Things that give me a headache

Shopping makes me hyperventilate.

i despise it.  Yet sometimes, it is necessary.  After putting off purchasing furniture for my dining room and bedroom for about three years*, i was overdue.

Acquiring the services of Irish, one of my gentleman friends, with the perfect attributes, i was ready.  Namely? Manly trucks and trailers PLUS a metrosexual propensity to like furniture shopping.  “It’s just Ikea”, he said.  “How hard can it be?”  But i planned my purchases for a month.  Measuring this and that, determining whether we’d need to bring his trailer for the bundles of flat-pack boxes or if the big truck would be sufficient.

Hyperventilation started as soon as we entered the store.  “Why are these people smiling?  Do they ENJOY this?”  He calmed me down by getting me an ice cream cone, patting me gently on the head, and shepherding me to the escalator.  i really started tweaking by the time we were in the dining room display area…

Letting Irish do most of the design adjustments**, i mostly took notes on item numbers and locations for pick up in the self-service warehouse.  Interspersed with moments of hyperventilation, we finally made it to the pick up area.  Where naturally, they only had three of the dining chairs out that i wanted to purchase. 

Sending him off to get the table, i asked the clerk if there were any more available.  Striking out, we met up at the check out, with two full flatbed carts of furniture and a shopping cart full of miscellaneous stuff.  “Check to make sure all of the numbers match”, he said, as he pulled two carts into a checkout line.


After we unloaded the cartons into my place, he headed out to run errands.  To repay him for services rendered, i was planning to fix dinner, and he’d be returning at eight.  Which left me about four hours to put together a dining room table and chairs upon which to serve the food.

Starting with the table, i pulled it from the carton – to find it was the wrong item.  Round.  Not the square i intended to buy.

“Son of a flat-packed bitch!”  Yep.  Should have checked those numbers as he’d suggested.  So i improvised, and we managed dinner at the bar in the kitchen.  i’ll have to make a return trip this weekend.  As much as i hate shopping, i hate returning even more. 

Over the course of the week, i’ve managed to get my bedroom stuff assembled, while cutting and hacking my limbs in a thousand different ways.   Wrenched my back, too.  But it looks better.  And the dresser doesn’t lean to the left. 

Almost three years after i moved here?  It’s almost done.  Well, at least the upstairs…  Won’t be tackling the downstairs until i stop hyperventilating.

pic found here.  best to enlarge it, unless you’ve got really good eyes. 

* Leftover bits and pieces from my old house worked just fine.  There’s nothing wrong with using old living room end tables for a night stand or two.  And that dresser that we bought from WalMart?  It worked fine, once you got used to the fact that it listed about 30 degrees to port…

** The table that i’d chosen for use as the coffee bar in my bedroom?  Uuuuuugly.  So he found something that worked better, and i simply said “Whatever”. 

42 thoughts on “Things that give me a headache

    • Neither of us are particularly marriageable! And i usually find some satisfaction in assembly of furniture. Makes me feel like a master carpenter when i see something i built assembled with my own hands!

  1. Now see, this is why I really don’t “get” Ikea. When I go shopping for furniture, I expect that some person in a sweatshop in a third world country will have already put it together for me. I have never in my life bought a piece of furniture that had to be assembled when it got to my home.

    I go and buy things that are comfortably glued and screwed, and while they are rather bulky in nature, it has been my experience that the places that sell these items are fully equipped with large delivery vans that are operated by massive and muscular young people who will heave and hoist and place and move crap around until the item is in the place I wish it to be. Then they leave, with their truck and all the packing material.

    I find this the civilized way to achieve new furniture.

    And I hate shopping. And returning. With a passion. So I like going somewhere where I point at a table and say “I like this one” and then they bring me that table. It usually is the right size and shape when it arrives at my home.

    • i love Ikea, conceptually. especially because it’s inexpensive, simple, and well designed. and the craftsmanship is pretty good… the bonus? everyone seems to have it, making it un-trendy in some ways because it’s so ubiquitous. what it really gets down to? i don’t like spending money on high quality furniture. this is sort of my compromise… sure, i’m depriving some under-age worker in a far away country his paycheck, but at least i’m keeping a Swede in meatballs!

  2. We’ve managed to furnish about half of our house in the 11 years we’ve lived here, so I’m right there with you. We’ve been anguishing over bedroom furniture for about three years now. But I love putting stuff together. And I have a truck. Unfortunately, once we discovered how easy it is to have people bring stuff to your house and put it where you want it, we find it very hard to go back.

