Our bed broke Saturday morning.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, as the case may be), it was during a fairly mundane activity. I was sitting on the side of the bed, putting my shoes on. Sparkle came and sat next to me, and the next thing we knew, we were suddenly much closer to the floor.

After a few moments of cursing on both of our parts (and nobody gets spanked when there’s cursing due to major structural collapses) followed by removing the mattress and box spring (I believe “flinging aside” is the appropriate terminology), we discovered the source of the collapse. And it didn’t take a great deal of forensic engineering.

Our bed is a Mission-style design with a low side rail that connects the headboard and footboard. On the inside of this side rail, there is attached (and I use the term loosely) a smaller rail which is about half the height of the main rail and which only runs about 90% of the length of the main rail. This rail is the one upon which the cross-slats rest, which in turn support the box spring, mattress, sheets and pillows, Sparkle and myself and occasionally a small child. In other words, this is a critical structural element for the bed.

And some genius at a furniture company which shall remain nameless decided that 4 small wood screws were adequate to hold this piece to the main rail.

Upon our excavation into the innards of our bed, we discovered that three of these screws had entirely sheared off and that the rail was only attached at the head end of the bed. Suddenly, the odd creaking noises we’d been hearing for the prior couple of days, which I’d chalked up to a bad box spring, made sense.

Now admittedly, we’ve been known to use our bed for more than just sleeping (shocking, I know) and the baby believes it makes an excellent trampoline. But what mental giant decided that four measly one-eighth inch diameter screws are strong enough to support the box spring and mattress, let alone a burly fireman and his wife?

Since we already had plans for the day (Sparkle working, me taking the baby out so she could work), the bed remained in its less-than-useful condition until that evening. After a trip to the local hardware store, a bit of drilling and some more cursing, the bed is now nicely held together with 15 of the finest, strongest, biggest wood screws…on each side. At the slightest hint of a creak, more of their brethren will be sacrificed for the greater good. We tested the bed that night by sleeping in it, and satisfied with that, tested it with some other activities last night (purely for scientific purposes, of course). The repair appears successful.

I’d still like to meet that furniture designer, however. Preferably in a dark alley.