These days I’m finding it unusually hard to get out of bed. It’s not the time change, hateful and inhumane though it is. And it’s not that I spend each sleeping minute lumped upon by three dead-weight felines, whose combined corpulence equals thirty-six pounds of purring, furry, gelatinous cat. No. It’s the fact that our new mattress pad begins each night with about as much give as a slab of concrete, but by morning it has the structural integrity of warm marshmallow.

Here’s a tip: Do not buy a mattress that tries, night after night, to eat you.

Once upon a time, investing in a Memory Foam mattress topper seemed like a sensible plan. Long before we met, my husband — who had taken to sleeping on the floor of his college dorm room — finally broke down and purchased a bed. Since habit dictated that even carpeting was too soft for sleep, he asked for the firmest mattress they had. Unfortunately, they delivered. He was thrilled. Plywood would have been softer, and asphalt more forgiving. Life was perfect.

As it turned out, when I married my husband his bed came with him. While I immediately abhorred the thing, hubs’s turnaround came more slowly. Recently, after years of tingling fingers, aching shoulders, and dead arms, I made an executive decision: It was time for a new mattress.

Here’s another tip: Executive decisions should only be made after a full night of sleep.

To our surprise, mattresses, while they seem simple, cost as much as both our cars put together, but without the handy test drive to make sure everything feels okay. Time for a new plan. And so, several weeks later, a thick, gray, queen-sized expanse of foam came into our lives. Filled with enthusiasm, we tore open the box, poured it out, and ripped off the plastic bag in which it came. Then we stood back as it slowly unfurled itself, like a prehistoric beast stretching after a long winter’s sleep. We watched it rapturously. Soon life would be perfect, our dreams delightful and uninterrupted, our nights unmarred by discomfort.

The cats were more skeptical, sniffing the air around it with great distrust, jumping away when we nudged it, and daring one another to cross its dimpled expanse. Dropping them in the center sparked duck-and-cover maneuvering as they tried to escape this brand new enemy.

Final tip: Sometimes cats have a good point.

Bubbling with anticipation, we ignored their fears. Instead, we tossed it into place on top of the old mattress, fitted the sheets over it, and waited for night to fall. To our horror ((mine more than my husband’s)), though, when bedtime hit we quickly discovered that our revolutionary new Memory Foam mattress topper morphs into a four-inch-thick brick in the cold evening air. We didn’t so much crawl into bed as on top of it. The pad hesitated ((which led my husband to quip, “Foam has slow memory. Needs more RAM” in a stilted, computer-esque voice.)) and then, with an almost audible sigh, it slowly began to give under our weight and warmth. Fighting back giggles, we watched each other sink until our bodies had formed deep, steep-sided troughs from which we then fought to free ourselves each time we rolled over, reached for our bedside glasses of water, or flailed for the snooze button. In the morning we excavated ourselves with effort, as the sleep-softened foam beneath us sucked at our tired bodies and the untouched, cold foam beside and between us formed impossible, unyielding walls. Once we had escaped, a glance back at the bed showed the outlines of our sleeping positions, as crisply formed as chalk lines around a murder victim.

It has been thus for weeks now. While we are gradually growing accustomed to this new arrangement and the mild spring days make for softer nights, well, it’s still no wonder I was late to work today: My mattress tried to have me for breakfast.