Tag Archives: Ikea

Yet another birdshit story

Yesterday, I borrowed my mom’s car to take DD to Ikea. Using her car instead of mine or DD’s was necessary for two reasons:

One: My beloved BMW is a fabulous car for many reasons, but trunk space is not one of them. Every one of my previous cars had a hatch, so this car’s trunk is frequently a major pain in my butt. I can’t seem to fit anything into it, except for things like groceries. A box? Dicey at best. Two boxes? Not even close. Ikea stuff? No effing way, so don’t even think about it, however briefly.

Two: DD’s beloved car is a hatchback, and can fit many, many boxes of many, many shapes and sizes inside it. The thing seems to stretch the more you try to put in it. We’ve had an entire loveseat tucked in there – with room to spare! But DD’s car lives in my garage for the moment, as it’s uninsured. DD has no parking spot at her basement apartment, and doesn’t really need a car in her neighbourhood anyway. She doesn’t need it to get to university either, as there’s a direct bus maybe a short block away and she has a student bus pass that’s included with the price of tuition. She doesn’t mind insuring her car for a day or so if necessary, and was, in fact, planning to do that when we planned this Ikea expedition. But then my mom suggested that we take her car and give it a good run on the freeway, since she only drives close to home and maybe only once a week at the most.

So, as I said, I borrowed my mom’s car to take DD to Ikea yesterday.

We were in and out in just short of two hours, which is truly amazing, as both of us love Ikea and could easily spend the day there, sightseeing. But she was on a mission to find a small shelf unit for kitchen storage, a coffee table for her living room, and a bathmat. She was armed with measurements and her debit card. And she found a shelf unit, coffee table, and bathmat that suited her needs very quickly. We found the shelf unit and coffee table boxes in the self-serve furniture section equally quickly. There was, miracle of miracles, no lineup at the self-serve cash, so she scanned the items, paid for them, and we loaded them into the car quickly, too.

Back at DD’s place, we unloaded everything, then I put together the coffee table while she put together the wicker baskets that would be stored in the shelf unit, then she filled them with kitchen stuff like tupperware. I started to assemble the shelf unit, and it didn’t go nearly as well as the coffee table had. Holes weren’t aligning properly, and those dinky little wooden dowels that Ikea insists upon using to hold together shelves and partitions kept snapping off. I got frustrated, so we decided to go out for frozen yogourt, then I could tackle the project again with a full tummy.

As we walked past my mom’s car on the street, I remarked how convenient it was that I’d been able to find a parking spot right in front of DD’s house, and also under a tall leafy tree that was providing shade on such a hot day. Then I saw the giant plop of birdshit on the back window. Uh, maybe parking under that tree wasn’t such a good thing after all? “I’m going to have to wash that off before I return Grandma’s car,” I told DD. “But a bird crapping on a person is supposed to be good luck, so maybe that’s true for a car, too. Maybe I’ll be able to finish that shelf unit with no further problems when we get back?”

That’s not how it turned out, however. We actually had to make another trip out, to a hardware store to purchase more wooden dowels. Every single one of the ones that came with the shelf unit broke! What are they made out of these days, balsa wood?!? But eventually, I got the thing together, we put it where she wanted it, she put the baskets in their places, and it looked great! “Just don’t climb on it,” I warned her, “because I don’t think those shelves will hold too well!”

I went home, washed the birdshit off Mom’s car’s back window, then brought it back to her. I told her all about our day, including the trouble I’d had assembling the shelf unit and also about the birdshit on her window. I assured her that I’d cleaned it off, and anyway, that was supposed to bring good luck.

“Oh good,” she smiled. “I’m thinking of going to the casino tomorrow morning. Maybe I’ll win big!”

Mom phoned me this morning. She’d just come home from the casino. She won a thousand dollars on one pull on a slot machine.

I’m glad that birdshit luck went to somebody in the family!


Ikea love

I don’t especially enjoy shopping. In that respect, I suppose I’m not the stereotypic female. But I just can’t shop with gladness in my heart. If I need something, I research it, go out and find it, then buy it. Then I can go home. Sometimes the finding of particular clothing or household items takes a while, which is frustrating, but generally that is how I shop.

Except for Ikea.

I like going to Ikea. Maybe even love it. Whatever. If someone ever suggests going to Ikea, I jump at the opportunity. Just ask PG. (He’ll tell you about this one Sunday morning when he made just that suggestion and I went from half-awake in bed to completely ready to go waiting at the door in under fifteen minutes. That was legendary.)

