Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Journey Of Ten Thousand Miles, Otherwise Known as Shopping At Ikea

Here's what I think about assembling stuff...

It's men's work.

I know women everywhere would have absolute FITS over that statement, but my idea of a power tool is my three speed crock pot. And I like it that way.

Lucky for me, I found myself an Old Buzzard who knows how to put things together.


Yesterday, excitement and impatience got the best of me. This is a huge week at work for my Assembly Man, so I thought I would surprise my guy and bust into those Ikea boxes all by myself.

Lucky for me, I had an able and willing co-worker. He likened Ikea furniture to putting together Legos, and I do see some similarities! I had never purchased any of their furniture before, and it was quite an experience. I was completely shocked at how well made and easy to configure it was for the price.

If you've never been to an Ikea before, it is like the Six Flags of the furniture world. Imagine thousands of square feet of European styled component furniture and dozens of walk-through exhibits that illustrate how you could live out your entire life in 324 square feet of well organized space. It's crazy. You can buy anything from a new bed to a new spoon, and when you're done shopping you can go upstairs and eat Swedish meatballs and $1 cinnamon rolls. We actually go there on date nights sometimes just because it's fun.

What wasn't so much fun was actually buying my furniture there. After several look-and-measure runs, I made Buzz go with me on Sunday to make some decisions and purchases.

Because it wasn't like he needed to stay home and root for his Aggies in the Cotton Bowl.

Anyway, some of the pieces we wanted were out of stock, and as is customary with Ikea trips, we second and third guessed ourselves and came up with seven new ideas while we were there. (I'm using "we" and "ourselves" because I like to think it was a group dynamic, and that Buzzard wasn't just standing there waiting for me to make up my ever changing mind while waiting to get back home to his beloved remote control.) The ending to the story is that I came home with no furniture and spent the rest of the day as sad as an Aggie fan. Yes, Ikea had beaten me like a rented circus monkey.

Wednesday night I headed back in with a tape measure, a son to help lift, and a sure fire plan.

One that failed me a mere ten minutes in the door. Here's the thing about Ikea. They're always going to be out of stock on something. You have to just be flexible, or prepare to buy what they have on that day and go back several times to get every single item your heart desires. This is the point in which I want, with every fiber of my being, to enumerate for you my journey of switching from birch table tops to black ones, from white shelves with drawers to black shelves with no drawers, and the unfortunate shelving bracket compromise of 2011.

But I won't. I took such an emotional beating that night I just don't think I have the strength to relive it all. But I will tell you that in a moment of desperation, otherwise known as ten minutes past closing time when my cart was already loaded with Many Heavy Furniture Selections, I actually bought the last two black table legs in existence and supplemented them with four silver ones. I still can't believe it. I do plan to put a skirt around the table so no one but me will ever know my legs don't match.

But it is enough that I know. I know and I will not forget.

Mismatched table legs is the price you pay for preserving whatever shred of mental stability you have left after two weeks of shopping for Swedish furniture components. Self Serve Aisle 8 brought me to my knees I tell you, and I was forced to make peace with getting on with life and closing this chapter of Ikea and all of their eight million choices.

Which brings me to yesterday. (Were you wondering if we'd ever get there??) My willing assistant and I set our sights on a five drawer file cabinet that held promise of somehow springing to life out of 914 separate parts and pieces. My assistant, the one who eventually abandoned me in favor of a bowl of goldfish crackers and a rerun of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, even fetched this bad boy from the garage and taught me how to use it.

This is the point where I proudly tell you I assembled an entire table, power tool in hand, without a single phone call to my father in law for advice, instruction, or moral support. I even adjusted my torque. I have no living idea what in the world that means, but I found the button on the drill and figured, since it was an option, that I should take advantage of adjusting my torque.

Medium torque works just right on mismatched table legs.

I made it three fourths of the way to the finish line before my Buzzard came home, beaming with pride over my lofty accomplishments. (Beaming on the inside. I was almost sure of it.) I had the last piece laying in place unopened, because, (this is where you brace yourself for a huge surprise), I almost changed my mind about that last piece. Should I stay with the table that was deeper and shorter or "race" back to Ikea for the one that was more shallow and longer? (And most probably out of stock, requiring an eleven millionth change of plans.) I somehow over estimated Buzzards willingness to remotely consider an eleven millionth change of plans, so short and deep it stayed.

The moral of this (epic) story is that I have a new space in my house. One that is almost finished. One that I am very excited to tell you about. One that required a teensy bit of thought and planning. :-)

Mom came over last night to help ease a few of my Ikea fears and administer a little PPR.

(Post Purchase Reassurance.)

I fed her crock pot cream cheese chicken. Delightfully delicious. If you have made it through this entire post you are no doubt in need of some substantial nourishment. Go make you some crock pot chicken and eat it up with rice. More fun than a Swedish meatball.

Crock Pot Cream Cheese Chicken

3 lbs. chicken pieces, cut to bite sized
3 T melted butter
1 packet dry Italian Salad Dressing mix

Put chicken pieces in crock pot, sprinkle with dressing mix, and drizzle with melted butter. Cook on low four to six hours.

2 T butter
1/2 finely chopped onion
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup chicken broth
8 ounce block cream cheese

Cook onion and garlic in butter. Add soup, broth, and cream cheese and cook until smooth. Pour over chicken in crock pot and cook an additional hour.

(Note: I only used a portion of the Italian dressing packet, because I don't like food too salty. I found that about 1/3 of the packet was plenty.)


Erin said...

You've been busy! I'm excited to see what you've created.

Anonymous said...

It's 5:24 am and I'm sitting in my work car waiting for 6am to get here so I can go home. I decide that I will check out MM to make the time fly by since I haven't been on in a week and need to catch up! I have laughed so hard that Officers driving in to return their equipment are looking at me. If only I could explain this post to them, but they would need to know you to fully enjoy just how wonderful it is.

Jules said...

I just love your blog! Thank you for visiting my blog.

Great writing about your IKEA experiences! We are a good 2+ hours away from IKEA so it is an event if I ever get there. But I can't just run there to browse & another trip to shop, etc. I've only bought little things there (love the kitchen knives!) but also wonder who would put the stuff together! :)