Friday, March 20, 2009

Flipping Mattresses and the Vernal Equinox

Bagman and Butler are back!

Bagman seldom rises before noon, but today he is up with the crack of dawn, beating his chest, breathing deeply, leaping into Butler’s office like a ballet dancer (thankfully, however, without the tights), and roars, “Spring! Spring! The Vernal Equinox! I love the word vernal. It sounds so sensual…veerrrrnaalll.

“It’s just a season,” deadpans, Butler. “It means Spring. From the Latin. Vernalis. Spring.”

“Vernal, Vernalis, Venal, Vagina, Venus! I adore words that start with “V” And Springtime! I love Spring! The time when a young man’s fancy turns to thoughts of…”

“Flipping the mattress,” Butler interrupts.

“Yes! Flipping the mattress! I love flipping the mattress…” Bagman suddenly deflates as he realizes what Butler is talking about. He stares at Butler with a mix of contempt and despair. Butler stares back with a mix of…well…just a blank stare.

While the odd couple engages in a staring contest, I should explain what this is all about. Eight years ago, Karen and I went out and to purchase a new queen-sized mattress. We were like the three bears in Goldilocks. One was too soft, one was too hard, etc. But instead of three, we spent days, going and lying down on every mattress in every store in Charleston. I never realized how exhausting lying down could be! But it had to be the perfect mattress.

And once we purchased it and wrestled it into the bedroom, and set it up, Karen announced her research in Consumer Reports that showed mattresses last longer if they are regularly flipped over and alternately turned. I supposed that this flipping and turning delayed the mattress’s inevitable development of buttocks-shaped indentations, so I agreed.

But soon, I realized that we were flipping and turning it every other time we changed the sheets. This was a lot of work, not to mention that, when turning the mattress, the corners were prone to knock the lamps off the bed tables. Finally I got up the courage to suggest that we could probably get the same benefit if we did it less often. I was thinking maybe once a year. Wrong.

Butler, being the emperor of efficiency, came up with the astronomically accurate system of flipping the mattress at each equinox and turning it at each solstice. Brilliant.

Bagman, gives up the staring contest with Butler and erupts, “Who else in the world does this?! Nobody! Most people don’t flip mattresses at all!!!”

“I’ll bet lots of the people who read this blog flip their mattresses,” replies Butler. “Although in Australia they probably do it opposite and flip on solstices and turn on equinoxes.”

“Bah!” shouts Bagman. “And furthermore, I’ll bet nobody does half the anal retentive things we do!”

“Name one thing we do that is…well, I won’t use the phrase.”

“Lots of things!” Bagman says. He is on a roll now. “Like when the spray butter is almost gone and you open a new spray butter container…who in their right mind stops to pour the last few drops of the old container into the new container?”

“Waste not, want not,” Butler intones self-righteously.

“And who drives halfway across town because gas is 3 cents cheaper per gallon?! Who reuses the dryer sheets in the clothes dryer? Who goes to three different super markets to maximize coupons with store sales? Most people don’t even use (bleep)ing coupons in the first place!!!!”

“But think of how much we save by stocking up on things that are on sale,” instructs Butler in his best schoolmarm voice.

“Which is why we have 90 rolls of toilet paper stacked in the garage?”

At this point, I walk out of the room, unwilling to continue listening to this argument. I can see both sides of it. (Well, duh, seeing both sides of things is why I’m saddled with Bagman and Butler in the first place).

But I have to admit that before I met Karen the Coupon Queen, I lived in a small rented apartment, had no savings account, and my credit cards were maxed out and I was using Visa to pay my Master Card bill and vice versa. And now our mortgage is almost paid off and I might have even had a nice retirement ahead of me if the Economy hadn’t just tanked. And we still might be able to retire on income gained by selling toilet paper on the black market.

But I must admit that I don’t really know anyone who actually flips their mattresses. Then again, I’ve always been too embarrassed to ask.

So, followers of B&B, how many of you flip your mattresses. And welcome to Spring.


  1. I must say that while I do flip the mattress occasionally it is certainly not with such regularity as you.....

    It is much easier to flip mattresses with a partner the four of you should find it a doddle :)

  2. Unfortunately, we Aussies have bum dents too.
    Flipping mattresses is a national sport in some parts. :D (no shopping centres,lots of kids!)

