As I type this, I am sitting in a cabin in the mountains in the perfect, 65-degree weather of Cloudcroft, New Mexico. Every year the hubs and I take an anniversary trip, usually to an elevated setting to escape the feels-like-an-inferno Texas heat. I look forward to this trip. I dream about it. I plan for the hours of doing nothing but sleeping late or lounging in bed, drinking coffee, and looking out the window at the breathtaking view.

So when we arrived yesterday after a 13-hour-drive (we stopped a lot) I was delighted to see our cabin attractively furnished with everything we could need. Mountaintop view, check. Pretty living room, check. Functional, well-equipped kitchen, check. Adorable bathroom, check. Nice, queen-sized bed with an appealing comforter and throw pillows, check. We were set to go.

We puttered around for a while, peeking in cabinet doors and drawers, exclaiming over all the little extras we found. Flavored tea bags! Salt-and-pepper-and condiments! A lighted Christmas tree! We plugged in the tree and went outside to look over the peaceful valley. This trip was going to be perfect.

After a quick dinner, we realized we were exhausted. I put on my striped jammies and fell into bed. And by fell, I mean tumbled into Alice’s rabbit hole. The mattress was maybe two inches thick, on top of loose, squeaky springs. Down, down, down I went until I finally landed in the middle of what felt like the jaws of death. After the springs stopped springing, I just lay there in shock, staring up at the ceiling.

That’s when hubby walked in. He must have mistaken my distress for Nirvana, because he smiled and said, “Comfy?”

“Get in,” I said.

“Oh, is it that good?” he asked.

“Get in,” I repeated.

He grinned, sat on the edge of the mattress, and promptly plummeted into the hole with me. “Oh my gosh,” he said.

“I know,” I said.

“This is terrible.”

“I know.”

That’s when he joined me in my anguish-filled not-Nirvana gaze at the ceiling. We stayed there a while. We weren’t sure how to get out. The owners of this establishment must have wanted to supply a mountain-climbing adventure right inside the cabin.

At some point, we pulled ourselves over the edge and arrived on safe ground. That’s when we just stared at the deep pit of disappointment and tried to figure out where to sleep.

“The couch isn’t bad,” hubby said.

He was right. The couch was one of those big L-shaped sectionals. We grabbed our pillows and settled in, head-to-head. Not exactly the romantic cuddles either of us envisioned for our anniversary trip, but hey. We did what we had to do to survive.

It’s crazy that the owners would go to such lengths to make everything looks cute and functional, only to neglect the most important feature in making sure our stay is pleasant. But I can’t be too upset with them. I’ve done the same thing in my own life, time and again.

I work hard to make sure everything looks good from a surface view. I fix my hair and makeup, and I try to not to embarrass my kids by the way I dress. But too often, a closer inspection shows my spirit—my most important feature—is lacking. I may look cute on the outside, but if I’m grumpy and negative and critical, what does it matter? If I’m not kind and compassionate, if I don’t show love and mercy, all the darling adornments in the mall-iverse won’t make people like me.

We’ve already paid for our cabin. Already unpacked. I suppose we’ll stay for the remainder of our scheduled visit. But this experience has been a good reminder to me that the most comely comforter in the world won’t conceal a crummy mattress.

Renae Brumbaugh Green is a bestselling author and award-winning humor columnist. She lives in Stephenville with her handsome, country-boy husband, nearly-perfect children, and far too many animals. Connect with Renae at