How is it that I live in a state without an IKEA store?
In the big wide open west, I live in an apartment that would fit a Manhattan lifestyle (meaning tiny but in an interesting neighborhood). There are many reasons: It is cheap and cozy; small spaces have always made me comfortable (growing up with a mom, dad, brother, various dogs and odd bird life in “the little house in the big woods!”) and it’s easy to come and go with my friendly landlord next door.
When I moved in 14 years ago (the only other place I have ever lived that long was the childhood home) it was to start a new job back in Albuquerque. Money was tight and my furniture shopping took place in secondhand stores on San Mateo SE—which for the most part is what has still been furnishing my place. Until now.
I discovered IKEA this year—well actually I have been a fan since all my favorite Scandinavian detectives seem to have apartments full of IKEA stuff where they sit and drink and morosely contemplate their dysfunctional lives and how to solve the latest murder.
Earlier this year, I finally went to the IKEA website and even ordered a catalogue which eventually replaced my evening bible reading. As a result the first IKEA furniture arrived at my apartment sometime last winter or spring.
Now however I have been to the real-life store in San Diego and followed the arrows and eaten the meatballs…and seen the light. Okay so everything is not actual wood (but much is…) and the style is Scandinavian minimalism and I doubt much of it lasts forever. But I love meatballs and I’m too old to worry about anything lasting forever so this furniture and household stuff is just right for my life.
Anyway, I came home from California with a car full of boxes of complex pieces of wood, fake wood, metal, glass, bolts, wrenches and nails and extremely inordinately unnecessarily complicated instructions. My kid came over and, in exchange for dinner and a beer or two, put it all together. I tell myself I could do it but the things I’ve tried have wound up with a small vital piece missing—after the point of no return. Taking apart a half-put-together IKEA bookcase or table is an impossible feat for ordinary people. To do that one must have been raised in the snow, reading serious and somber Nordic literature and only eating fish…which makes you very smart but not necessarily good at writing instructions for southerners (that would be all the people in the world living below the Arctic Circle).
So…this is my stay-at-home year, except for a road trip here and there, money usually slated for the travel fund is going to the dentist and IKEA—the latter being quite a bit more fun than the former—except when you’re in the middle of trying to put together that pesky table, chair, desk, which can feel a bit like a root canal.
I must go back to forming sentences and paragraphs and pages again about the more important things in life (Really? More important than food and IKEA? How is that possible?) both in blogs and for my re-born book project. This will be my last photo album for awhile. I hope.