    • part of the problem is that i had functional ‘stuff’ when i moved here. the solid ash table my husband and i bought decades ago. the oak desk. but i don’t LIKE this furniture any longer… so i’ve also had to find people who want this stuff – yep, giving it away. which is surprisingly harder than you’d think. Some of it has to go to goodwill, but i can’t just throw it out. well, except maybe that WalMart dresser.

      i’m not sure i’ve ever had furniture delivered… probably that table, and the desk, and the major appliances along the way, but it was so long ago, i don’t remember.

  3. I’ll be round on Tuesday to assemble it for you, any chance of a hot lunch to be going on with, and maybe a cold beer later when I take you out to dinner?

    • Oh, dear. Irish was treated to a bit of dessert, as well as dinner and a cold beer… and he didn’t even put the furniture together. i think we’d have some explaining to do!

  4. the last time i was at ikea, i had borrowed a big ole jeep type car, got directions over to oakland and drove in san francisco traffic for the first time in maybe 20 years. anyway, i called the MITM (who was in savannah) and we discussed purchases (he was looking at stuff online) oh, yeah, none of it was for me, i was re-doing an apartment for one of the coconut krewe. (long story there, but not mine to tell) anyway, it was not fun. i forgot that after loading it in, i was going to have to unload the flats at the flat and somehow manage to get all the boxes up to the 2nd floor…thankfully, a neighbor took pity and helped me.

    i’ve not purchased another flatbox item from ikea since. xoxoxoxox

    • it was/is. but since i hate spending money on ‘stuff’, this is a reasonable option. there is pain. there are more dollars available for holidays. it works. i lose a few saturdays. life is good!

  5. The only thing I’m allowed to put together anymore is bookshelves. Otherwise the hubby is spoiled and gets everything already built and pays to have them assemble it.
    I used to return stuff but the hubby insists on donating things. Good man..
    Hope they had the correct table for you.

    • Hubby is, indeed, a gem! i try to find homes for my useable used stuff – or it goes to Goodwill. and yes, i got the table i wanted. it’s still strapped to the roof of my car until i get my nerves steadied for the next round of assembly!

  6. I’m digging on the whole “on-line” experience. Ordering stuff from Costco and getting it shipped to my house. Beats knocking elbows with the great unwashed, let me tell you!

    Having said that, I’ve done the Ikea thing. I hate putting that shit together though. And I’m kinda handy.

    Trucks? Got three of ’em on the place, although one is not road legal. Can’t beat having your own pick-me-up for whenever you need it.

    • the nice thing about this catalog/simple furniture stuff? you pretty much know what you’re getting. i think if i could have ordered what i wanted from the catalog, i’d have had it delivered.

      for some reason, i ‘get’ the ikea assembly thing. i think it’s because i’m a ‘handy wannabe’ – not truly skilled, but proficient, with tools. and once i study the parts/holes/things in the box? i can visualize how it all works…

      my next car will be a suburu outback wagon. and i shall haul my own crap.

    • i should. but part of the problem is that i don’t have an eye for furniture design/layout. i would go to a showroom and buy an entire room, complete with wall art and knick knacks.

  7. I showed my husband this blog, highlighting your comment, “They make it really hard to screw up” and then cracked up. Oh, that felt good. Let’s just say that some people can screw up anything. (Actually, Adam and I both tried to put together an Ikea side table years ago, and it was the biggest fiasco you’ve ever seen.)

    • it’s critical to spend a good bit of time looking at stuff. just looking at it. matching up the parts to the page in the instruction booklet. everything fits together one way. but unfortunately if you mess up step 1? you’re hosed by step 9…

  8. Just a brief pause to reflect reflect on what a cool name “Irish” is. Plus, if your blog was a book, it’d be on the top shelf of my red BILLY ikea bookshelf, recently bolted to wall to mark the permanency of relationship with Sexy Furniture-Assembling Boyfriend. Sigh.

    • That’s his call sign because he’s a scrappy lad from Limerick, Ireland. Wandered over to these united states about 25 years ago, and stubbornly held on to the delicious accent – because it gets him laid, i think.

      i don’t bolt the stuff to the wall, though. i can’t commit….

  9. Ha ha… I love Flatpack Hell! I also never assemble furniture. I once failed to fit a new ironing board cover on my ironing board so there’s no way I’d attempt a cupboard or anything like that.

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