The Future Husband and I have a love-hate relationship with Ikea, I love it, and he hates it. But every so often, through a bit of emotional blackmail, trickery and female persuasion I get him there.
This week we our converting a small reception room, which was once the quiet room/study/music room, now a dumping ground, into a playroom. This is a vain attempt to reclaim the larger living room as our own.
So I did the internet research, I measured the walls, I got the parents to babysit (as child-friendly as Ikea thinks it is, taking children is not a pleasant experience) and we set off. "Are you sure you don't want to swap cars with Mum and Dad for the day?" I asked for a final time as we closed the doors and fastened our seat belts.
"No this'll be fine." he said "I've measured it."
"Ok" I replied, unconvinced, as the Golf vroomed off down the road, leaving the large Honda estate as a tiny speck in the rear view mirror.
So we arrived and fought our way into a parking space. "Great." he mutters. "It's packed. Let's go join the zombie trail"
Thankfully The FH had forgotten about the shortcut, which meant I could dawdle through the showroom, blaming my slowness on my newly found bump and the first signs of a waddle.
Reasons I love it:
- It's affordable - well actually it's cheap.
- It looks good; boxy frames, oversized bookshelves, quirky patterns - it's me!
- It does "organisation" very well! Clutter drives me mad. My house is full of clutter - Ikea organises it for me.
- I'm always allowed to stop in the cafe - because it's SO cheap.
- It does wooden toys (not plastic)
- It sells everything I never knew I needed
Reasons he hates it:
- We all follow the same path round, going snail pace, looking brain dead, he calls it "The Zombie Trail"
- It's cheap and prone to falling apart
- It serves bad coffee
- He has to do all the lifting, carrying and car packing logistics, whilst I stand there looking daft.
- He has to pay.
- An Ikea shopping trip always ends with an evening of flat pack DIY hell
So, we are in the showroom, I'm full of inspiration and have already forgotten what we've come for as I've see so many things we need instead! He is full of despair and either constantly looking at his watch or eyeing-up the veins in his wrist.
The rest of the trip is filled with disparaging comments, from both of us; big ideas shot down in flames, by both us, some begrudging compromises and a final agreement.
Two hours later we reach the end (we did stop for meatballs and chips halfway, but The FH wasn't hungry so he ogled my food as he drank some brown water that the Swedish call coffee). As I descended the final escalator, I found myself reading The Ikea Mission Statements posted on the wall beside me; posters reading things like Why do I have to get my furniture from the store room myself? and Why do I have to pay extra for home delivery? and Why do I have to assemble the furniture myself? and I ask The FH if he wrote these. He doesn't bother to answer. But that's what keeps the cost down the last poster tells me and I nod in agreement and think no need to tell me Ikea, I'm on your side.
We find our flat packs, without the usual stress of losing the catalogue numbers, and head not to the check out, but to bargain corner, which The FH has been eyeing up the sign posts for.
"This is why it's called Bargain Corner; it's all crap!" he mutters to me as we manoeuvre through battered wardrobes, chipped vases and wonky coffee tables. Then, at the end, like a prize at the end of a maze, is the leather arm chair from The Future Husband's dreams. It has a scratch barely visible to the human eye and price tag that makes it utterly irresistible.
We spend 10 minutes taking it in turns to sit the chair, measure it with our arms and consider if there is any chance we can fit it into the Golf with the 185cm tall bookcases. I think not, but instead I say the words that have been bubbling inside me for the last 15 minutes "We should have borrowed Mum and Dad's car." He doesn't bother to reply. We ask about Home delivery, which will cost nearly as much as the chair and ask if we can reserve it and are bluntly told "no". We decide get the book cases in the car first and see from there...
Oh famous last words...
We stand outside the Golf, me pregnant and useless, him hot and bothered, two delivery men eat an ice cream on an adjacent bench enjoying the entertainment, as we manoeuvre just one of the 5 flat packs in and out of the car, angling it every way possible, chairs up, chairs down, chairs forward, chairs back, whatever we do it still hangs out over the lip of the car boot. So in the midst of this stressful situation, with the realisation the leather chair is definitely not going to fit in, I say. "Do you think we should have borrowed Mum and Dad's car?" He doesn't reply, instead just silently shoves the bookcase around the car with a new found force. We are there for twenty minutes before a solution is found. This solution entails me sitting in the back, on top of the folded down seat, without a seatbelt, and for the first time in my life looking VERY tall". This is how I travel home: head bobbing against the ceiling, arse completely numb, baby kicking in my bladder every fifteen minutes and a seatbelt hooked over my should, just in case.
We are not long on the A1(M) when we meet a traffic jam, the place seems to be swarming with police and The FH is twitching with guilt. "Look normal!" he tells me. I try, but I've never been this tall before. Just when the coast is clear, and the traffic begins to move again what does our beloved and reliable Golf do? Stall. And fail to restart. This is an on-going condition of the Golf, resulting from when The FH filled his diesel car with petrol and told everybody that I had done it. But never has it done this on the outside lane of the motorway, with police cars a stone's throw away, when your pregnant fiancé is perched, without seatbelt, in a very unsafe position on the back seat.
It was intense.
But with a lot of swearing and a bit of luck, it started again. "Maybe we should have borrow..."
"Don't Fran. Fucking. Don't"
N.B That evening was not filled with DIY flat pack hell. Instead The FH made another 100 mile round trip to Ikea to get the leather armchair, thankfully it was still there, otherwise some poor Geordie may have found The FH rocking in a corner of the warehouse.
Long live the day when The FH went to Ikea... Twice!