My darling Otto was kind enough to pick me up at the airport on my return to Atlanta, last week. Sure, I could’ve driven myself in, left the car in long-term parking, and then driven myself home after I got back, but there was one small problem with that plan.
Otto took the GPS on HIS trip last week. So the conversation before we left went like this:
Me: I need the GPS to get to the airport.
Him: I’m… taking it to Pennsylvania. Because I’m driving. You’re FLYING to Colorado.
Me: I’m not flying to the airport. I need it to get to the airport.
Him: You’ve driven to the airport before. Lots of times.
Me: With the GPS. I can’t get there without the GPS.
Him: Sure you can. Just take a map with you.
Me: *sorrowful look*
Him: You are pitiful.
Me: *sorrowful look augmented with nodding*
Him: Also, you are cute. Fine. Take the shuttle in, I’ll come pick you up.
He’s a gem, isn’t he?
[Digression: There are very few advantages to having to turn over my children for a few weeks at a time in the summer, but I am slowly learning to take advantage of them. Never ever EVER in my previous married life would it have occurred to me to take a separate vacation from my spouse. I just figured that happily married people didn't DO that, and I was awfully busy trying to pretend I was happily married, you know? But because Otto and I have both had the benefit of long stints of time as free agents, and because we're ACTUALLY happily married instead of just WISHING we were, we've come to embrace the marvel that is vacationing separately. It's a beautiful thing. I certainly don't want to go race cars, and he's not much interested in snoogling babies, so we each pursue our own interests and then come back together and order Chinese food and marvel at how quiet the house is and smooch a lot. I highly recommend it.]
Anyway. I had called Otto Thursday morning to remind him to come pick me up, and he sounded remarkably chipper. “Awwww, you missed me!” I said, getting a little misty.
“Yes!” he agreed. “Oh, hey, after I pick you up? Wanna go to Ikea?”
Sure, he missed me. Also, he had Swedish meatballs on the brain.
We don’t live that far from Ikea (and Atlanta in general), of course, but still. I’m true to my country bumpkin roots, and that means that anywhere that takes longer than half an hour to reach is Far Away. Thus we’ve been to Ikea exactly once in the two years I’ve lived here, because there are only so many cheap toilet brushes one needs in a lifetime, y’know?
But Otto is in the process of setting up his home office this week, and he was on a mission. He needed cheap bookcases. And Ikea is Swedish for Particle Board, I’m pretty sure.
[Digression: Right now Otto and I share an office. I love sharing an office! It makes me happy. Unfortunately, sharing an office means that 90% of Otto's stuff is jammed in a storage closet, and even his deep love for me cannot outweigh the annoyance of always having to dig for something he knows he has but cannot find. As someone who prefers to just stack everything I need in piles on my desk, I find this dilemma interesting.]
I have this whole love/hate thing going on with Ikea. I mean, when I was in grad school, Ikea was the standard to which many of us aspired. You knew you’d really arrived when you started furnishing your place with stuff from Ikea. Because it was (relatively) cheap, still, but kind of grown-up looking. My grad school apartment was sparsely decorated with only the finest student cast-offs the local classifieds could secure—I didn’t even have enough money to shop Ikea. But I had friends who had a couch from there—presumably one that no one else had slept on before it arrived at their apartment—and I thought they were Very Fancy Indeed. (As a point of reference, I had a secondhand kitchen table with a melamine top and metal legs, and the legs were all rusty. So I wrapped them in duct tape. Yeah.)
Now that I’m an ACTUAL adult, I sort of feel like Ikea is, well, interesting, and handy, but not exactly what I’m looking for when it comes to home furnishings. I now own bookcases made of ACTUAL WOOD, not just pressboard. I guess I sort of feel like I’ve outgrown them.
But the weirdest thing happens when I walk in there. Although most of the furniture leaves me cold, sometimes a funky chair or two will entice me to sit down, and before I know it, I’m marveling over how comfortable it is, and so cute! And the gadgets. LORD, the gadgets. I’m all about replacing my cancerous plastic food storage containers with glass—this past year I chucked almost everything and replaced it all with Pyrex—but I am powerless against 17 containers in a pretty little bundle for $5. Because, FIVE DOLLARS! I probably have that in change in the bottom of my purse!
So Otto was busy configuring his new Wall O’ Bookshelves and I was walking around going, “Oh! A French coffee press! I totally need one of these!” and “Oh, honey, LOOK! Mineral oil!”
Mineral oil? Oh, go on and GUESS what we bought the LAST time we went to Ikea. That’s right! We bought a beautiful, giant cutting board to replace our old one which had developed a split. And I think the new board (which is approximately the square footage of our entire kitchen) cost a whopping $10. But we got it home and discovered that the wood was untreated, and required “oiling” before use. And we scratched our heads and said, “Oiling? With special oil? I wonder where you get that.” And then we set the cutting board aside and never used it. For a year. Because we we befuddled by the concept of oiling it.
Ahem. So this time I bought some mineral oil. And oiled my board. Ooooh, baby.
Frankly, the entire trip wore me out. This is probably why I can only take one visit to Ikea per year.