Lucy and Ethel go furniture shopping

I am currently sitting at my desk with a cat sitting in a prominent spot upon the surface. That is so that she can successfully block at least part of my monitor. The fact that Chernobyll is only partially successful in her attempt to completely block my view is that I finally have the desk I have always wanted, or a close facsimile. My new desk has space for my printer, my monitor, storage for papers, office supplies and all three cats at once, if they chose to grace me with their presence simultaneously. It is attached to a massive 16 cube shelving unit that offers ample storage or space to put something decorative. My old desk was a small glass topped unit, that was always overflowing with stuff I was working on, plus a napping cat. I could never keep the surface looking clean as the glass seemed impervious to all attempts of finger or cat paw print removal.

My new desk and a new sofa are thanks to a modest tax refund which I delightfully received this year. Really wanting to replace the sad little loveseat and my wobbly glass top desk, Megan and I, the Lucy and Ethel of Home repairs and decorating made the trip to Charlotte. I wanted the desk, if we found a sofa I liked at a price that wouldn’t take the rest of my refund, I wanted it too. Besides we had her Oldsmobile Bravada. Everything would easily fit inside, we assured ourselves.

For those of you who have never entered the domain of an Ikea showroom, let me attempt to describe it to you. It is like crack for Home décor lovers. You can Overdose on all those beautiful things for your home, five minutes after entering the store. They sell everything. You can buy furniture, linens, flooring, toys, lamps, picture frames, dishes, kitchen cabinets, kitchen appliances office storage containers, candles and more. There are whole room displays where you can imagine just how your kitchen, bedroom or living room would look with all those beautiful items arranged just so. Walking out of the place empty handed takes much more willpower then I will ever have. Which is why I am glad I live over an hour away from the nearest store. The quality isn’t always upper tier, but the construction is usually quite decent, and the design trendy and modern. For those of us on tiny budgets and big decorating taste, its a great place to shop.

I found the sofa I wanted 90 seconds after entering the showroom. I had been eying this sofa on the Ikea website for months. There it sat, in a whole room display, in the color I wanted, and cheaper then it was listed for on-line. We powered through the crowd of shoppers to the office furniture section and picked out the desk I wanted, then moved towards the pick-up area, discovering an item here and there along the way, that would also be nice to have. At the pickup area, we got a cart and found the aisles where the desk was housed. Another quirk of Ikea, is that all large items are boxed for easy transport and stored in a large customer accessible warehouse. You can have things shipped, but most opt to take their purchases home themselves.

We checked out with a couch, a large bookcase/desk unit, a coffee table and a few small items. Now all that was left was to to load it all easily into the Bravada. Everything fit into the back, Tetris style, except for one section of the couch. Thankfully Ikea also sells luggage rack tie downs. I never considered that we may need such a thing. Seeing that the store sold tie downs, conveniently located near the registers, gave a strong hint that I was not the only one who has seriously underestimated what they would be purchasing. We strapped that bad boy to the roof rack and home to Spartanburg we went. The couch section did, at one point, attempt to list to port, so we pulled into a gas station and I purchased one more tie down, a monster of a tie down, with a keyed locking system. We applied that monster tie down to the sofa section, then made it home without further incident Then it was time to begin the process of off loading. We did not have the helpful Ikea staff member helping to load. We did enlist the aid of the neighbor across the street for formerly roof riding couch piece. It was rather awkward and beyond the capabilities of my decrepit back for me to help carry. Everything else we managed on our own. My back complained bitterly by bedtime for the workout it had suffered.

We spent the rest of the afternoon and most of the evening putting everything together. Ikea has ingeniously anticipated the purchasing of their products and have made all instructions Lucy and Ethel proof, meaning that the instructions are easy to understand, numbered photos. The most tools one needs other then the Allen wrenches provided is a Phillips head screwdriver. Even so both of us were a bit surly at the end of the day, especially Megan, as she is undoubtedly better at these sort of things then I am. Her patience with me was nearing its end right about the time for us to have the last item completed.

My front porch is now filled with cardboard boxes awaiting its removal to the nearest recycling center and my old desk is disassembled. It is sort of promised to someone, but I am not sure if it is sturdy enough to survive a move to a new home. My old loveseat was supposed to be moved to the office, but we couldn’t navigate it down my L-shaped hallway or through the small interior door into the office. It is still in the living room providing extra seating if needed. More likely it will be the gathering spot for Megan’s books, jackets and other items, like it always has been. She’ll take it with her when she gets her first apartment in the future.

I am thankful that my youngest child is willing to help me out with the projects that I rope her into. Whether she realizes it, her assistance has helped me in ways I have needed. She’s a good sport helping me, even though my ineptness at things do tend to frustrate her. Her being my assistant, or in reality my being hers, has helped me to realize that I can actually take care of my home, and repair or replace what I need to. A few months ago I was quite apprehensive to the idea of any small home care task. Now my confidence is growing. For that I am grateful to my youngest and to all my children for their encouragement and and moral support. I know that soon Megan will be striking out on her own, and this chapter of life as a parent will finally end. My youngest, like my other two children before her, has grown into a competent, capable adult. I know that when the day comes, and she starts her new post college life that she will be quite ready.

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