May 4, 2004

We've moved. We need new STUFF. Some of it we really do need, like a dining room table, a place to put the telephone other than the floor and a toilet scrub brush, but other things we could really live without. We could find these things anywhere, yet we decided to punish ourselves with the Hell that is Ikea. We visited Ikea at least a dozen times when we first moved here, each time vowing to never return. We stay away just long enough to forget how the long drive, the insane crowd, the long lines, and the cheap products aren't worth it, but then we move again and we say "Hey, I we need a _____, and I bet Ikea has one." And inevitably they do. And we don't like it. And we buy a hundred other things instead and swear we will never go back.

We started our adventure on Sunday by taking the wrong highway and turning a would-be 45 minute trip into an almost two hour tour of the Northern Illinois suburbs. We arrived in Shaumburg (the most typical name for a suburb if I've ever heard one) and prepare for battle in the poorly designed SUV packed parking lot. Millions of angry Sweedish design loving drivers stalk the first few parking rows, ready to fight to the death for the closest available space rather than (God forbid) WALK an extra 25 yards from the (gasp) back of the lot! After escaping a near-fatal parking spot duel with a fat angry man in an Expedition, we decided we could stand to stretch our legs and parked at the end of a row and walked to the inviting yellow and blue door (while fat Expedition man was still waiting for the spot).

The three levels of plastic, metal and wood are a madhouse of confusion and excitement. Every man, woman, and child must have their own shopping cart, and they all must walk in opposite directions, irradically stopping and going. We were exhausted before we'd even made it to floor two. We had a list of 20+ pieces of furniture and items we "needed", but managed to leave the store confused, tired and poor with a mere two items crossed off. Ikea seduced us with her inexpensive and brightly colored housewares, and then kicked us out with no money for a cab-ride home. We still need that telephone table, a couch and a dining room table, but at least Hubb has an alarm clock that records his voice and we have a bright red dot of a rug in the middle of our kitchen. And the toilet bowl brush. At least we didn't forget that.

I swear we're never going back.

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