I’ve been feeling motivated lately and trying to get some of the half-started projects around the house checked off our to-do list. The problem is as soon as we finish one, two to three more apparate out of no where. It’s a never ending DIY merry-go-round, which I can’t seem to get off… Is this just what home ownership is in your 30’s? Can an adultier adult chime in and let us all know?
In trying to cross off one of these projects over the weekend, we braved a trip to Ikea. Let me just start out by saying, I have a full on love hate relationship with this retailer.
“I have a full on love hate relationship with Ikea“
An upcoming trip sparks a giddiness that I find difficult to contain. I look forward to it all week, brush up by flipping through the online catalogue, and always feel so full of hope when we hit the road, determined I will find the perfect thing for that spot, you know THAT one. Sadly, reality sets in pretty much as soon as we arrive and that thin veneer of excitement and giddy anticipation peels off before we even make it inside the store. It dies after spending what seems like an hour circling for a parking spot, followed by an extended scavenger hunt to find the entrance.
On our trip this past weekend, we brought the kids along because let’s be honest, I’m not going to waste a babysitting favour on this type of outing and anyways, Ikea has a playland! Dreaming of an hour of child free shopping, we stepped through the magical royal blue and marigold gates and right on queue, had to deal with the first melt down of the trip. Playland is full. The kids won’t be able to put on those little numbered pinnies and play Russian roulette with the germs in the ball pit for an hour. It’s soul crushing stuff.
One time we did manage to get them in when by some miracle it wasn’t full, or being cleaned because some kid barfed in the ball pit, and everyone had actually remembered their socks. On that occasion, we happily signed the multi-page waiver and Jordan and I skipped off ready to get some serious shopping done. Of course, by serious shopping I mean we walked over to the cafe and shared a meatball dinner.
Back on this trip, we rallied the troops by pacifying the kids with a bribe of toys – to be selected once we got to the marketplace. We were now 30 minutes in and finally taking our first steps into the showroom. The purpose of this visit was to buy a tabletop to finish off a desk for our media room. Media room you say? It’s actually Jordan’s re-purposed man room, but since I have been invading it on the regular for Maybe Impossible projects, he graciously renamed it to be more gender inclusive.
He’s just that kind of modern, sensitive guy – SWOON.
After passing the living room, bedroom and kitchen displays, it occurs to me that Ikea may actually just be an adult version of the board game Mousetrap. Think about it, you’re led through the store on a little one way path, teased by beautiful magazine worthy rooms designed to get you all fired up and ready to drop a small fortune. Of course, they create the illusion of free will by providing those little “by-passes” you can cut through, but only if you manage to figure out where you are and can make sense of those crazy complicated hanging from the ceiling. At one point on this trip, Jordan left to find a bathroom, only to show back up 10 minutes later having gone in a complete circle.
Halfway through the store, we arrive at the cafe and are enticed inside by those little Swedish meatballs, random desserts and that yummy berry juice drink I can’t pronounce. We rationalize to ourselves that it’s good timing for a little break, even though we only ate lunch 45 minutes ago and haven’t found anything we need yet. We spend the next half an hour ordering and eating our body weight in those little pieces of processed meat heaven.
The cafe spit us out into the kids section and thank goodness we had taken a break, because the next activity involved dodging random screaming, over sugared children whose parents have given up all hope of leaving the store (see map above), followed by an intense negotiation with our children on which toy would satisfy the bribe we promised them during step one of this trip.
It had now been an hour and a half and we hadn’t even started the serious shopping yet.
Over sized stuffed snake and lion cub in tow, we finally got down to business, retraced our steps back to the home office display and jotted down four different table top options we didn’t hate. We rationalize that we’ll make a final decision somewhere between the marketplace and self-serve. Ha!
Next up is my personal favorite, the Marketplace! On the flip side of that equation, I think it’s Jordan’s version of hell on earth. By the time we get there, he’s always so done with shopping and spends his time either rushing me through, or hiding in a far away corner of the curtain section.
This time around I am undeterred, brushing off his negative attitude and telling him that sparking joy can’t be rushed.
I don’t know about you, but I always leave the marketplace with at least 5-8 things I didn’t know I needed, but now having seen them, absolutely cannot live without. This trip was no exception and I left with a thin spouted watering can, a meat mallet, a fern (because it was only $2.99) and a random glass bowl which I am sure I will find a use for. Just self-serve pick-up left and then on to freedom! We grabbed one of those long flat carts, told the kids to hop-on and skipped out to collect our boxed furniture in the well laid out, not confusing at all, self-serve warehouse.
After spending what seems like hours (but more like 10 minutes), grabbing a bunch of random boxes (we pray are the right pieces to build a table), our last stop is the “as is” section. Have I ever once bought anything from “as is”? Don’t be silly of course not, BUT… it’s the allure of a slightly damaged, something AMAZING that keeps me browsing, much to Jordan and the kids utter despair.
We lined up in self-pay, only to find out we had something that needed a cashier to process and had to line up all over again. We finally managed to pay for our wares and feeling victorious (and delirious), we make an impulse decision and get into another 30 minute line for those “spend another few dollars before you leave” $1 hot dogs. Whoever mapped this place should get a Nobel prize for design ingenuity… They get us every time. Hot dogs in hand, we made our way over to the “Last” last stop (furniture pick-up) to wait for our final box to show up. Jordan by this point was barely holding it together.
After 10 years of marriage, you just get a sixth sense for when your partner is about to lose their mind, so I sent him outside to the car where his next level Tetris skills were crucial to get the car loaded with all the awkward sized boxes we had just acquired. Mostly everything fit in our SUV, with only one child having things sort of piled on them and 4-ish hours later, we drove into the sunset, feeling pretty accomplished and looking forward to an evening of playing the marriage stress test game, consisting of trying to assemble furniture with picture only instructions and little half formed men hand signalling at us.
Passive aggressive anecdotes aside, this trip I actually came away very excited because we managed to pick up some unexpected, but very functional pieces. AND, there are only two things that don’t fit where I want them to and will need to be returned… More likely, they will just sit in my garage until I sell them on a local mom’s bidding group for a quarter of their price. As for the media room make-over, check it out.
We went in for a table top and came out with what we have dubbed the “Murphy Desk”, but I couldn’t be happier with the new podcast set-up. Jordan will no doubt also be very ecstatic that we no longer need to crowd around one microphone on recording night and he can stop with the wild hand signals as he tried to get me to talk into the mic. Win, win.
One project down, infinite projects to go.