Recently, I participated in a 21-day bed making challenge that was inspired by a speech US Navy Seal, Admiral William H. McRaven, gave. In his speech, he talks about the importance of making your bed every day. (If you haven’t seen it, you should definitely check it out. It’s a great perspective! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgzLzbd-zT4) I was happy to be a part of this challenge. I have always made my bed every morning. It was a habit instilled in me by my Mama when I was just a tiny girl…well not tiny. Coming from a family of tall people and being the shortest at 5’8”, the word ‘tiny’ has never been used to describe me. Anywho, her belief was the same as the Admiral’s. Making your bed in the morning can set you up for success.
I bet you think I’m going to be all inspiring and stuff, huh? Nah…I mean, I could, but I thought you might enjoy another perspective, perhaps a glimpse into the process that is bed-making (and having a bed in general) when living in an RV!
When someone imagines what it’s like in an RV, I’m sure they’re picturing themselves lying in an incredibly comfortable bed, falling asleep to the sounds of the beautiful location they are parked in. The bed they’re visualizing is amazing – the perfect amount of firm and soft – with just the right number of fabulous pillows, high thread-count sheets, and the softest comforter! And ya know, such a beautiful scene is totally possible. If you don’t keep the stock mattress that the manufacturers so generously include, that is.
I don’t think you can really call what you get a mattress. It’s maybe two inches of foam-like material covered in fabric that is merely a half-step above the stuff you find attached to the underside of a household box springs. Ah yes. Speaking of box springs… Those are not included with an RV bed. Instead, you have a platform that is hinged so that you can store stuff under the bed. (With space being at a premium and all…) So, sleeping on one of those so-called mattresses reminds me of sleeping on one of those bunky board things that were the ‘mattresses’ of choice for bunk beds when I was a kid. “Ouch! I must have slept wrong.” is guaranteed on the nightly with this set-up.
I attempted to remedy the discomfort of this whole situation with a very thick cooling memory foam topper. That was an adventure. Did you know that RV bed sizes are different than the bed sizes for the ones you have in your home? I didn’t. I do now. But, of course, not until I had purchased a mattress topper from Costco, unboxed it, discovered it was too big, attempted to re-box it, got a bonus cardio workout in the process, failed at said re-boxing, said ‘f@*%k this’, threw the topper and the abandoned box into the back seat of the pickup and returned it. The lady at Costco thought she was funny when she jokingly said, ‘Oh, I’m sorry. We can’t accept those unless they’re put back in the box.’ I’m pretty sure she figured out that she was, indeed, not funny because I was not able to school my face to have any sort of polite reaction. After consulting Google, I realized the error of my ways and ordered the right size foam topper only to discover that no level of comfort would not be gained without replacing this monstrosity…er…mattress!
Following an extensive search of Google, YouTube, and several Full-Time RV Facebook groups, I decided I was going to treat myself to a Sleep Number bed. Lucky me! They were even on sale! I should note that I am using the term ‘sale’ loosely. There was a discount from the regular price, but even at the sale price, I had to literally talk myself into purchasing this thing! I reminded myself that this was an investment in my health because a good night’s sleep is important. I also said to myself, ‘self – you will have this bed for a lot of years and when you divide that out by the number of nights you will sleep on it, the cost is minimal compared to the return.’ Yeah, I’m a nerd like that, convincing myself that a bed purchase has good ROI. So what?!
I was so excited about the new mattress! I was gonna to have the bestest sleep ever! I watched the parcel tracking like a kid waiting for presents during the holiday season. Then, one day, after weeks of waiting, it arrived! My excitement was quickly dashed by the realization that my mattress…singular…came in multiple boxes. I, one of the most adorkable yet mechanically uninclined people I know, would have to assemble it all by myself.
After three frantic calls to the Sleep Number store (1. Are you sure this thing is really the right size? The labels on the multitude of boxes are labeled with different sizes. 2. Aren’t the air thingies supposed to be on the sides for RVs? 3. Where are the holes for the air tubes? Doh! Wait. Found ’em. Nevermind!), several messages to someone waaay more mechanically inclined than I, one panicked video chat to said mechanically superior person and 975 expletives later, I finally assembled my Sleep Number mattress. Now, it was time to go make the damn thing.
Folks in the Full-Time RV groups joke that bed making in an RV should be an Olympic sport. I think they’re right. Bedrooms in RVs are pretty small. There is usually just enough room for the bed with maybe six inches of room on either side and maybe a foot, if you’re lucky, at the end of the bed. This is not conducive to easy bed making experiences. Making the bed should be listed, at a minimum, on one of those fitness tracking watches or apps.
The first step is to get the fitted sheet on the mattress. This consists of doing what I call the ‘excuse me, pardon me’ move to wedge yourself between the wall and one side of the bed as you shimmy to the head of the bed. (Picture yourself in a movie theater navigating your way from your seat to the aisle in front of all the people sitting in the row and you’ll know exactly what move I’m describing.) Then, you put one fitted sheet pocket over the top corner of the mattress, shimmy back to the foot of the bed and around to the other side, where you will attempt to put the other pocket on the opposite corner of the bed. If you’re lucky, it will work on the first try. More than likely, though, the other side will pop right off as you secure that second corner, thereby starting the whole process over again. The exertion and frustration sounds that go along with this process are comical…not in the moment, mind you…but eventually.
The second step is to place the flat sheet on the bed. Normally, one would hang on to the end of the sheet and throw it up, allowing the sheet to billow from the air captured under it and land on the bed in almost the right place. With a minor adjustment, the sheet is properly positioned. In an RV, not so much. The ceilings are considerably lower, so any attempts at this throw and billow technique only yield sore knuckles from hitting them on the ceiling multiple times and a messy top sheet. Extensive adjusting is then required using the ‘excuse me, pardon me’ move I previously mentioned as well as a lot of tugging and pulling. All delightfully embellished by a cacophony of exertion and frustration noises.
And guess what? You must repeat this whole process again because there is still the comforter glaring at you, nay, mocking you, as if alive and saying, ‘Go ahead, try me. This’ll be fun.’ The third and final step is putting the pillows on the bed. By now, I’m way past the ‘I’m so over this’ point and employ the tried and true ‘to Hell with it’ method of pillow placement. When using this method, the pillows are violently thrown in the general direction of the head of the bed and left at whatever odd angle in which they land. This is usually accompanied by grumbling something along the lines of, ‘eh, that’ll work.’
So, there you have it folks! Having a bed, something many take for granted, is quite the adventure when living in an RV. I still wouldn’t trade this life in for a sticks and bricks though. I’ll just go take a nap instead…on the couch.