Thanks to Ikea, you can come and stay over!

New duvet, new duvet cover, new pillows, new towels – the bed in the “boys’ room” (where my brothers John and Ken slept once upon a time when we were growing up at the Manse) is now ready for overnight guests, thanks in large part to a recent trip to Ikea.

Raymond and I have a standing joke about Ikea: “It always ends in tears.” You start off having so much fun wandering through the showrooms, trying out the couches, picking up inexpensive things (that you don’t need) from those cleverly placed bins here and there, seeing what’s new since your last visit, thanking your lucky stars you’re not (yet) one of those people sitting with a “kitchen consultant” trying to figure out how to design (and pay for) your completely overhauled kitchen. You measure things and note down the name and aisle number of stuff that you’ve decided you cannot go home without. Then you go and have meatballs with lingonberry sauce and potatoes and gravy for lunch, and a glass of wine, and you start thinking maybe you should reconsider not buying that couch, that maybe it’s just what you need after all. So you make the couch arrangements (if you’re lucky it’s one of those no-interest-for-six-months-on-couches weekends) and commit yourself to a large expenditure. And then you go downstairs where all the gewgaws are, and what with that glass of wine having made you feel all “What the heck?” you load up your bag with packages of candles and napkins and flatware and vases and and and and and. At which point you have to exchange your bag for a cart, which means you have to find a cart. Which is hard. How come everybody else has a cart? Where did they get it? And now the glass-of-wine giddiness is starting to wear off and you’re getting tired and you still have to find the aisle where your stuff is and load it up in your cart. If you can ever find a cart. And finally you do. And finally you find the aisle. And you start wrestling longish boxes onto it and realize that you need the other kind of cart, the one that’s got a long low surface, the better to hold all those boxes of Billy bookshelves. So you have to find one of those carts and transfer your stuff to it. And now you’re tireder. And hotter. And crankier. And the wine effect has totally worn off. And you can see the horrendous lineups at the cash, which is what’s in store before you can finally escape. And then when you get to the aisle where the thing you wanted (or maybe even needed) the most, perhaps the thing you actually came for – as opposed to all those other impulse-buy things (including the $1,000 couch), that you picked up thanks to that glass of wine and that initial Ikea effervescence – it is… not there. Out of stock. Inquire at the customer-service desk, please. Heart sinks.

It always ends in tears. And that’s even before you end up behind the one person in line at any of the cashes who is disputing the bill, and even when the dispute is resolved has some really complicated thing going on with gift-card balances and whatnot and you are ready to kill her. And it’s before you have to try to get all those Billy bookshelf boxes into your trunk, hauling out the bungee cords and trying to fasten them as the wintry wind freezes your fingers. And before you have to unload it all again and schlep it into the house.

And before you start putting it together.

Did I say it ends in tears? Actually there are many opportunities for tears at many steps along the Ikea kitchen-to-bathroom-to-office-to-“Marketplace”-to-warehouse-to-checkout path. Maybe one should go back and fortify oneself with another glass of wine somewhere in there.

This is Raskog, which I decided the Manse kitchen could not do without. Of course it was out of stock.

Anyway, yes, our latest trip to Ikea in Montreal, mainly to buy things for the Manse, did end in frustration and tiredness and a bit of cranky, though not quite tears. At the end of the day, I was seriously ticked that the one impulse buy I’d decided I just had to have for the Manse kitchen – a rolling cart with shelves, highly useful for holding, you know, stuff, and just the perfect shade of turquoise – was, you guessed it, out of stock when we got to its aisle. But we did get lots of useful stuff. Including a TV table, which means that our enforced quiet-reading evenings can soon be replaced with watching movies. (Which I’m both happy and sad about. Those quiet reading evenings are lovely.)

And also including bedding! Which means that now both the guest bedrooms are, while a little bare, perfectly nicely kitted up for people to come and sleep in them. You’ve seen the “boys’ room” at the top of this post, and here is the “girls’ room”:

The new setup in the “girls’ room,” the room my sister, Melanie, and I shared once upon a time.

Now doesn’t that look comfy? Yes, if you’re sleeping here and have to use the facilities in the night you’ll have to go downstairs to the only bathroom – and if it’s dark, remember: 13 steps on the back staircase, 15 steps on the front one – but when you get back you’ll be in a nice fresh cozy bed. The Manse is slowly achieving “comfortable” status!

10 thoughts on “Thanks to Ikea, you can come and stay over!

  1. I suggest 2 of those little black, security flashlights – one for each guest bedroom’s occupants, to guide us older folks down the stairs. Oh, and some strong plywood, under the mattress, for us older folks with bad backs, too! Cannot wait until the new year when I get another batch of vacation days. I’ll definitely want to try out “the girls’ room” – may fly, to get there quicker, and to alleviate a 10-hr drive..you know, the bad back! Mail order the turquoise cart and have it delivered. I agree, it’s a must-have forth Manse kitchen 🙂

    • Flashlights for the guest bedrooms are a brilliant idea, Eloise – thank you! As for the mattresses, they are remarkably (and surprisingly) good. And for travel plans, I am happy to say that from the Boston area to the Manse it can be ever so easy: fly Porter airlines (I’m only saying Porter because Air Canada doesn’t do this route) from Logan (BOS) to the Toronto Island airport (YTZ) – the cutest and most efficient little airport you are ever likely to see – and then take the world’s shortest (a minute or so) ferry ride from the Island to the mainland, where you’re very close to Union Station and can catch the Via Rail train to Belleville, where we can pick you up and we’re only about 40 minutes from the Manse. Come to think of it, with those travel possibilities one could almost live at the Manse and work in Boston. Hmmmm…

  2. I never knew a trip to IKEA could be so…. fraught. There’s a kind of routine to the IKEA experience, if you’ve been doing it for more than 30 years, as we have. A little like a roller coaster. You gird your loins (or whatever) on the way up and drive to the store, prepare to park in a space hundreds of metres from the door, walk toward the store and then allow yourself to be swept fast into the stream of humanity that pours into the building (if you’re a relatively new parent, prepare for the ball room madness). Pause at the top. Soon, you need to find a quiet corner and stop. Stop. Now, it becomes existential. More crowded. Why am I here? How will my life be changed? Do I really need those candlesticks? Or that bed linen? No, but I need to buy the #$%&ing candles, because they’re the only ones I can find for miles that fit the chandelier, so I might as well get candlesticks as well, dammit, and, oh, it’s almost 5 o’clock. Just enough time to check out Scratch and Dent in case there’s something there I don’t need but could want. Push. Elbow, Shove. Oooh, sorry….. Ahhhh, the checkout lineup is actually peaceful. Blisssssss. Except for the @#$%ing cinnamon bun aroma being blown over the checkout line, which is making everyone VERY hungry…. Oh. Maybe my IKEA experience is just as fraught as yours.

    Is Ottawa closer than TO?

  3. what a nice and smart post. my parents have a similar set-up at their country place: lots of stairs down to the bathroom. discourages overstaying. merry Christmas, all!

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