Adventures in IKEA

I have recently been spending an obscene amount of time at IKEA. I have also recently been spending an obscene amount of money at IKEA, but that's a different story altogether. Actually, it's not such a different story, really: the more time I spend at IKEA, the more money I seem to spend there too. Once I have made my third loop around the lighting department in as many days, I find that I just don't even care anymore. Do we need this SBVLARBD, darling? Maybe a new GORMSKP? Heck, do we ever! Buy three!

IKEA is a funny place. Nothing will make you feel more like a suburban grown-up than a Saturday morning visit with your significant other. There you will find five hundred other couples, all identical to you, arguing over sofa beds. And if they're not arguing over sofa beds, they're arguing over dining room chairs or shower curtains or how many bags of mini Daim bars is appropriate for a household of two. In fact, if you have ever been to IKEA and not had a slight dispute with your significant other---a bust-up over the BYHOLMAS, perhaps, or a squabble about the STRALANDES---then I would like to shake you very firmly by the hand and buy you a plate of Swedish meatballs in the cafe. You have won, my friend. You have won at IKEA. Congratulations to you on a feat that has likely never before been accomplished.

This evening at IKEA, we made our biggest purchase ever: we bought some countertops. The countertops are made of caesarstone or quartz or something---I feel like I should probably know this, right? Having just spent an entire paycheck on them?---and the shade we chose is called Misty Carrera, which means it can only have been named after the IKEA top brass got back from an evening at the local strip club. It's a lovely shade---a soft pale grey like Carrera marble, obviously---and I think it'll look great in our kitchen, but it does rather sound like it should be dancing on the main stage in a leather bustier. Nope, no "Pebble" or "Concrete" for us, thanks! We'd like the one that sounds like a porn star alias! Quick, what was the name of your first pet and the street you grew up on? Misty the hamster? Carrera Court? Done!

I actually had to remove myself from the situation while we were ordering the Misty Carrera this evening, because the monosyllabic eleven-year-old who was helping us---and I use the word "helping" as loosely as is humanly possible---was enraging me to such a degree that I knew I couldn't feasibly stand there another second and not face some sort of public assault charge in the very near future. "I think I'm going to have a little walk around the store," I hissed brightly at Sean through gritted teeth, and then I rounded the corner and banged my head repeatedly against the DOMSJO farmhouse sinks until I had lost as many brain cells as the monosyllabic eleven-year-old had ever possessed in his entire life. The store was just shutting down at that point, and they were starting to switch all the lights off and kick people out, and I would like to say---here and now, for the record---that I stayed in a haunted hotel in Montana a couple of weeks ago and it had nothing, absolutely NOTHING, on the children's section of IKEA in the dark. Have you ever been in the children's section of IKEA in the dark? Alone? Head reeling from banging it against a DOMSJO farmhouse sink? Not recommended, my friends. You cannot buy a change of underpants in IKEA.

1
Helen
Sep 22, 2010

Ah, IKEA. We spent an inordinate amount of time in there when doing our kitchen and couldn't face it for ages afterwards, not even for the meatballs and free refills. If we go there now for something specific we have to promise ourselves to go straight to that department and not get distracted by tealights and frames. I think they put something in the lingonberry juice that makes you want to buy things that you really, really don't need. But it definitely helps that after so many trips there we now know all the shortcuts.

2
mjb
Sep 22, 2010

Our closest IKEA is 2 hours away - my husband has only been to the food marketplace, but I'm considering taking him to the furniture section to help me pick out a few things. Maybe I should keep the tradition alive of having him wait in the car with the dog to avoid one of these scenes. He can see the furniture for himself on another visit.

3
madge
Sep 22, 2010

IKEA, aka The Fight Store.

4
amber, theAmberShow
Sep 22, 2010

Oh, I've even given them a name. They're "Ikea arguments". I've had them in Target, too, and nearly every store where we've had to make an important home buying decision larger than $50.

Grit teeth, hiss quietly through so as not to alarm other shoppers but urgently enough to let your significant other you are Really! Ticked! Off!, and marvel at how you could have ever possibly married someone who so stupidly believes that you should go with THIS annoyingly named sofa when THAT annoyingly named sofa is clearly vastly superior. And then right then and there, the sofa debacle becomes The Biggest Problem In The History Of Man, and he's ruining the entire world with his bad taste.

