Jamie started climbing out of his crib a few weeks ago. This was new for us, because Charles was never patient enough to figure out how to climb out of his crib. Or maybe his legs were too heavy to swing up and over the side. Jamie, though… he’s a thinker. He considers a problem, finds a solution, and goes for it. After a mere two nights of walking him back to his crib every five minutes for an hour after bedtime, convincing him that everyone in the world was asleep (except for mom and dad, who were obviously awake and doing dishes or drinking wine on the couch), including the goats and Grandpa Joe (“Goats go nigh-nigh? Gampa Joe go nigh-nigh?”), we decided that it was past time to move the boys into bunk beds.
So we began a search for solid wood, sturdy, reasonably-priced bunk beds. It was like looking for Sasquatch. Glimpses of beds that met those three criteria were rare, the beds themselves elusive.
There are lots of previously-loved Ikea bunk beds for sale on craigslist – they’re cheap, but flimsy. There are lovely solid wood bunk beds for sale, both new and used, that are not inexpensive. I scoured listings for a few weeks. Literally, every day looking at posts and searching, even going so far as to visit my local furniture store to be sticker shocked. $800 for a bunk bed? No thank you, these are children, they destroy everything in their path. You want to know why we can’t have nice things? Small, smelly humans, that’s why.
Then, a couple of weeks ago, a friend called me about a garage sale on a nearby street that included a set of bunk beds in its wares. I hurried on over after work and the beds were solid, in decent condition, and… sold already. I went home and as I was pulling into my driveway, I noticed that our neighbors down the street were having a yard sale and they, too, were selling… wait for it… a set of bunk beds! I ran over as fast as my cherry-red high heels would allow me and asked the price. $75. Sold. My neighbor’s son and one of the other neighborhood kids moved them over to our yard that evening. And thus began the comedy of errors.
Tony measured the beds, and they were too long for the space (the room has a closet-turned-bed-cubby), so he took them apart and reassembled them a little shorter (moved some decorative pieces to the inside, essentially).
They’re pine beds and a little beat up, so I offered to paint them. Charles chose green paint, so I sent the boys to the hardware store to pick up some spray paint. Now, every seasoned spray-painter knows that you must use a spray primer before your color. But despite my request for several cans of primer, Tony noted that the green spray paint can claimed that no primer was needed. Spray + Primer In One! Liars. I sent the boys back for more primer.
Then it took me forever to spray paint two coats of kelly green on every surface. Tony added boards under the beds, we bought another mattress, and last night we attempted to move the beds up to the boys’ room (previously Charles’s room). But the beds didn’t fit in the hall.
It sort of reminded me of that scene in Austin Powers where he gets the golf cart stuck in an underground tunnel:
There was a point at which we had one of the beds half in our room and half in the hall and we couldn’t figure out how to get it out again. It’s those moments of breathtaking idiocy that cause you to reevaluate your life choices. “What were we thinking? Bunk beds? How did we get into this mess? Since I’m stuck in the bedroom and you have access to the kitchen, could you get me a bottle of wine and a snack?”
We eventually, with much sweating, swearing, and bribing of the children to stay out of the way, got the beds into the room, only to find out that in measuring the space, we forgot to take into account the quarter-inch of baseboard around the whole bed-cubby. To say it was a tight fit is putting it lightly:
That set of beds is never coming out of there. After wedging the bottom bunk in, we had to hoist the top bunk over our heads and walk it into the tight space (this is, of course, after they were reassembled). Then we further wedged the mattresses in and asked the boys to brush their teeth so they could spend a first night in their new beds. I’ve never seen them get ready for bed so quickly and happily.
They love their new beds, and thank God, because they’re keeping them.
Jamie got out of bed a few times. When Tony put him back to bed in his old crib, he screamed, “I want bunk bed!” I relented after about three minutes (just to let the pain of being relegated to the old crib sink in) and walked him back to his bunk bed. He looked at me and said, “no! Top bunk bed!” and I looked at him and said, “crib?” He crawled right into that bottom bunk and went to sleep without another peep.