(I actually wanted to put a heart symbol in the title, rather than the word, but I am having real troubles this morning. You ever have one of those mornings? My coffee must be broken.)
For just over a month now, I have been in the process of thinking about, designing, shopping & finally putting together a play office – you know, a combination of a playroom and an office. Here is where I talked about the reasons behind why I decided to turn my cherished guest room into a play office. And here is where I created the inspiration board for the room.
Since my inspiration board was filled with IKEA pieces, I knew a drive to IKEA was in order. So a couple of days before Christmas, I decided to make the drive. This is no little decision. The closest IKEA to Carolina Beach is in Charlotte. While Charlotte is only 4 hours away – it is a long, tedious 4 hours. Over half the drive is through small towns with reduced speed limits and the last 30 minutes is stop and go. Grrr! But I was craving to go. I had the need. Not going – are you crazy? That was not an option.
Once I made the decision, I had to craft a plan to convince Britt to let me go. I knew he wouldn’t go with me because he hates to drive and even more, he hates to shop for furniture – particularly with me. Trust me when I say, it’s bad for our marriage to shop together.
So I spent some time analyzing the numbers, preparing my presentation and drafting my closing argument. I’m pretty sure it all went straight through that handsome head of his – his selective hearing could win awards. It was purely my nagging that sealed the deal.
I “discovered” IKEA when I was in my early twenties. At the time, I was working as an accountant for an oil exploration company who was headquartered out of Houston. On one of my trips to visit the headquarters, I drove by an IKEA. It was so big and bright. Like a kid drawn to a candy store, I wondered what it was and decided to pop in and take a quick look. Yeah, right!
I couldn’t even say the name right, but I sure could open my wallet. I don’t know how long I pronounced it “Ick–e–yuh” before somebody corrected me. I ended up shipping a dining table home to Alaska and checking a rolled 8 x 10 area rug as my luggage. My carry-on bags were ridiculous – stuffed to the brim and then some. That was back in the day before carry-on bags were acceptable – so you can imagine the once-overs I was getting. Only businessmen brought suitcases on the plane. You know – the days before we gave the airlines our first-born as a contract for holding luggage in cargo. Sigh, I digress…
After that trip, I was stranded in Alaska for about 8 more years. And every one of those 8 years, I dreamt of IKEA. IKEA gets a bad rap because some of their stuff is not the best quality. But isn’t that obvious by the price? Clearly, it’s not solid wood. But if you do it right – which I do (of course) – you can do an entire room for a fairly reasonable price and not feel guilty if you don’t need the pieces in a few years.
So – off I went to IKEA. If you’re from Alaska (and maybe other places, I’m not sure) you know the term “suicide run”. It’s typically reserved for fishing. But I don’t like to fish – so I apply it to shopping – which I do like. I left the house at 6:30 am, arrived at IKEA around 10:30. I shopped until 6 pm (holla!) and got home just before 10. I stopped for coffee only once and ate when I first got to IKEA. That is what you call a suicide run, folks – exhausting, but oh so fun.
(On a side note, that stop I made for coffee was in a strange little town. I so wish I knew the name of it. I saw a person that must be kin to Honey Boo Boo. And his outfit – I have no words. I couldn’t look away and now I cannot erase that memory from my mind.)
One of my favorite things about IKEA is there is no annoying sales person following you around. If you need someone, you ask for help. What a simple concept. Unless it is absolutely necessary, I have stopped shopping in typical furniture stores because I hate the pressure of a sales person. I always feel like I have eyes watching me. Then, I feel bad when I don’t buy anything and end up trying to sneak out of the store. It’s so ridiculous. This I know. Do you ever feel that way? Or is it just me? Maybe don’t answer that.
Remember when I mentioned begging Britt to allow me to drive to Charlotte. His rationale was that it would be cheaper to have the desk and bookshelf (which is the only thing I really needed) shipped than to spend the day driving. Well, funny little thing, he was right, although not in the technical sense of the word. I drive a Prius, whom I affectionately call Gertrude. [Yes Gretchen - I can hear you gagging]. It only took one tank there and back. So even with the cost of gas, the desk and bookshelf were cheaper to pick up than it would have been to ship. However, I knew I was not going to be back at IKEA anytime soon. My alter personality took over – you know the not so frugal one. Britt knows this girl well and she cannot be reasoned with. I HAD to have everything that I even remotely liked and that I might be able to squeeze into Gertrude. So this is where Britt was right. (Oh, I hate to say those words). I ended up buying so much other stuff that it would have been smarter to just pay to ship.
But oh well. – mistakes are made. Britt learned his lesson – next time he will accompany me to IKEA. :-)
I had sooooo much fun and while I went over budget, I now have a fabulous play office, if I do say so myself. The happiness I feel sitting here typing while Tatum sits on the floor reading her books or blow drying her pony’s tail is priceless. And Landon just sits in his Bumbo – happy as can be. And more importantly Britt is happy because we are out of his hair.
Here are some pics of my trip.…
Sorry for the blurry picture, but my hand was shaking in delight when I took this picture. My exact text to Britt was, “Would you be upset if I ditched the office/playroom concept and turned it into this instead.” Isn’t that closet wonderfully beautiful?
And yes – in case you’re wondering, it took me four full days to put everything together. My hands still hurt.
Have a blessed day!