And now for the main event...
Yesterday I engaged in another of my cherished annual traditions. We borrowed our son-in-law's truck and used it to haul all of our Christmas decorations back from the storage unit ...
After unloading the decorations at home, I loaded up the truck with junk and trash and drove it to the landfill in Lorton. Quite the swinging weekend, eh?
But there's more!
On the way home from our daughter's house after picking up the truck, we also stopped at the local Ikea store to pick up a few new pieces of furniture we'd been intending to buy. For those of you not familiar with Ikea, here are a few notes to help you understand the concept:
1. The average Ikea store is so big that it has its own zip code. Some Ikea stores are so big they require customers to have a passport and visa to enter.
2. An Ikea store is cleverly laid out so that it takes you a minimum of three days to get from the entrance to the checkout. The marked route through the store ensures that you will have the opportunity to see and admire every single item they sell, regardless of what you went there to buy in the first place.
3. All Ikea products have names. You don't just buy a bookshelf or a coffee table, you buy a Billy bookshelf or a Vejmon coffee table. I think this is silly. I don't need to be on a first-name basis with my furniture.
4. Everything you buy at Ikea comes unassembled, requiring you to haul it home and put it together yourself.
4a. The average disassembled item comes packed into a box carefully designed to be too large to fit into the trunk of any car not made to haul supplies for the Army.
4b. That box weighs a minimum of four tons and requires a Bucyrus Erie crane to get it off the shelf and onto your cart.
Good luck getting it from the cart to the bed of your pickup truck, and into your house once you get home.
4c. Any Ikea product of any size consists of at least 75 pieces made of solid lead covered with an attractive wood veneer. These pieces are assembled using thousands of screws, nails, grommets, flanges, and other assorted oddly-shaped connectors, all carefully counted out and packaged in convenient plastic bags which strew parts in all directions when opened.
4d. The assembly instructions for an Ikea product have no words ... they consist of drawings which guide you step-by-step through the assembly process. The assembly instructions for the Galant Drawer Unit on Casters (with birch veneer) is 28 pages long, and includes a separate booklet that explains how to set the combination lock. Here is a typical page:
Good luck, and bring that magnifying glass with you.
4e. No Ikea product can be assembled in the space available where you want to install it. This means you must assemble it someplace which provides enough space for you to spread out all the parts and maneuver them around ... a soccer field, for instance ... and then transport it in its fully-assembled form to the room where you actually want to use it. Sadly, that Bucyrus Erie crane probably won't be of much help by this point.
4f. Once you have completed the assembly and installation of your Ikea product, you will notice several things:
4f(1) It looks beautiful.
4f(2) You will need to dispose of an enormous amount of packing material.
4f(3) You will require the services of a psychiatrist and a chiropractor.
Yesterday, I assembled and installed two large Billy bookcases (one each for my study and Agnes's study), the aforementioned Galant drawer unit for Agnes's study, and a Vejmon Coffee Table for the living room. They all look very nice, but my eyes hurt from squinting at instructions and I feel like someone has been beating me with a two-by-four.
If you like modernistic, spiffy furniture you can address by name and have boundless patience, a Bucyrus Erie crane, and a 55-gallon drum of Bengay ointment, Ikea is the place to shop. Good luck.
Just don't call me to help you.
Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.