Oh man, have I ever been there.

5
steff
Sep 22, 2010

Carrera is a PORSCHE!

6
Meghan
Sep 22, 2010

My husband has to touch everything in IKEA. It drives me batty. The key is to eat meatballs first, then shop.

7
Kristen
Sep 22, 2010

Our biggest IKEA fight has come at the end, when we've chosen what we want (you know, after an hour or two of determining what color accent boxes we want for our two new MRRKLO desks with SCHLKALR shelving systems) and we're loading up the carts with the big, giant boxes. Like, we're both good packers and have very definite ideas as to how these giant boxes will all fit (while still leaving a flat surface on which to balance my bowls and lampshades and other treasures I've picked up). I'm not totally sure how it ended, but I know it was kind of ugly.

8
MS
Sep 22, 2010

Sigh, we have these arguements in stores too. Mostly because I have a "vision" in my head of what the final room/deck/whatever will look like. However, my husband also has his own "vision." Too bad neither of us has learned to, ya know, TELL THE OTHER what they're going for.

I used to pity my girlfriends whose husbands didn't care at all about what their homes looked like. More and more I think they may have been on to something.

9
themoira
Sep 22, 2010

Oh, yes, Ikea fights are a universal contstant. Before leaving for Ikea, my husband always assures me that all appropriate measurements have been taken. Then, while at Ikea I discover that we know the height of the nook next to the fireplace, but not the depth. And then the fighting commences. Lather, rinse, repeat every 6 months. (FYI - the nook next to our fireplace is still empty, but I have a lot of votive candles, we tend to make up in the candle department).

10
Monica
Sep 22, 2010

We have prohibited eachother from going into IKEA (or our local Lowe's/Home Depot store) with one another. It never works, and we are mad for days afterwards.

We decided what we want, we see it in the catalogue, in the online store and then we arm ourselves with courage to go to the actual store to buy it - ALONE.

It has worked so far.

We are remodeling the kitchen next year.

'nff said

11
Jessica
Sep 22, 2010

I wish we had an Ikea. Colorado is slated to get one in 2011~ I can't wait, but I will be sure to leave my boyfriend at home. We'd totally have an Ikea fight.

12
simon
Sep 22, 2010

My porn name is Duke Marlborough. I used to work with a woman whose porn name was Bijou Rose.

Also, and this is the real kicker, I know two sisters who share the best porn name ever - Ruby Creamore. No shit, I swear.

13
Queen Savage
Sep 22, 2010

That was one of the best blog posts I've read in a long time. Thanks. If you don't fight in the store you'll certainly fight as soon as you try to put whatever it is that you bought together with those ridiculously cryptic pictographic things they like to pass off as "directions."

14
Procrastamom
Sep 22, 2010

There are also tears at IKEA...many, many tears. Especially when you and your husband go in to buy living room furniture and he won't let you buy the pretty, flowered, comfy chair because the 3-inch legs don't EXACTLY match the wood on the coffee table and people will totally notice and whisper about us after they visit our home. Three months later and our living room still houses our ugly-found-on-Craigslist furniture.

And visitors are probably whispering furiously about THAT.

15
Carroll
Sep 22, 2010

Oh, Holly! Hands-down this wins my best blog post of the month award -- potentially of the whole year! Mind you, there's no prize at stake here -- just more knowing chuckles than I've had in a good long time. Great way to start the morning :-)

I have a feeling Misty Carrera is going to be gorgeous in your kitchen -- very au courant & snazzy. Probably even worth all the hissing and snarling!

16
Jen
Sep 22, 2010

Oh, IKEA. We were thisclose to buying everything at IKEA for our recent kitchen remodel, but some older (likely wiser) contractor folk talked us out of it, and thank God. I don't think I could handle being helped by a fetus, either. We did, however, end up with the double-bowl farmhouse sink you mentioned, and it looks LOVELY. Outside of the vintage Wedgewood stove, it's our favorite part of our newly remodeled kitchen.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/onenjenifer/sets/72157624683695940/

Let me know if you want any tips on re-doing a kitchen on a budget. We managed it all for less than $5K, granite countertops and all. :)

17
Christina
Sep 22, 2010

There is a love-hate thing that goes on at/with IKEA. Those meatballs are 5 kinds of evil but soooo good.

