Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Change Your Life for $1,000, please, Alex.

By Martha Reed

It’s strange the things that can bug you. I can ignore the porch that needs a coat of paint or the tremendous pile of laundry hiding in the hamper but then I read something and it gets to me to such an extent I actually have to do something about it.

Here’s the latest thing that got to me: I read an article about dust mites. Harmless little critters that are so microscopic you can’t even see them and yet – this article stated – if your pillows are more than 5 years old then half the weight of them is dead dust mites.

Yikes! I didn’t sleep well that night. Kept tossing and turning. Can’t imagine why.

The next day my logical mind took that information one step further. If half of my five year old pillows were dead dust mites then what for God’s sake was in my mattress? I hauled that thing up from Texas eighteen years ago!

Imagine that. For the first time in my life I slept on the outside of my comforter.

Anyway, so the story goes, I went shopping for a new mattress. It’s been so long since I shopped for the last one I couldn’t even remember how to do it but let me tell you, it’s hilarious. It’s as campy as a Monty Python skit. Casually, you walk into a mattress store with all these empty beds on display and then you’re supposed to lie down to test out each one for ten minutes, pretending to sleep in front of strangers. Uh-huh, right. Like that’s going to happen.

Surprisingly though, eventually you do find one that makes a real difference and then you realize just how lumpy and awful your old mattress was. Traveling can have this effect, too, once you get back home and you realize it’s time for a change when a hotel mattress feels better than your own.

So, I bit the bullet and ordered my new mattress. It cost significantly less than $1,000 and I can’t believe the difference it makes supporting my back and helping me sleep. True, I do feel a bit like the princess and the pea as I climb up onto it but man, do I feel nurtured.

Other than voyaging to a strange land or joining a health club, it’s probably the best grand I’ve ever spent. What have you spent $1,000 on that changed your life?


PatRemick said...

Ah, so many potential answers -- which one to choose?

I'd say that often I just go along, tolerating things that I'm barely aware are operating at less than maximum efficiency so when I finally do buy a new car or some appliance like a dishwasher, it feels like my life has been changed for the better, at least briefly.

But when it comes to big-budget investments, it's probably the houses that have changed my life the most -- new friends, new parts of the world, new activities, new headaches.

Annette said...

First, I want to thank you, Martha for completely grossing me out. I'll be at the store this afternoon shopping for new pillows, for sure. My mattress is fairly new, although I'll probably hit it with the vacuum cleaner before bedtime.

We're in the process of ripping up all our carpet and putting down wood floors (cost? Yeah, in that range). You can imagine the dust mites we're displacing in that 25-year-old carpeting. The goal is to help my dust (mite) allergies. Hard to tell whether or not it's working since we haven't done my office yet and this is where I spend most of my time.

Joyce Tremel said...

Martha, we could have shopped together. My new mattress and box springs are being delivered today sometime between 9 and 1! It was at least 15 years old. I was putting it off because I'm a cheapskate at heart, so I hope I like it.

Hmm. The best $1000 I ever spent. That's a tough one. Just off the top of my head, I'd have to say our hot tub, our RAV 4, the kids' college tuition...I'll stop there.

Joyce Tremel said...

Btw, most pillows are washable. I read a recommendation that you should wash them in hot water and dry them at the hottest setting in the dryer to kill the dust mites at least every 6 months.

Martha Reed said...

Pat, it's funny how quickly I fall into tolerating things. I have a gift for working around a problem rather than fixing it - for instance, I haven't had a working stove for almost ... four years? I make do with a toaster oven, my crockpot and my outdoor grill. Simply amazing. I keep promising myself a new one but then it trips into a new KITCHEN and like Joyce, I'm too cheap to consider THAT.

Well, now, maybe I will do that next except the heading for my blog would have to read: Change Your Life for $10,000. Ouch!

Annette: thanks for the compliment. I know the writing is effective if I can get an emotional response. You made my day!

Gina said...

I'm like you, Martha. I tend to live with things for years, like the lack of counter space in my kitchen or the broken "toast" dial on my toaster oven (it's possible to make toast on the oven setting).

I think the best life changing $1,000 I ever spent was my first personal computer purchased in the early 1980s from Radio Shack.

Martha Reed said...

Gina, have you upgraded since then? Do they still make Wangs? haha. I have to admit the $1,100 I paid for my Mac laptop was a good buy.

Annette said...

Ooo. A Mac. I think once I recover from my recent Nikon camera purchase (too soon to say it's changed my life, but the photos from it have already snagged me a writing gig!!!), my next big purchase may be a Mac.

Joyce Tremel said...

Annette, my resident computer expert (who built his own computer and our new desktop), says don't buy one. He uses "that brand" at work and they're constantly crashing. He always thought they were good until he actually had to use one every day.

Joyce Tremel said...

Oh, and my new mattress and box springs have been delivered. The only problem is that I might need a ladder to get into bed. It's AT LEAST six inches higher than before. Maybe I should have gotten the 3 inch box spring instead of the standard one.

Karen in Ohio said...

Geez, how'd you find a computer for under $4,000 back in the '80s? I would say my first computer changed my life, 180 degrees, but with software and printer (which alone cost $1,000, a big old daisy wheel sucker that sounded like a jackhammer and whipped out a single page in the lightning fast time of four minutes), it all came to about $5,000.

My first microwave, which I bought in 1978, also changed my life. Less than $1,000, but not by much. Now you can buy one three or four times as powerful, and half the size, for under $100. Same with computers, only they are thousands, possibly millions of times more powerful, and a tenth the cost.

Gina said...

Annette -
I never thought I'd say this, but a Mac with PhotoShop is worth gettin if you want to do fun things with your pictures. If you don't believe me, you can come by and use mine for an hour or so some day. It's magical.

Sherry said...

And to think I'm still using the mattress and pillows I brought from Texas! Eeeew! I need to rethink this. Something else to "bug" me at night.

Wilfred Bereswill said...

If there were a threat of flesh eating dust mites, I might be convinced to spend that kind of cash. Otherwise, they don't tak up a whole lot of room.

Martha Reed said...

So you're thinking of dust mites as some kind of exfoliant?