I’m not sure why I like/love Ikea so much. Maybe because when a store first opened in the Vancouver area, I was a teenager and just beginning to think about the fact that someday I’d have to move out of my parents’ house and pay for stuff myself. Ikea was the perfect place to dream in those days: cheap, funky, build-it-yourself furniture that was nothing like the heavy, traditional stuff that our parents owned. You could even toss the boxes in the back of your car (or your boyfriend’s pickup truck – yes, I actually dated a guy with a pickup truck once upon a time) and take it home right away. And put it together all by yourself. All you needed was an Allen wrench – oh, those Allen wrenches! I had an impressive collection of them at one time, all different sizes. They made me feel so grown-up, so independent!

Most of my friends and I lived about a fifteen-minute drive from that first Ikea store. We would go on a Sunday afternoon (which in itself was an adventure, as there were very few businesses open in Metro Vancouver on Sundays back in the late seventies-early eighties) and just wander around. The store wasn’t huge, especially compared to Ikea stores nowadays. But we could easily spend two or three hours there, oohing and aahing at each room display, trying out every couch and chair, sitting at every dining table, opening and closing every cupboard door and dresser drawer. Heaven!

Also, I’d been to Europe twice by that time, and the whole European lifestyle vastly appealed to me. Everything was more compact and multiple-usage and much less wasteful. Who needed a kitchen the size of an arena when Ikea could do one along one short wall? Why have a TV room entirely separate from your living room when Ikea could show you how to do it in one small and stylish room? European was automatically better than North American in my adolescent mind. Ikea epitomized that to me.

So Ikea and I have been hanging out together for many years now. Although I have since expanded my home furnishing purchases to include items from other retailers, I still own many items from Ikea. My dining room, for example, which consists of a table, four chairs, and a china cabinet, was bought at Ikea in 1981. People still look at it and admire its simple, classic lines and ask where I got it. When I tell them where – and also WHEN I got it – they are astonished and I feel good about my impeccable taste.

And now it’s DD’s turn. She is now dreaming of her own apartment and how she’ll furnish it. She is now collecting ideas and things for that eventuality. Ideas and things from Ikea. She and I spent a couple of hours there yesterday, wandering through the displays, and discussing colours and styles that we liked and disliked, what would work in our kitchen if (when?) I complete that renovation that I have been slowly working on for several years now. We bought a number of items for DD’s office, items that she can take with her when she moves out.

And joy of joys, I got to use an Allen wrench to put some of them together!

Swedish for “line-up”

images-1I went to Ikea the other day. I know, I know – but I actually enjoy going to Ikea. Every summer I wait for the yearly catalogue with unbridled enthusiasm, and when it arrives, I am transfixed by its offerings. When I get to the store, I am in my glory and can wander joyfully for hours. I may not buy anything, but I get lots of ideas for home decorating projects that I’ll get around to someday.

Well, this was someday. I decided that I absolutely had to purchase a plain navy blue carpet for one of the rooms in my house. I had seen such a carpet the last time I visited Ikea last summer, when I picked up a few items for DD. I didn’t buy it at that time, because I wanted to think about it, to turn it over and over in my mind to make sure that I really wanted it. (I do this. It’s kind of the antithesis of impulse buying. The problem is that sometimes I ruminate for so long that the item I wish to buy is no longer available, but at least I’m usually spared the ordeal of returning something that I bought in haste.)

It was very nice to drive out to the store in the middle of the week, rather than on a weekend. Much less traffic. The parking lot had plenty of available spots. I was able to wander through the store at will, without bumping into fellow wanderers and their strollers/ shopping carts/ oversized shopping bags.

I quickly found the carpet I was looking for, and picked it up. It wasn’t too heavy or bulky, fortunately, so off I trotted towards the checkout.

I passed the candles on the way. I also grabbed a couple of packages of tealights, since I was completely out of those and I do like my candles. I was feeling pretty good about things, particularly about my efficiency and how single-minded I was being. No aimless meandering for me that day, I was on a mission. And my mission was very nearly accomplished. The checkouts were in sight.

Except that only four of the twelve checkouts were open. And each had a line-up snaking waaaaaay back, at least ten people plus their strollers/ shopping carts/ oversized shopping bags. It was going to be a loooooong wait.

My question is this: on a weekday, with the parking lot and the store itself half empty, where the hell did all those people at the checkouts come from???