We've moved from Baltimore, Maryland USA to Venice, Italy in pursuit of living our dream!


Monday, April 27, 2009

Living the dream- The sleep number bed fiasco

One of the things we've had to adjust to living in Europe is the difference in electricity. Having traveled here many times before, we thought we were ready for this. In previous years we've vacationed here, so we were used to bringing converters for our laptops and other electrical appliances that traveled with us.

When we packed our suitcases for the move over to Venice, we made sure we had the converters with us. Upon arrival, we soon discovered we needed more of them. We looked around locally for converters similar to the ones we had, but found none. We ended up ordering them online from the same company we used before. Unfortunately, they don't ship to Europe, so our solution was to have a friend receive them for us, then ship them over. That worked- until we sent the big household goods shipment over from Baltimore to Venice.

When we sold our belongings, we sold most of the electrical stuff as well, knowing that they just wouldn't work over here. I wasn't happy giving up my Kitchen Aid mixer, or leaving behind several of my favorite lamps, but it just wasn't feasible. We did, however, decide to bring over a few things which would require the use of electric converters. We thought we were covered, we had enough of those.

Then the household goods arrived. After the movers left, Mike and I tackled the job of putting our sleep number bed together. This monster had made it's way safely over on the boat, and we were so excited to have it with us again. We had it all constructed (no small feat as it's like a jigsaw puzzle with many pieces to fit together properly). We plugged the airpump into the electric converter, then plugged that into the wall outlet. POP. That was not a good sound. Yup, we had fried the pump motor. Upon further examination it turns out that the converter box we had used already had a problem, but we had forgotten to throw the dead thing away. Well, wouldn't you know that's what we would do!!! With this motor defunct, there was no way the sleep number bed could be blown up- it requires air in it's chambers.

The bed day was a very funny day. We had made arrangements with our landlord to remove the bed in our bedroom for us, to make room for the sleep number bed arrival. That morning, Mike and I took the existing bed apart, with plans to take it downstairs for the landlord later in the day, after we constructed our bed. So, with the sleep number bed non functional, the only option we had for sleeping that nite was to deconstruct the sleep number bed, and reconstruct the landlord's bed. Once again, we packed all the parts of the sleep number bed up into boxes, and set the other bed back up. I almost hated to inform the landlord that we did not get the bed downstairs for him, as he was so intent on that all being done according to his specific instructions. So here we have our sleep number bed, completely non-functional.

We decided we'd just order a new airpump, and construct the bed when it arrived. No problem. Well, slight problems. Where to store the sleep number bed while we wait for a new pump to arrive was now an issue. There are few enough places to store anything here as it is, and we'd just shipped over boxes of stuff that were going to take up the few spots to stow things we did have. Hmmm. We ended up putting the box spring part up on it's side against a wall in one of the spare bedrooms, and the boxes of other parts got jammed in a closet. This couldn't work as permanent storage, but since we figured we only had to wait until the new pump arrived, we could tolerate this arrangement.

The airpump has been ordered. Wouldn't you know it the company will not ship to Europe. So, again, we have our backup system of shipping to Mike's secretary in the US,and she will send it on to us here. That little electrical disaster was a pricey one- the new airpump costs about $ 500, not counting shipping or VAT.

In the meantime, Mike navigated the Italian internet websites (we're starting to get pretty good at this), and found some more powerful converters. Those were ordered, received, and tested. We're now awaiting the arrival of the replacement pump.

Oh, I don't want to end this blog without this one last little detail. A few days after the bed fiasco, Mike wanted to watch one of our US movies on DVD. I had sent over our DVD player in one of the boxes in our shipment, along with our favorite DVDs. Yup, he fried the DVD player too. Upon further inspection of the insides of the DVD player, he determined he had blown a fuse, but it looks almost impossible to replace without a soldering iron. That's way too complex here, we'll pass on that home repair. Now we'll be on the lookout for a DVD player that has multi-region capabilities.

Maybe Electric Fiascos would have been a better title for this blog. Oh well, you get the idea.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

we are moving to the Netherlands in the fall and want to take our Sleep Number bed--can you tell me what converter you bought and if it works? I am also sad about leaving my Kitchen Aid and Cuisinart behind. I suppose the trade off (living in Europe) will be worth it :)

Dianne said...

