We have all been there. That place in every relationship where you think “God, I am so happy it’s you here with me and not that guy” or every now and again the inevitable feeling of, “I would rather be here with any one other than you, even that guy!” and you all know where this takes place don’t you? IKEA, aka relationship boot camp. Either you learn to struggle together and fight your way through the minefield of useless (but affordable) particleboard and plastic, or you die fighting your way through the throngs of over stuffed sofas and unrealistic living room groups… simple as that.
Last weekend Drew and I went out on an adventure through LA in hopes of buying some much needed furnishings, so that our sparkly new apartment won’t remain looking like a collage dorm was stuffed into a crack house (our mattress may or may not reside on the floor). We got up early on Saturday, Drew sketched out a project for work, I made pancakes and a pot of french press coffee, making for a rather magical morning to say the least. After breakfast Drew finished his work and I made a list of things we were in need of: Sofa, Curtains, Storage, A Desk, A Rug (or 3), Book Shelves, Bakeware, and so on. I packed up a survival bag of snacks, so we wouldn’t get too hangry, and we headed out.
First stop, IKEA.
Now, Drew and I consider ourselves old pros at IKEA, we know how to handle the stresses that this dreaded store can place upon all who dare enter through its doors. We thought we were ready for the pressure, however, as we were driving up the 5, I just so happened to look up our horoscopes, as I often do, and was shocked by their outcome; they were predicting dooms day! For both of us! We were heading into a trap, but in our desperation we willingly entered in and decided to make the best of it.
Keeping our heads high and budget in mind, we walked into the big blue fortress through its towering yellow doors and sealed our fate. I had done some preliminary shopping online that morning in hopes of keeping our time (and wandering eyes) limited, but this also gave me a false sense of confidence as we approached the first major item on our list- a new couch. We sat on one model after the next, each one a little worse than the others. I was absolutely convinced that one of these couches must be it work but to no avail. Drew turned down one after the next, I couldn’t sway him. The worst part was that little nagging voice in the back of my head telling me to drop it, because I also knew none of them were right. Did I listen? No! Of course not! Instead I got frustrated, gave Drew the passive agressive “it’s fine” and we moved on (don’t worry this story isn’t all bad and I apologized two minutes later… ok maybe ten). From sofas we hit storage, from storage, bookshelves, then rugs, then curtains (which we were surprisingly agreeable on, a great relief), then down to the warehouse. All the while dodging screaming children, avoiding eye contact with all of the other disgruntled shoppers and hoping to make it out alive.
Thankfully we didn’t deliberate over too many things, though my shoppers ADD was in full swing by that point and Drew graciously had to keep steering us forward, if he hadn’t, who knows, we may still be stuck between lighting and decor.
All in all, it wasn’t the worst trip to IKEA. As we stood inline at the check out waiting to purchase our basket of odds and ends, we couldn’t help but laugh at all of the other couples who were rubbed so raw by the friction of shopping that they practically glowed. There was one guy who was super sweet though and bought his girl ice cream, but we can’t all be casanovas now can we?
In the safety of our car, we recharged with a few snacks and convinced ourselves that more shopping was a good idea (who thinks shopping after IKEA is ever a good idea? Delusional people thats who). So off to Crate and Barrel we went.
I must admit, Crate and Barrel was heaven. We smiled, laughed, sampled chocolates! I mean who doesn’t love a store that will give you free chocolate? Drew was happy to be shopping, which made me happy. We were finally agreeing on all of the same pieces, no fighting what so ever! It was like coming up for air after being submerged under the weight of IKEA Island. The magic was so great we nearly had ourselves convinced that we could afford things far out of our price range and had to force ourselves to leave. With goodies in hand we stopped for a coffee and headed to West Elm.The poor, sweet, overly helpful staff must have hated us by the end of our visit. Drew and I sat on every single sofa at least 5 times! The Chester Tufted or the Henry? The Henry or the Elton? Back and forth we went, wandering the isles and admiring all of the things I eventually want to add to my dream list. In the end we settled on waiting and headed home (finally!).
There is no feeling so sweet as knowing you did it… well sort of… you survived IKEA! Now, can you survive building what you purchased? That is another question entirely.
*Update: We went with the Chester Tufted. First major, grown up, married purchase done, boom!