  3. Oh Yes, Australians are all about the solstices and e-somethings! i actually didn't know you had to flip a mattress. but i do admire anyone who has a stash of 90 rolls of toilet paper.

  4. p.s. what is spray butter?!?

  5. We, too, flip the mattress occasionally, but never at the behest of celestial bodies.

  6. We have a three inch foam thing on top of our of those space age products...and we do flip it on occasion. The mattress which is now over a year old, no. You really do want to know the weirdest things about your readers!

  7. You missed vasectomy and/or victory.

    If you flip the mattress, then the familiar lumps that we have come to know and love are moved to alien and strange, unlovable places. If God meant for us to flip mattresses,.....

    Agree with Gnu (is that like "What's Gnu, Pussycat"? Or like Planck's Equation, E = h times gnu?), what is spray butter? Is it as bad for you and tasty as real butter?

  8. Good morning! Just checking in and getting caught up on my blog reading! Happy Saturday!

    I can rotate mine but it's a pillow top on one side only, so I can't flip.

  9. Good morning B&B,

    I use to flip the mattresses. I believe it was quarterly but I don't remember (it's been years).

    I convinced Mrs. U into buying a mattress that didn't require flipping or turning. We're both happy with the decision and that's good enough for me.


  10. Sensual. Vernal. Is that all of you, are just one of you who thinks that way?

    Flipping mattresses. We do it every three weeks. We hate it. Our cats love it. They come running upstairs for a ride.

  11. You've brought up a nagging regret...we bought a pillowtop, and I didn't stop to think that the flipping thing can't be flipped. (P.S. We don't drive across town to buy gas, but we do try to time the market. These days, when it can be 2.75 a gallon in the morning and 2.99 four hours later, it's quite the challenge.)

  12. Thanks for reminding me. It's time to flip the mattress. The last time I did it, I almost broke the bedroom mirror.

    Spray butter? It sounds almost decadent.

  13. I am a regular flipper and think its a must for regular floppers.

  14. This Australian can't keep up with her horoscope let alone the equinoxing on either side of the world. Yes Gnu I was wondering too, if it's a bit like spray olive oil?

    And nobody has flipped me for ages. *sigh*

  15. Yes, I must admit I have broken a couple of lamps, but I did flip the mattress a time or two! Definitely not on a schedule just when the bum prints begin to show!

  16. B&B...I bought a non-flipping, turn only mattress! I turn it with the change of the seasons only. It is one heavy mattress!!!!
    Enjoy your V's!

  17. I too have a pillow top which needs rotating but it has developed deep body indentations even tho' we are both very light souls.
    This is my second such mattress.
    I wrote to the company and explained my indentations adding a photo to illustrate.
    I was told that there is an allowable dent! and to lie a broom handle across the bed and measure the depth of the dent and it it fell within the allowable dent level then tough luck.

    I wrote back and said well yes it's on the outer extreme of your dent allowable level but I don't like the look - even with the bed made up you notice the dents like invisible bodies are lazing there all day.

    And I suggested that the manager ask his wife how she would feel to walk through the bedroom and see two large dents every day.

    I also said as an addendum that we were in the building of apartments game and we would recommend to all clients that they avoid their products.

    That worked.

    I got a response that offered a one only replacement mattress plus the comment that unfortunately the manager was unable to ask his wife my question.

    The letter was signed off


  18. We too both turn and flip our mattress, however, I'm not certain of the timing mechanism. We do it when Linda come out of the bedroom and says, "We need to turn the mattress, can you help me?"

    Thinking about it those times do seem evenly spaced.

    We change the batteries in the smoke alarm when the time changes backwards and forward in the Spring and Fall. We change batteries in the TV remote at the same time.

  19. I like your idea - I already buy new toothbrushes for the whole family on equinoxes and solstices, and always froget to flip and turn the mattress, and worse, forget which I did lat, so this seems like a great way to keep track!

  20. How in the world did this post turn into a toilet tissue issue? (get it....that rhymes so that makes me a poet. As a matter of fact, I can't believe that Obama didn't appoint me Poet Laureate can you?).
    Patty wants Butler this week. I'm taking Bagman and am fearlessly unafraid.
    We're switching next week and maybe you and I can settle that lil dental floss score?
    (I'll call you later Dude.....don't pretend that you didn't "hear" the phone this time okay?)

    Steady On
    Reggie Girl