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Split Queen

While the lighthouse restoration has been focused primarily on repairing the structure, thoroughly painting inside and out, patching leaks, and installing a modern-day kitchen and bathrooms, the interior design esthetic and how the building would function as a summer home were also very important to me. In a previous blog post, I discussed my choices of furniture, how I envisioned the interior to look, and where I procured the various pieces that now reside there.

What I didn’t anticipate while decorating was that some of the furniture I chose wouldn’t fit up the circular staircase. Frankly, the challenge of getting the furniture, kitchen cabinets, and appliances to the lighthouse via a large boat or a barge with a crane was daunting enough. The thought that something wouldn’t fit up the stairs never occurred to me. But it happened.

Moving large items like furniture to the lighthouse takes planning. Not only does the moving company need to coordinate several stops to pick up things that have been stored at various locations, we can only utilize the boat when the weather is good and the wind is calm. Once all the pick ups have been made, the moving company brings the load to the boat dock on the Grand River, transfers it onto the boat, and several movers jump on to ride the boat to the lighthouse. Once the boat arrives, the movers space themselves up the east staircase and pass things from the boat to the platform. From the platform, they move the items into the first floor of the lighthouse.

Once inside, the first challenge they faced was with an armoire destined for the guest bedroom. They twisted and turned that piece of furniture every which way, but they could not get it up the circular stairs to the 2nd floor. Out of options, the armoire was relegated to a corner of the living room on the first floor and remained there for an entire year.[1]

Likewise, when it came time to move the Queen-size box spring up the stairs, it wouldn’t fit either. The movers tried everything they could to get that box spring to the second floor. They even hoisted it by a rope to an open window and tried to push it through that way. No luck. Finally, one of the movers turned to me and said, “Why didn’t you get a split Queen?” Somewhat confused, I said, “What’s a split Queen?” He said, “It’s like a split King box spring, but just in Queen size. It comes in two smaller pieces.” Indeed, that was the answer.

So before the empty boat pulled away with the tired movers onboard, I made the decision to send the Queen box spring back to the store. The head of the moving crew kindly offered to drop it by the store on his way home. Fortunately, the store accepted the return and then ordered me a split Queen. Because special orders take time, it was a few months until the split Queen arrived at the store. Unable to transport it by boat that late in the season, the two pieces stayed at the store until the following summer. The guest room Queen mattress remained on the floor waiting.

The following year in early June just as the lighthouse was being opened for the season, I decided it was time to get the split Queen box spring to the lighthouse. However, with no plans for a boat transfer, that meant carrying the pieces through the park, across the dunes and finally up on the break wall. While not particularly heavy, they were a bit awkward to carry and certainly a major challenge for one person. Unsure what to do, I made two trips to the store to pick up the two pieces and transport them via my small sedan to Mentor Headlands State Park. I rested both pieces on top of a picnic table and hoped I could figure out how to get them the rest of the way.

I began the walk from the park to the lighthouse with my arms full of lighthouse birthday cake and other supplies. And, as luck would have it, I came across a group of energetic teenage boys celebrating the last day of school. With some quick thinking on my part, I stopped them and asked them what they were doing. Giddy with anticipation of the summer ahead, they said they were just hanging out. I smiled broadly and said, “Hey, how would you like to earn a little cash…while you’re hanging out?” They unanimously said “Sure!”

I then explained to them that I had left two box spring halves back in the park on a picnic table. If they would be so kind as to carry the two halves out to the lighthouse, I would gladly pay them for their effort. With nothing better to do, it seemed like a good offer to them and after another enthusiastic “Sure,” they trotted off down the path to look for what I left behind.

I continued to the lighthouse, scaled the ladder up to the platform, unlocked the door and promptly emptied my arms and backpack of the supplies. As I was putting things away upstairs wondering if I’d ever see my box spring halves again, I peered out the window and looked down the break wall. Bopping across the rocks as nimble as mountain goats, I saw 6 teenagers holding one of the box spring halves aloft. Frankly, the happy-go-lucky and quite proud teens looked precisely like ants with a meal. Despite the agreement, I was so shocked to see the box spring making its way to the lighthouse that I ran down quickly downstairs to greet them and forgot to take a photo of the unusual sight. Completely unfazed, the teens brought the first box spring half upstairs with no problem and dropped it on the bedframe. Then they trotted off to do it all over again. And they did.

Not too much later, the cheery group came down the break wall a second time with the other box spring half hoisted above their heads. A bit flabbergasted that it all worked out, I could not thank them enough. I tipped them with all the cash I had, wished them a fantastic summer vacation, and watch them hike down the break wall to their next adventure. Now, I will always know the meaning of “split Queen.”

[1] The following year, movers came with another delivery and were able to get the armoire upstairs by removing the trap door panels between the first and second floors and pushing it through the trap door.

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