Never Plan a Trip to Ikea on Your “Day of Fun”

I have a love/hate relationship with Ikea. I love all the fun things you never knew you needed until you see them in front of you. I love to browse the marketplace when I’m in the mood just to look or to find something simple, like a lamp shade, picture frame or spatula. But at other times – like when I’m determined to buy a piece of furniture – I hate the store.

Did any of you see that 30 Rock episode that revolved around Liz Lemon and her boyfriend trying to buy a table at Ikea? Liz was determined to buck the odds that a trip to Ikea would not ruin her relationships. The reason that episode was so hilarious is because it’s aboslutely true! Bryan and I have come close to our breaking points at that damn warehouse and last Friday was no exception.

This past Friday was a self-proclaimed “day of fun” for me and Bryan. What is a “day of fun,” you ask? It’s a day we both take off from work, drop Sophie off at school, and have the day to ourselves. The day usually involve breakfast out, a trip to a bookstore (or two, or three…), trip to Goodwill (usually for books), a stop for coffee, and whatever else we decide to do without the restraints of a child.

Our “day of fun” was going wonderfully. We were well fed, caffeinated, books in hand, a new washer was purchased, and we were happy … that is until I had the brilliant idea of going to Ikea to buy a bed for Sophie.  You know where this is going, right?

A slight panic started to set in the minute I began to climb the entry stairs. My feet were already starting to ache because I was in heels for eight hours the day before working an event for a client. Not a good sign if your feet start hurting the minute you enter Ikea. I was checking my cell phone every three minutes because I was waiting for a message for a time-sensitive project. And as the minutes went by, the more anxious I became. My head started to ache along with my feet. Not to mention the fact that the mobile signal is barely registering in the place. I’m also getting annoyed I have to walk through every showcase area before we finally get to kids beds.

Alas, we made it! We found two we liked for Sophie, but Bryan did not have his mind set on buying that day. I, however, did. Bryan thought it was a browsing trip, which only added fury to my fire when he suggested we just buy the mattress and look for a bed later. We then started sitting on mattresses when Bryan declared he will buy some wood and make Sophie’s bed himself. It’s not Bryan’s fault we were not on the same page. I should have been more clear from the get-go that I wanted to go into Ikea and leave with a bed.

It was at this point that I started to have my first Ikea breakdown. My feet were killing me, my head was pounding with pain, my phone was not delivering the message I needed, and Bryan and I are disagreeing on a kid bed. I found myself sitting on a mattress crying in frustration that our “day of fun” is going down the tubes.

We finally agree on a bed, take down the locator numbers, and finish the trek to the warehouse for the pieces. This part of the Ikea trip is always perilous because nearly every time, one of the two parts you need are either sold out, damaged or in the wrong color. We find the bed frame and – lo and behold – it’s there. But at first glance, Bryan is sure it won’t fit into our CRV. This is the point of the trip where I have my second breakdown. Bryan is not happy. I’m wishing I never set foot in this store as I sit upon a crate of shelves crying again. Nobody – including the warehouse crew – cared that I was crying, probably because this is standard fare for couples visiting Ikea. We should have known better! We left the store, defeated, once again.

This story does have a silver lining. After going to our car, we took some impromptu measurements and decided to brave Ikea again. Mainly because of Bryan’s declaration that, “We already wasted half the day in this place. I’m not leaving with nothing!” So we go back into the store, through the warehouse this time, measure everything and realize it will actually fit! We packed that bad boy up, stood in a ridiculously long line to pay, loaded up the Honda, and drove straight to pick up Sophie from school since we were down to the last 30 minutes before the pick-up deadline.

Needless to say, Sophie’s was so excited by her new “big girl” bed. And while it seems like “all’s well that end’s well,” it’s important to remember what a trip to Ikea will really do to a couple. I promised to Bryan I will never take him there on a “day of fun” again. To be honest, I think I’m scarred enough from this last trip that I won’t be going there at all for the forceable future. Damn you, Ikea!

I guess this makes it okay in the end … maybe. 

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