did. She wins this round.

Juice S. Aaron said...

*Hangs head in shame*

katze said...

This made me laugh, because back in 2001 we had a similar experience with an air mattress while camping in Virginia. My friends from Germany were along for the trip, and they learned some colorful English vocabulary after the 2nd morning we woke up to a nearly flat air mattress despite our efforts to patch the leaks.