I picked up Katie's bed, turned it on its side, and removed the brace that held the two seriously bent casters. The casters were so badly bent and the screw was made of such cheap metal that the screw head stripped out instead of turning. And it became obvious why the casters had died -- the screws went through a hole in the wood that was nearly the size of a dime. Ick. Basically, there was no support to actually hold the caster in place, so if it slipped, it just kept on slipping and would bend. What a miserable design!
Staring at the mess, I called my good buddy, samwinolj, and asked for suggestions. After we talked it over for a bit, Sam said, "You know, sometimes it's just time to buy a new piece of wood."
And so I took careful measurements, because measurements are good. And I looked at the new caster -- a U-shaped design intended to fit over the existing slat, just like the old one -- and realized that it was much wider in the U than the original caster, so it never would have worked at all. Sheesh!
Then it was off to Home Depot where I grabbed four new casters at daisy_knotwise's suggestion. And that was just as well, because the existing replacement caster was just this much too small to fit over a 2 x 4 stud. I got the stud cut to length for two replacement braces, paid for everything, and headed home for dinner. (Leftovers. Time to clean out the fridge. ;) )
Off to the basement now, to drill holes in my fine new braces. Of course, first I need the correct drill bit. I've never needed a bit that could drill a 3/8 inch wide hole in a piece of wood before. Fortunately, I had bought a bit kit years ago and it had the right bit. One extra trip to Home Depot avoided.
A whole bunch of wood smoke later, I had successfully drilled the four holes and installed the casters into the braces. I took them upstairs where Gretchen suggested that I sit down and rest for a moment. And so I did.
And then the alarm went off. What the?! Surely I hadn't managed to trigger the smoke alarm. Surely that bit was cool enough when I put it away...
Surely it was. Julie had piled a step stool on top of a box in the hallway, climbed up on top, and pressed the police call button on our alarm system. Gretchen ran around and hit the alarm code and canceled the alert. No police showed up, so I'll take that as a success.
A few minutes later (and with way too much help from Katie and Julie), Gretchen and I took the new braces upstairs and installed them to replace the old braces and casters, which I have now consigned to the trash.
And the bed is level now. And rolls smoothly.
It only took five hours to fix it. *sigh*
Piece of cake.