Tuesday, March 24, 2015

a trip to ikea, a lesson in marriage, and furniture anxiety.

last week was spring break for me, and it could not have come at a better time: ive been (very slowly) recovering from what i affectionately call the eternal cough of death, fibromyalgia and pregnancy have ganged up on me in a ridiculous fashion, alice has been going through an exceptionally difficult phase, and there has been a completely unreasonable and un called for heat wave. 

but im not really complaining, because for the most part (physical unpleasantness aside), spring break was pretty nice. im technically kind of ahead in both of my classes, so i didnt have any school things to think about, so between getting out of class last wednesday and today we were able to: go to the beach, do a craft fair, go out to dinner with jamess mom, go to disneyland, make significant progress on our de-cluttering goals, go to ikea, AND go on our very first mini-getaway as a family for a dear friends wedding. obviously im going to talk more about our trip later, but today i want to talk about our trip to ikea. 

because, as we all know, there is no such thing as just a trip to ikea. 

ikea isnt a furniture store, ikea is a relentless gauntlet that will, given the opportunity, destroy everything you hold dear: your patience, focus, sanity, self control, endurance, memory, pride, reading comprehension, and (should you be brave enough to go with your spouse/children/friends/any number of family members) any and all relationships. and no matter what your original intentions were by going to ikea, ikea will break you, and you will become what ikea wants you to be. if you think im being dramatic, youve obviously never been to ikea. 

now i AM very pleased to say that james, alice, and i made it out of ikea last week not only alive, but also still married, with a variety of household problems solved AND minimal financial damage. 

it just... wasnt the trip we planned. 

see, we planned on trying/comparing mattresses and making sure the bed frame we picked online was what we actually wanted, as well as checking out options/pricing out the pieces that would help with some other assorted household needs. 

three hours and $200 later, we left with very little progress on our bed situation (bed frame we want is out of stock for at least another week, and we cant buy the mattress unless we have a bed to put it on), a huge and completely unrelated home project, a list of things to save up for that was significantly longer than the list we walked in with, and a very, very important lesson about our marriage. 

the lesson: james and i have totally 100% different ways of looking at and solving problems, and that is totally 100% ok. 

im the type that sees an existing problem, thoroughly considers possible solutions, spends a long time thinking/talking about what the best possible solution would be, and then waits until that problem is completely solved before moving on to the next one. james is the type that sees a problem, tries to solve it as quickly as possible, and in the process of solving problem A, proceeds to identify and/or cause problems B, C, and D, and moves on to them before were even able to get anywhere with problem A. 

i went to ikea with the intention of ONLY working on the solution we had discussed for problem A (our new bed), and possibly a few small things (dishes, baking pans, picture frames, etc.). in that process, james managed to (among other things): decide he wants a new couch, find a set of dressers that both match the new bed and would hold our clothes in a smaller footprint then our current dresser, point out that our computer chair totally sucks and we need a new one, suggest that we buy a bunch of shelves because we could probably use some despite not having places or measurements on hand, and notice that an actual dresser rather than credenza or sideboard would be a better replacement for the hi-fi in the living room. 

now i had to be very, VERY firm that NOTHING on that list was reasonable/within our budget for the foreseeable future (except possibly the dressers once we get the bed all taken care of), and basically spent the entire trip being a mean old mom not letting anyone have any fun. we were there to check out our options for the bed and i COULD NOT handle  contemplating/budgeting for/starting any new projects before we even started on the first one without having a total anxiety blowout. i think james sort of understood this and was generally a good sport about my no-saying and note-taking. 

but then we got to the as-is section. and there it was: a white 6-drawer MALM dresser, just like james said would be perfect for the living room, already assembled and $50 off. i said it wouldnt fit in the car and i couldnt deal with doing the living room right this second and we werent planning on buying furniture on that trip. james said he could get it tied to the roof, it wouldnt be that big of a project since we didnt have to build it, and when would we ever have just the piece we need right in front of us for $100 (especially since we had anticipated spending $200-300 on a sideboard) again. 

he pulled the trigger and we bought the dresser. we got it home safely and re-arranged/cleaned out a bunch of the living room, solving an entirely different problem than the one we had planned/talked about/went to ikea to solve. and the bedroom situation wasnt a total loss, since we do now have the shopping list for when the bed frame we picked comes back in stock. 

most importantly though, we really learned something about working as a team. if we had done everything my way, we would have come home empty handed and frustrated. if we had done everything jamess way, we would have come home broke and overwhelmed. but together, we were able to combine our strengths and weaknesses to get some serious work done. and thats what marriage is all about, right? 

now, of course, weve done a huge amount of changing things in the living room that i was not prepared for, within the next couple weeks well get going with the new bed, and now we have dressers on the books for our next big home project. 

and all this change is giving me major furniture anxiety. yes, i said furniture anxiety. is that a thing? im totally making that a thing right now. 

moving and changing so much of our furniture in such a short time is totally freaking me out. nevermind that this is all stuff that weve planned/budgeted for for a very long time. nevermind that we totally need this stuff. never mind that this is literally the first time ever in our entire life together that weve been able to pick out furniture that we actually like. i just cant hang. 

so stay tuned for more breaking news as the ikea trips continue and my furniture anxiety escalates, i promise its going to be hilarious! 

also there may be some fun before-and-after type posts, i know how the internet loves before-and-after posts...


  1. Your husband sounds like mine. We'll go shopping and he'll find ALL the things that he just KNOWS we need. Everything you've said about Ikea pretty much sums up what I've been told. I've never been to one, but my boss says I need to take a day trip to one...but it might not be the best adventure with Carl.

  2. omg how hilarious, we dont even go to yard sales anymore because of how much james finds that we TOTALLY NEED RIGHT NOW. yeah, ikea is its own special kind of monster. on the one hand i do love it, but on the other...

  3. oh man. we just spent the day at ikea too. i'm a freaky mix of both you and james', depending on the item and how bored i am of researching what i want and how tired i am of walking through that entire stupid place. WHY IS IT SO BIG. Our shopping list is probably bigger than when we left too...but I don't want to go back and i'm supremely irritated they are one of THOSE companies that charge you more for shipping the more stuff you buy online. and furniture anxiety is a total thing, we need shelves everywhere and for the life of me i cannot decide where/how many. so our books will be on the floor forever. send help!

  4. Paige L ZielinskiApril 3, 2015 at 6:55 PM

    My husband and I call IKEA fightkea because we always argue when we go there.

  5. you guys go to the costa mesa one, right? just the outside of that one is TERRIFYING. yeah, the shipping/delivery thing is horrible, when we lived in AZ we really needed a bookshelf and our little hick town only had walmart and a tiny target so i tried to order a $150 bookshelf and the shipping was going to be $350.

  6. I wish I had your willpower and focus - both my husband and I are like James - too impulsive for our own good.....we don't usually fight in Ikea, though, and have even gone there for lunch/dinner - I LOVE those meatballs.....

  7. ha, well its REALLY hard for me to get ANYTHING done if it involves buying things. ikea food though... probably one of the saddest things about being gluten free is no pizza and cinnamon rolls as a reward at the end...