“I want to build a bed.” My first sentence uttered over my first cup of my favorite strong black coffee brewed by my favorite man. His usual stoic non-response was a good, no, a great sign. At least he did not oppose, I shrugged mentally. Next, I visited Dr. Google and asked about the dimensions. Sleeping in bed is my expertise, but building one? Haa! I did not even know how big my mattress is. Dr. Google tells me that my mattress is 75 inches by 80 inches.
Is 75 inches the length or the width? I wonder. My previous success with the wooden bench has emboldened me. I don’t need to refer to Dr. Google for information anymore, I decide. Armed with the measuring tape, I head to the bedroom. Feeling very wise, I pat myself on the back for my caution, for I am now also measuring the underlying box spring. Oops! I now know why we seemed to have more room than usual on the bed, and yet, the husband’s feet always dangled outside the perimeter! All this time, the box spring has been sitting right, but I had set up my mattress width wise. Hurriedly, I fix the issue, taking care not to make any sound for the man is working from home and I don’t want him to know I goofed up on the one thing I had proudly boasted about setting up myself.
Later that evening, the husband approachs me. “You said something about building our bed.” I do a mental dance and nod with serene maturity. “We’ve been traveling and living all over the world over the last decade, renting, living in company provided accomodation. Don’t you think it is time to have our very own proper bed?” As is his style, he is quiet for a long moment. Suddenly, the quiet man disappears as a grin grows wide on his face, and I fall head over heels in love with him, again. “Let’s!” rising to his feet, he fetches the measuring tape, and off we go into the bedroom to measure and talk and discuss and argue.
“This room is meant to have a Japanese theme! The bed has to be low, closer to the ground!” he repeats for the millionth time. It is a physical effort to not roll my eyes. “My zaadu (broom) needs to be able to sweep underneath. I refuse to sleep with dirt and dust under my bed!” I know I look and sound scary when I take on this tone. Wink The trick works. He gives in, a little. “Two inches” I shake my head, “the ground clearance has to be ten inches. The broom must sweep freely.”
Rising to his full height of six feet two inches, the man rests his hands on his hips and looks at me like I’ve lost my head. “You do realise we’ll need a ladder to climb into bed it we keep ten inches of clearance plus the insanely thick mattress?” So he thinks he is being funny, eh? I’ll show him, I decide. I lug the hug ladder into the room, making a big show of the weight lifting. He doesn’t even a lift a finger to help, having seen me easily and comfortably haul more than twice this weight.
“Here,” I point to the rung at the exact height the mattress will be at, and proceed to oh-so-easily sit on it. “If I can settle comfortably,” I lift a freshly plucked eyebrow, “how come a giant like you claims he cannot?” I make a point of examing my long nails (handcreams have become my go-to because of the drying effect of sanitizers. While the effects of the cream on my skin is still unconfirmed, my fingernails defnitely thank me.) I’ve touched his ego. I know I have. He rests a foot on the lowest rung of the ladder, “three inches.” We continue to bargain for inches of ground clearance exactly the way one would bargain for prices. Finally, in a classic maneuver of naa teri naa meri, beech mein sauda pakka karte hain (neither yours nor mine, let’s settle the deal at a middle point), we both agree to ground clearance of five inches.
Now you see why this bed gave us immense food for conversation. All this while, we have only covered the ground clearance. The design, let’s just say the ‘conversation’ about design will need a separate post of its own!
Back to measuring. I set about shopping – online, of course. My Indian heritage means I must begin my search with what we consider the royal of woods – Teak! Way way way out of my budget. Not ready to give up, I look for the prices of cherry wood as an ode to our Japan sejour. Uh-uh Tough luck. It is still out of the limits of my pocket. So I explore mahogany, maple, oak, and even poplar! Finally, my current budget is happy when I choose good old versatile, easily available, handy, sturdy, reliable, local, Pine. ( I need to write/dedicate an antire post to pine).
This wood is available in several dimensions, and it is a separate study in mathematics and economics to calculate exactly how many pieces of what dimension would be required, for I wantto minimise scrap. My shopping cart looks good and the number on the bottom right makes my heart aflutter with joy. Once my pocket is lighter, I set out to go to the shop to fetch the wood. They help me pile it into my car. Done. Next, I head to the woodworking guild, where measuring, cutting, planing, sanding, are all easy to do with the tools they have. The supervisor enthusiastically joins me in my tasks once I tell her what the project is. Her help halves my task time.
It is almost sunset by the time I reach home, and the husband has wrapped up his work for the day. We unload the already gorgeous, but now even more beautiful looking pieces of wood. Delegating the task of drilling pocket holes, I start working on building the platform. Both these tasks are easy, but time consuming, for they need precision and right angles. Our rumbling tummies force us to stop.
Day two, the platform is ready. I have glued and screwed it. The legs (posts) and the headboard and footboard are no mean feat, and will require the efforts of us both, and the few clamps that we possess. We finish screwing one side board to the posts. But we must stop, for it is dinner time once again. I haven’t cooked. Patidev offers to pick up the ladle this time, leaving me free to finish staining the boards.
Day three, another side board gets mounted to the posts. The first round of varnishing is done. Dinner time.
Day, I need to start referring to them as evening. Evening four, nothing much gets done as the weather is miserable and cold. All I do is sand and apply a second coat of varnish.
Evening five, it is still cold, but not bone-jarringly so. The headboard needs to be mounted, but we first need to cut it, for I had left a few extra inches on for caution. Out comes the saw. We measure thrice, cut once, and proceed to kreg it. Alas! Something is wrong. The size is right, but it won’t fit between the two posts! Idea! I check the foot posts. The board fits like a dream. This variation happens because wood is a living being and has a mind of its own. Will pen a post “Ways of the Wood” on this shortly. We kreg it and fix it. Dinner.
Day six, I have a few moments to spare during the day. I sand and apply the third and final coat of varnish to what is now starting to look a lot like the bed I had envisaged. In the evening , we carry the platform into our room, and then the c-shaped footboard + sideboard set up. Everything fits very well to together. Whew! I hold the headboard against the two posts and ask the husband to hurry up with the measurements for it is a very heavy piece of wood indeed. He marks it, and heads back to the garage to cut. In the meantime, I finish marking the second piece for the headboard.
While the second piece is being cut, I drill pocket holes into the first one. He holds the holey board flush at ninety degrees while I screw it to the post. We repeat this with the second board. All of a sudden, we exclaim, for the bed looks like a bed! We attach the platform to the bed with rails and ta-dah! Sonny boy promptly proceeds to test the strength of our work by jumping, yes, literally jumping and bouncing on it. Nothing. Not even a creak! “I wish I were still a baby,” sonny boy muses. “Why?”I wonder. “So I could use your bed as my trampoline!” he grins cheekily and jumps off before I can remind him that he will always be my baby.
It took us a little over a week, but we did it. I smile to myself, we made our bed.