Well the only good news in that whole bed/dvd fiasco is that multisystem players do exist although you might also have to buy it off the internet (but check your local electronics store first).  Because of some kind of thing sort of like publishing rights, movie producers do not want Europeans to be able to play American movies and vice versa until said movies are released in each country (as this cuts down on revenue in the movie theatres).  I had to go on-line to get my multi system player (called a multi region player) in order to play the Italian movies I had bought in Italy in the US.  Good luck.Dianne

Alejandra said...

What about the Sleep Number Bed? I´m in the same predicament and would love to know if you were able to solve the problem.

karen said...

Alejandra--

Yes, the sleep number bed problem got solved. We had a new airpump shipped over from the US, and purchased a more powerful converter from a company online. Everything works, and boy are we happy to have our bed again!

Alejandra said...

would you mind giving me the name of the company that sold you the powerful converter? say their website and the type of converter you got? any info would be really appreciated!

karen said...

Alejandra-

It's from a company called MINWA, the converter model number is MW300. Mike found it on the Italian Ebay site.
Hope this helps!

Beach Homeowner out of state said...

So happy to find this blog....taking two Sleep Number beds to France in June.....will order converters....
Thanks so very much.

K

karen said...

Have a safe move to France- enjoy the beds!!!!

Beach Homeowner out of state said...

Thank you!

Henry said...

Hi,

I know it's been AGES since this blog was active but I'm hoping you still check it!!!

I'm moving to the UK and taking my sleep number bed. I checked out the converter you mentioned - I just wanted to check if it was still working? Have you had any problems with it?

Thank you :)

Julie said...

Thrilled to find this post. We're considering a move to Germany and the ONLY thing my husband cares about taking is our Sleep Number bed. We just weren't sure how the motor would do with a converter. Thanks for all the info!

karen said...

Julie- It's been 5 years and our sleep number bed is still doing well, and we're still glad we went through the effort to ship it over. I know the feeling, it was one of the very few things we just didn't want to part with. Enjoy yours in Germany!

Anonymous said...

Karen, getting ready to set our Sleep Number up in Germany! I googled and your blog came up. Can you confirm the size of the transformer you are using? Thanks!

karen said...

Hi'
we have a 300 watt transformer. Mike says, whatever you do, don't skimp on the transformer. The first one we had wasn't powerful enough and we blew the motor. Had to have a new one shipped over from the US- and thay was an expensive mistake ! You need to buy a step down transformer.

Have fun and good luck with your move.

karen said...

Hi'
we have a 300 watt transformer. Mike says, whatever you do, don't skimp on the transformer. The first one we had wasn't powerful enough and we blew the motor. Had to have a new one shipped over from the US- and thay was an expensive mistake ! You need to buy a step down transformer.

Have fun and good luck with your move.

Ken Wallace said...

We moved to France from the US and brought many of our kitchen appliances (espresso machine, Kitchen Aid, blender, etc. and they work fine using a 500-2000w transformers (Rockstone Power brand purchased on Amazon). They operate with a slightly noticeable hum, so you wouldn't want to have one on all night, but we turn them on only when using the appliances so it is fine. DVD players are regional, so we purchased a $30 DVD computer drive player for France that plugs into our computer, and we use the HDMI connection to display on our television.

karen said...

Thanks, Ken! We chose not to move all those kitchen goodies, just purchased new ones over here with Italian plugs on them so they don't need the transformers. We did recently buy a new vacuum cleaner from Amazon.uk, and it has a Brit plug, so we do have a converter on it. However, your advise is great for those who decide to move more of their belongings with them when they transfer to Europe! Grazie and thanks for reading!

Natascha Aguillard said...

Hi, we've just done the same and have a 300 watt converter BUT it is taking forever!! Is this normal? It's been going for 20 mins and still don't have 1 side inflated past "5"!

Natascha Aguillard said...

We ar doing the same with a 300watt but it's taking forever to do the initial nflate - it's been 20 minutes and one side still isn't inflated! Is this was you experienced?

karen said...

Natascha-yes, ours took some time too.

karen said...

Natascha-yes, ours took some time too.

jkw said...

This was all very helpful!
My husband and I have a place in Turkey, and we already shipped our Sleep Number over and still have to set it up. Based on the comments above, we are bringing a 2000w, a 1000wand a couple smaller converter with us. We will also call Sleep Number and see if they have an EU pump to use.
Thanks!