I was going to go to bed without blogging. But you know how I live to make you happy. How could I leave you hanging, when I’ve been teasing you for the past three days? Anyway, here’s the tale of the last day of our trip to Chicago (who knew the telling would take longer than the actual trip):
We diligently set the hotel room clock ahead one hour before we went to bed, eagerly anticipating the extra sleep. Ideally, we wanted to be out of the hotel by 9 so we could be at IKEA and ready for the doors to open at 10.
Unfortunately, what with all the beer-drinking and other drink-drinking the night before (I think I even smoked a cigarette or two?), I woke up promptly at five minutes before six. Normally when this happens the morning after a drinking binge, it’s bad, bad news. But I would not classify Saturday night as a “binge.”Â Mainly because I only had one vodka drink. I usually only reap the consequences of a multitude of delicious cranberry-juice and vodka or vodka tonic drinks. It doesn’t matter how great the vodka is. Alas.
Anyway, I definitely felt poorly. There was about an hour there where I was not sure at all how I felt. Nauseous? Check. Tired? Oh, yeah. Sandpaper for eyeballs? You know it. But the worst part was that I was missing Auggie terribly. Once I got past that hour, though, I was able to go back
to sleep for another hour.
I felt much better after that.
So we finally got ourselves moving and checked out at about 9:20. Uh-oh. Already behind schedule.
Once we got out on the road, we hit another snag. We didn’t exactly know where IKEA was. You see, every person we asked gave us different directions. So we ended up using an amalgam of the directions and ended up in the middle of nowhere. I got Tim to pull over at a gas station (it was even his idea), and we got back on track. Fortunately, we were only 10 miles away.
Once IKEA came into view, we were both gaping like a couple of goldfish. I mean, our friends told us the place was huge, but you just can’t imagine the size of it! I don’t know if I’ve ever been in a building as large. I guess stadiums, maybe.
I was so excited to be there that I’m truly embarrassed to admit it. I annoyed the heck out of Tim, I know, shouting directions about where to park and come on let’s go. We got our provisions together (binder with photos of every wall in the house complete with relevant [and irrelevant] measurements, tape measure, shopping list [which was not referred to once, as I recall] and money). Off we went, like lambs to the slaughter.
Just finding a dang shopping cart was an ordeal, my friends. And for those of you who have never been to IKEA, here’s a brief rundown of how it works: You start out on the third level by getting a cart. The floors have a round layout that actually flows pretty well, although I feel like we easily missed a third of the store. There are several “vignettes”Â of rooms outfitted with IKEA products, but we quickly came to ignore these, as each product said “See Kitchen section”Â or something like that. Frankly, I was experiencing so much sensory overload, I could barely remember my own name, let alone that I should check out the metal measuring cups in the Kitchen section.
The third floor also has a restaurant that serves Swedish meatballs. Cute. Although we didn’t eat any. And they have a nursing room. Yay, IKEA!
It took us two hours to get through the third floor. We picked out a new dining room table and four chairs, three new rugs and some neat-o kitchen stuff (OK, so I did remember to check out the metal measuring cups in the Kitchen section). We decided to take a break and get some lunch, then hit the second floor and fly like the wind. (Whatever happened to Christopher Cross anyway? Probably lost in IKEA.)
Near-emotional breakdown #1 occurred when I realized that we still had to choose a new bedroom suite, computer desks, lighting and something fun for Auggie, then check out — all before 2 p.m. It was 1:15.
The second floor was where the nightmare really began. The crowds were getting unbelievably thick at this point. We picked out a new bed, new dressers, new bedding and a mirror. I got a second cart.
By the time we wound our way around to the office furniture, I was rapidly losing steam. I missed my son. And somehow it had to have been “Baby Day at IKEA,”Â I swear, as every other person there was pushing a stroller or carrying a baby. Near-emotional breakdown #2.
I managed to pick out a new computer desk (that doesn’t look at all computer-desky) and helped Tim choose one as well. Next was lighting. We got lamps for the computer desks, lamps for the bedroom, lamps for the living room and track lights for the family room. When Tim started asking about chandeliers for the entryway and dining room, I lost it. No more. Stick a fork in me, I’m done.
So we set out for the first floor, where we pick up all the furniture (flat-packed in boxes) and fork over our wads of cash. Oh wait! Kids section! I tear through it, barely registering the adorable little baby beds and awesome kids-room ideas, settling only long enough to spot the perfect little farm play set. Sold!
Oh my. What to do with two overloaded carts when you still need to load up a flatbed cart with hundreds of pounds of furniture? And every checkout line is six people deep?
Well, I’ll tell you what we did. I got in line with the two carts while Tim ran all over fetching our furniture. At least they would put the bedding boxes together for us. He got back to the line just in time for me to start checking out, royally ticking off everyone behind us in line, I’m sure. But, hey, you’re behind the woman with two overflowing carts, what’s a few more boxes?
He didn’t have room for the computer desks, so once we were done checking out (and Tim figured out that you have to pull up the car to the store to load out the stuff), I ran back in to wrangle these unbelievably heavy boxes onto another flatbed.
Current cart count: two shopping carts, three flatbeds. Wow.
Then I got to get in line again! At least I got to use the express lane this time!
Of course, right as it was my turn, this middle-aged guy walks up with a twin mattress and says, ‘I’m a doctor and I just got a page from the hospital. Do you mind if I go in front of you?’ And me, being the nice kind of person I am, said, ‘Sure.’
But as he’s peeling off twenties, I’m thinking, ‘Wait a minute. You’re in a hurry to get to the hospital, but you still have time to buy a mattress at IKEA? Must not be that big of an emergency, I guess. Glad you’re not my doctor.’
But he’s thanking me profusely and I’m blushing, so, well, gosh, don’t think anything of it, Doctor.
Somehow we got it all loaded into Mom’s Suburban. And then we got on the road. It was nearly 4 p.m.
The trip home is a complete blur. I felt all numb inside. I couldn’t recall exactly what we had bought, and the catalog didn’t help to jog my memory. Did we really get two end tables for $8 each? Could my huge new computer desk have cost only $99? Maybe. And exactly how many hangers did we buy? An infinite number, it seemed.
Now, we’re spending all of our free time putting the stuff together. I figure that we should have it all done by about, oh, Christmas…