Personal Statement

Personal Statement

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Second IKEA Story

I just realized that the "first IKEA story" (the one that was circulated by e-mail and inspired many "you really ought to have a blog" comments, which led to the creation of this site) has not been memorialized here - I will try to track it down and post it, because it really was terribly amusing. Well, not to us, certainly not then - but, with the passage of time, even we started to see the humor in it. For purposes of this posting, though, you only need to know the short version - after driving a gazillion miles out of our comfort zone to spend the better part of the day in the rat's maze that is the Frisco IKEA, we returned home with a room's worth of furniture for Son #1 . . . and spent the next week in IKEA/room remodel hell. Paint was spilled; hours were spent on the phone with Swedish tech support attempting to describe exactly which of the many nameless rectangular pieces of wood depicted in pen and ink on page X was the one that was warped straight out of the package; my usually sweet husband brought a store manager to tears; hardware disappeared into thin air; and on and on and on . . . .

Thereafter, Parnell remained resolute that it would be a frigid day in Hades before we would have another IKEA "experience" - that is, until this weekend. I've now decided that trips to IKEA are not unlike childbirth or having moles removed. You leave swearing, "No way I'm going through THAT again." But then a certain amount of time passes, and most of the unpleasantness is forgotten. And so it was that we all piled into the ranch truck, this time in search of new bedroom furniture for Son #2. We had high hopes that maybe, just maybe, this trip would be different. But NOOOOOOOO - the McGlinchey IKEA curse continues. Again, I'll stick to the highlights:

1. Departure was delayed due to (a) unscheduled Sunday morning trip to Care Now (office visit $162.00) to attend to Connor's suddenly very infected ear and (b) subsequent trip to pharmacy at Montgomery Plaza Super Target (ear drops $100.62; are they made of gold or something?).

2. Loft bed did not show up anywhere in store directory, notwithstanding fact that IKEA USA Web site (consulted en route to Frisco - mad props to the Google Android phone) showed 45 units in stock.

3. Found bed, bookcase and other oversized items and decided to purchase them first, then spend leisurely (HA!) hour perusing showroom and marketplace while children enjoyed Smaland experience. Spent a good fifteen minutes familiarizing selves with "self-checkout" technology.

4. Got halfway through marketplace and realized had put Blackberry down SOMEWHERE. Had become separated from husband, (obviously) could not call him, so had to swim upstream through marketplace to enlist his help in Great Blackberry Search. Pushed way through marketplace and back to warehouse (lap around IKEA #1). Found Blackberry (break in the cloud cover #1), which had been set down during first attempt to make heads or tails of umpteen thousand mattress options. Burned remaining portion of Smaland hour and had to retrieve children, who were cranky for being expelled from playland paradise.

5. Started shaking from hunger and made detour to cafe, where spouse and oldest child insisted on various menu substitutions that DID NOT COMPUTE in context of European-style cafeteria, confusing and irritating tray line workers and embarrassing yours truly. Despaired at fact that oldest child appears to have learned from the menu substitution master (his father).

6. Younger child insisted on trading PBJ sandwich for Mom's Swedish meatballs with lingonberries, confirming that older child's refusal to eat anything but macaroni and cheese really is a nature, not nurture, thing, and may not be as horrible a mother as suspect may be (break in the cloud cover #2). However, given state of exhaustion and hunger (coupled with fact that I REALLY wanted to eat my meatballs and lingonberries), found myself somewhat embarrassingly tearing up in IKEA cafe at fact that younger child is "adventurous eater." (Admittedly, the bar was set pretty low by the older child - I mean, it's not like Swedish meatballs are on a level with blowfish, but meatballs are a HUGE culinary detour given the precedent set by Son #1.)

7. Spent fifteen minutes reassuring distressed older child that his bunk beds only looked that small on the showroom floor, were MUCH larger and more imposing in real life, and did not need to be immediately replaced for being "too dinky." Finally told him that bunk beds on showroom floor were Bunk Beds 2.0 and NOT same model that exists in bedroom at home.

8. Fought hordes of lookyloos in showroom and marketplace, becoming separated from rest of family (who, let's admit it, fit the IKEA lookyloo description pretty well - easily distracted by bright, shiny objects) roughly EIGHT TRILLION TIMES.

9. Finally figured out what mattress to buy . . . and had to work way out of warehouse and back through showroom to retrieve corresponding, model-specific flat sheet.

10. Had to work way back through marketplace to rejoin family in warehouse (lap around IKEA #33).

11. Back through the self-checkout . . . .

12. EVERYONE had to use the facilities - staggered in five minute shifts.

13. Stood in line to buy lingonberry soda for ride home (having been deprived of lingonberry fix earlier in day). Discovered dispenser was out of ice and lingonberry soda was flat. Got back in line for refund. Cheerful IKEA employee responded, "Oh, yeah - the machine over THERE has ice and un-flat soda." Thanks - information that would have been helpful TEN MINUTES AGO.

14. More trips to the facilities.

15. Pushed three carts to the loading dock, spouse went to retrieve truck - and had to circle parking lot in holding pattern, because rude family backed into loading dock space that CLEARLY had been reserved by us standing there with our three carts. (IKEA rules, people! Learn them, follow them.)

16. White-knuckled the ride home, because spouse had rather precariously wedged (very lightweight) rolled mattress pillowtop under large carton, and - from my perspective riding on the passenger side - pillowtop looked poised to take flight at any second. Head filled with visions of spouse playing Frogger on 121 attempting to retrieve errant pillowtop and getting struck and killed in process (or, worse, having to return to IKEA for new pillowtop).

17. Spent three hours comparing loft bed pieces with various combinations of screw holes to wordless, line-drawn instruction manual. (Fellow IKEA shoppers, forewarned is fair-warned: the deceptively simple-looking Kura loft bed is anything. Each of the 12,647 support pieces has a different pattern of screw holes on each of its four sides. Thus, there are 2,678,943 - I'm using round numbers, of course - possible assembly combinations, and 2,678,942 of them are wrong.)

18. Spent another hour trying to figure out why last piece would not fit. (See parenthetical in 17 above.) Watched spouse literally try to force square peg in round hole.

19. Had to break news to spouse that bed pieces were never going to fit together because he had oriented one side of bed the wrong way. By this time, spouse had already taken apart footboard (for diagnostic purposes). Had to break news that nothing was wrong with footboard as originally constructed.

20. While attempting to break land-speed record to reconstruct unnecessarily deconstructed footboard, spouse lost grip on (very massive, very heavy) side piece to loft bed, which landed on top of my cranium, HARD, resulting in goose egg, possible concussion.

21. After finishing bed and preparing to move it into desired location (against wall, with existing Expedit bookcase turned on side underneath), occupant of room requested that it remain, essentially, in DEAD CENTER OF ROOM so that entire area under loft would be available as fort playspace. Had to redesign floor plan of room on the fly.

Was it worth the hassle? Ask the four year-old, who is over the moon for his tented loft/play fort combination:

Existing Expedit bookcase, with cubbies for toys, runs alongside the back of the fort, but not directly underneath it, for maximum play space. We attached a "home" for small stuffed animals and tap lights to the underside of the bed with adhesive Velcro . . . . These are photos of the fort space under the bed:

Mom likes having additional storage space in the room, courtesy of a second Expedit bookcase, and really likes the fact that the headboard (floating roughly in the middle of the room) will block from view any mess that the boys may make in the fort. Kitty Boy Max likes the repositioned train table, which is now under a big picture window, affording maximum Jimmy Stewart-esque "Rear Window" viewing opportunities for felines.

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