I can never get out of there without some kind of accessory for $3.00.

18
Natalie
Sep 22, 2010

I think my friend Amy's porn name tops even the ones that Simon mentions above... Munchy Beaverbend.
MUNCHY. BEAVERBEND.
You're welcome.

19
Cheryl
Sep 22, 2010

My porn star name - SPANKY MOHAWK.

I do think that Munchy Beaverbend wins, though.

I wonder if I can list IKEA as the reason for divorce on the paperwork I am filing this month???

20
Lindsay
Sep 22, 2010

I LOVE the Daim bars. I brought a shit ton home from Copenhagen once - hoarding as many as I could. That is, until I laid my eyes upon the little beauties at IKEA. Thank you, IKEA!

21
Leslie
Sep 22, 2010

You might appreciate this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yjUfSnjpwc

Fun with cats at Ikea!

22
Erin
Sep 22, 2010

I have had many an argument with my husband in IKEA, as well as Home Depot. There's something enraging about home improvements. Or maybe it's just my husband.

23
suz
Sep 22, 2010

I'm kind of ashamed to admit my husband and I have never had a fight at IKEA. Or maybe I should be afraid--I've probably jinxed it now!

But my main reason for commenting is to brag on my porn name: Muffy Ridgeway. Hell yeah.

24
Kate
Sep 22, 2010

For some reaons the fights begin after the store when we're puzzling over the assembly. It's reduced two otherwise rational people to fights that are almost as absurd as the names of the funiture.

My point: I'm 1/4 Swedish so I have an inherent understanding of the Ikea zeitgeist
His point: I'm female and thus lack the inherent spatial reasoning quality that goes along with the masculine mind.

(More argument ensues here).

There's a Malm dresser that makes me smile every time I use it simply because I was the one to translate the little diagram correctly. Petty, but gratifying!

25
Hannah
Sep 22, 2010

To me, Misty Carrera sounds like a porn name--or at the very least a B-movie star name--because it is so similar to Tia Carrere. Apologies to Ms. Carrere, who has probably not ever done porn, though she DID wear some rather unfortunately skimpy outfits during her brief Dancing with the Stars stint.

But I digress.

26
Samantha
Sep 22, 2010

haha My significant other and I were at Target once and got into a fight about a trashcan. We stood there in front of the trashcans, arguing like total idiots, for a good 45 minutes. Ridiculous.

27
Christina
Sep 22, 2010

My husband tries so hard. He has ADD, and he so wants to go to IKEA-- but he just can't seem to make it to the accessories area without getting crazy-eyed and twitchy.

Couple that with my desire to maim unruly children STANDING ON THE RUGS I WOULD LIKE TO LOOK AT, THANK YOU-- really, can you blame us for arguing publicly?

28
Amy --- Just A Titch
Sep 22, 2010

My best (or rather, worst) IKEA moment came in the form of me going shortly after a breakup that left me heartbroken. I was trying to replace my sheets, etc. and I started BAWLING uncontrollably while wandering the store, and then I was thirsty so I picked up a flat of water bottles and just started drinking them. It was quite the sight. But god damn, that store is just ANNOYING AS HELL.

29
MelissaOklahoma
Sep 22, 2010

How did you get the countertops home? Did they fit in your car or were you guys like the commercial with all the IKEA boxes piled high on top of your teeny car?

30
Melissa Murphy
Sep 22, 2010

We went to IKEA once after buying our house. See, we are vegetarian. No meatballs too smooth out the rough sands of IKEA shopping. alas. I think I will only ever return there with my sister.

My sister, who did make it our of IKEA with her guy without an argument. Only to get back to their apartment and then have assemble the largest piece of furniture ever. Which apparently caused the largest fight ever.

She should have brought the meatballs home.

31
Nothing But Bonfires
Sep 22, 2010

MelissaOklahoma -- we just ordered them at IKEA. A guy comes out to measure, and then a few days later a team comes out to fit them in our kitchen. No carrying them home!

