Sunday, July 12, 2009

By any standards of evaluation, Fritz and I have had and continue to have a relationship blessed by love, harmony and a complete lack of discord. Except for one thing—we have radically different needs when it comes to the mattress we sleep on.

During all the years when we had to commute back and forth to see each other between Raymond, NH and Boston, MA, he was never comfortable on my super-firm double mattress, and I had severe lower back pain when I got up from his very soft queen-sized one.
Once we were finally able to live together full time two years ago (yesterday, by the way) one solution to the problem would have been twin beds with very different mattresses, BUT there was NO way we weren’t going to sleep together as a couple, let alone that we’re both Meyers-Briggs strong Es (extroverts) and very strong Fs (feeling types).

We bought a platform with storage drawers in it when we moved into the new house and put his queen mattress on it which did two things, neither of them successful—it made the mattress too firm for him and still nowhere near firm enough for me. So last week we broke down and decided it was time to hit a Sleep Number store.

I called yesterday morning to confirm their location in Manchester and ask a few questions. A bright-voiced, eager young man named Ken spoke with me and dropped the info that the big sale currently on would end today (Sunday). With Fritz teaching all day, both days we weren’t sure we could make it but we re-arranged dinner plans for last night and got there long before closing time.

The delightful Ken was nowhere to be seen—he’d fallen victim, we were told, to food poisoning (note to self: think twice about eating again in the Mall’s food court)—and there were several customers to be handled by only one sales person and her husband who was doing his level best assist wherever possible.

Now, Ken had told me that we would be spending a lot of time lying on different mattresses, testing the sleep numbers against our comfort needs and seeing how we liked various thicknesses of soft covering on each. It occurred to me that while New Hampshire is becoming more liberal by the day, we’d be two men lying on the mattresses together and I wondered if there would be comment, discomfort or outright disapproval from anyone in the store.

It went fine. The family and another couple who were their friends left not too long after we arrived, which meant we were left with the sales couple and a young customer couple, a Brit guy and his wife/gf who were heavily tattooed, she with a head shaved closer than his, both swathed totally in black with odd bits of chain and studs attached here and there. In other words, no problem—it was Alternative Night at Sleep Number.

In a fairly short time (Fritz and I are pretty low maintenance) we established that my sleep number is 100 and his 35, everything was arranged and paid for and we were on our way. Delivery should be some time this week.


We’ve been happy this summer to see so much wildlife returning to the property now that it’s a year since the construction ended. Fritz drove home one light and saw a red fox on the side of the drive up to the house. We hear wild turkeys in the woods during the day and are hoping that they’ll emerge some day like they did in the past.

We’ve had a big increase in birds--nuthatches, woodpeckers, hummingbirds, wood larks, the usual sparrows, barred owls, flycatchers (who nested and raised a family just outside our kitchen window) and, on Friday, a goldfinch. There are many others we haven't identified from their songs yet.


This astilbe survived transplantation from my house in Boston and replanting next to Fritz’s old house, and then transplanting again up here. It’s doing beautifully, here enjoying the activity of a bee.

This Japanese Maple went into the ground in the middle of last week, the beginning of the planting around the hot tub. It is beautifully visible framed in one of our bedroom windows.


Spain is finally starting to confront the painful years of the Civil War that brought General Francisco Franco to power. It’s being done by opening the mass graves of the thousands and thousands who were executed, attempting to identify the remains and return them to families whenever possible.

Last October, High Court Judge Baltasar Garzon announced that mass exhumations could begin - including the grave where poet
Federico Garcia Lorca is thought to be buried. With this development, the Lorca family dropped its long-held opposition to any attempt to find his remains.

Lorca was taken out to a killing field outside Granada and shot in the company of several other political prisoners on the 19th of August, 1936. There is some controversy about the Nationalists’ motives for murdering him, but Lorca’s homosexuality (Salvador Dali had been one of his most prominent lovers) is believed by many historians, and by many of those who survived the period, to have been at least as important a reason as his anti-fascist politics.

The total ban on Lorca’s works was lifted only in 1953, and then publication was allowed in censored editions with some work still not made available. Discussion of the circumstances of Lorca’s death or his sexuality was not allowed until after Franco’s death in 1975. Since then he has regained his status as Spain’s great 20th century poet/playwright.

Every year in my design class I assigned a Lorca play—either Yerma or Blood Wedding. Lorca’s grasp of Spanish culture spanned the pre-Christian Celt-Iberians to the invasion of traditional village life by the machines and modernization of the 20th century. Both plays begin in the modern world and progress backwards through the depths of the human psyche, ending in ritualistic action in some sort pagan sacred space. I always thought of Lorca as a great gift to a scenic designer.

We bought a sleep number bed a few years back and I've found that 35, the number their computer said was best for me, left me with a sore back. I now keep it around 60 and sleep and feel much better.

I envy you your Barred Owls, ours seems to have moved on although we have seen the screech owl occasionally. Our Rufous hummingbirds are finally thinning out as the males have already departed and the females are heading South. Once the youngsters leave in August we'll be left with only a few Anna's to care for.

Please send turkeys our way...we'd love a few in the yard...and possibly on the Thanksgiving table.
Glad you hear that you guys thought about the sleep number bed for your very different needs.

Your property looks beautiful!
The Husband & I sleeep in a very expensive (thank god for wholesale, The Husband is "trade") California King that seems perfect for us. It is so big that we sleep with 2 canines & the 4 of us can go all nught without running into each other.
Sleep thight!
I first encountered Lorca when I saw a production of Yerma while I was in college. I was totally blown away. I need to revisit his work.
I have heard of Mr. Luca but I have never read his works.
I used to grow astilbes; i miss them so.
I am so pleased you posted on Federico! He was a fascinating awesome figure of the 20th century, a brilliant playwright cut short by all that political shit in Spain at the time. There are movies on his life that I have yet to see, and am wondering if they are any good.
We have an eastern king that we bought back in 1983. It's a platform. The current mattress dates from 1995 and is starting to show its age.

But now, in France, there's no such thing as a king bed, so we're going to have to go with twin mattresses on the platform. Makes me think: mind the gap!

Fortunately, we both like a very firm bed. We'll see what we can fine when the time comes. No sleep numbers in France!
er... find. Stupid typos.
My sister and brother-in-law got a Sleep Number bed and love it. They say it's definitely worth the price. Chris and I like the same firmness so opted for a regular bed.

The astilbe looks very healthy! And the Japanese Maple lovely!
Before I even finished reading the post I was going to suggest a Sleep-Number. Matt and I bought one when we were together for the very same reason.

I prefered something a bit more firm, he prefered something he could sink into.

Unfortunately, Randy didn't like it and my parents now have the bed in their guest room (which we use when we visit the Cape).

And don't feel bad about hopping into bed with Fritz in a mall...Matt and I did the same thing even before same-sex marriage (early 2000's). Actually, it was kind of liberating to think we may shock the masses, but nobody batted an eyelash.
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