32
B.Graham
Sep 22, 2010

I have less emotional baggage with the IKEA Fight than with the mid-checkout IKEA Depression. It's very similar to Trader Joe's Depression, in which you watch aaaallll the things you've excitedly stockpiled into your cart slowly tick down the conveyor belt and you realize none of those things was the reason you entered the store in the first place, and you really don't need any of it.

33
Carlien
Sep 23, 2010

My reason for insisting my husband doesn't come with me (for any large shopping trips actually) is the difference in our shopping paces. He likes to rush in, grab the first item which resembles what we are looking for, and run out as fast as possible. I need TIME. I need to browse through everything, then ponder, then return to the beginning, and slowly - while comparing prices and double-checking measurements - select what to buy. In Ikea this can take a really long time, I just can't rush through.

The height of Ikea stress for me so far, has been trying to buy essentials for our new place within a two hour time limit ... in a foreign country. Try figuring out the difference between a single size flat sheet and a double fitted in TWO foreign languages.

34
Vicki
Sep 23, 2010

Oh yes, the Ikea fights. I once wept, full-on messy noisy weeping in the middle of the warehouse bit after an extremely frustrating 3 hours going round and round the sofa section.
But the meatballs and lingenberry sauce do make up for it.

35
jules
Sep 23, 2010

*raising hand*-I've never been to an IKEA store-though Portland got one several years ago. Partly because I'm broke and mostly because I hear you have to put things together and I've nearly had to be institutionalized over "put it together" furniture before. I'm single and can't just mock my significant other while he hyperventilates.

Meatballs sound good though . . .

36
jules
Sep 23, 2010

BTW-reagarding the IKEA fights-I'd probably end up arguing with myself if I went. Wonder why I'm still single? ha!

37
agirlandaboy
Sep 23, 2010

Every time I read this website I come away thinking "Is she seriously that funny? Surely no one can be this consistently funny. Not possile, no way, no how."

38
kelly
Sep 23, 2010

It's so cute reading about you 'young' couples fighting IN stores. Eventually, you'll quit shopping together & the significant other will say, "Oh, I don't care, you pick it out." Then you WILL pick it out...alone...and bring it home, and significant other will say, "huh...that's not what I was picturing." So then you'll fight at home - mostly about how significant other only has an opinion AFTER certain items are purchased and who in the hell is going to return this?

See how much you have to look forward to? :)

Oh - and I love my porn name: Lady Hilltop

39
Lacey
Sep 23, 2010

I told my husband I wanted a divorce in the shoe department at Target. Not my finest moment.

40
Annika
Sep 24, 2010

The funniest thing about this blog post?
Everybody commenting on how IKEA is bad for their marriages while you didn't tell us your latest IKEA fight.

What made you grit your teeth: The 11 year old.
But I haven't heard a single thing about Sean and you fighting...

And top it off, I am one of those. No fights. No arguments. Mutual agreements.
But then again, my husband likes shopping. Except groceries.

Congratulations on the countertops!
I have been following you along with the whole renovating and I cannot wait to see the after pictures!

41
jonniker
Sep 24, 2010

HAAA. I had to come back and comment because we're going to Ikea tomorrow. The last time we went to Ikea, we got in a screaming fight over a coffee table. And tomorrow, we've got a few items in mind, and worse, we're bringing the child, who will be in (DUN DUN DUNNNN) the CHILDREN'S SECTION of Ikea! PREPARE.

42
KS
Sep 24, 2010

Well, here's hoping that next time you can get the Cindy Mancini faucets on sale PLUS some help from a Harvard grad working at IKEA (hey, you know it's happening these days).

43
Nancy
Sep 25, 2010

Yes we had a fight in the lamp section and the kitchen gadget area also. Men should just look and not say a word, they will loose in this battle.

44
Andrea
Sep 27, 2010

We just installed Misty Carrera in our newly remodeled kitchen LAST WEEK! I LOVE them. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them. Admittedly, my husband did have to talk me into them, but I'm so glad he did. They are beautiful. We have white cabinets, which it looks like you do too. I hope you'll be as happy with them as we are!

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