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An Eight Hour Circular Road Trip In Which We Stop Twice At the Same IKEA

Kathryn Thompson

The kids have been on midwinter break for the past several days and they asked me the first day, “What are we going to DO?”

I wanted the break to be fun and I wanted to do some cool activities but I also had a bunch of stuff I needed to get done and tons of other school districts had the long weekend off too so I didn’t want to fight huge crowds at major attractions around town.

On Friday morning, I greeted them with news of a fun adventure.  “Kids,” I said, “We are going to IKEA!”

They looked at me blankly.

“You love IKEA!  Remember the ball room!?  This will be super fun.”

“Mom, they won’t let me in the ball room anymore because I’m too old,” Laylee said.

“I don’t want to go in the playroom,” whined Magoo, just recently suffering from some separation anxiety.

“Meatballs!” I cheered, “Get in the car.”

So we headed out in search of draperies and gadgets and more organizational tools than I can possibly fit in my house.  The drive was long and the minions were restless.  It takes about an hour to get to IKEA from where we live.

After discussing it for about three years in the lobby, the big kids finally decided they wanted to go into the playroom rather than watch me look at fabric swatches while Wanda bawled for an hour.  So I got them registered and labeled with stickers and then Magoo melted down and clung to my legs.  So we took off the stickers and canceled the registration and walked around together with the assurance that they would never, not ever, whine or ask me when we would be finished.

After about 5 minutes, Magoo asked if we were almost done.  “No,” I repeated every 5 minutes, tapering down to every 1.5 minutes near the end, for the next hour and a half.  We bought many things, including a new dining room table that will be less likely to tip over when Wanda dances on top of it.  Meatballs were consumed.  I think they were Swedish.  So were the red gummy fish.

All in all, it was not a horrible trip.  We fit everything in the car, even the children, and headed back home.  It was late afternoon and traffic was starting to congeal on the major roadways.  I was pleased to be getting out of it.  Wanda only screamed for part of the way before slipping into a Swedish fish coma and in an hour we were home.

Magoo said, “I hate IKEA.”

I said, “We don’t have to go there again for a long time.”

He said, “I think we should go there again…. never.”

I unloaded the kids and the storage containers and the water goblets.  I unloaded the new table parts and then removed them from their packaging so I could get the whole thing assembled before Dan came home.

The table was only missing one piece, nothing important really, just one of the four legs.

The legs were solid wood and weighed probably 10 lbs. each but that didn’t stop me from shaking the cardboard boxes and packaging materials several times, hoping the missing leg would magically drop out.  No dice.

The nice young man at the IKEA phone service help line said he could mail me a leg in 7-10 business days but I knew I’d never be able to keep the other pieces safe that long now that I’d so completely demolished the packaging materials.  I needed that leg.

So Magoo’s “never” came sooner than he had hoped.  When I told them we were heading back to IKEA, he bawled his little eyes out.  To soften the blow, I agreed to pull out the travel DVD player that we save only for road trips.  Essentially, this had turned into a giant road trip. 

In total, the trip took about 8 hours, including the stops at IKEA and at our house. The only differences between this and our usual road trips were that we weren’t really going anywhere, the bulk of the trip was spent in congested traffic, there were no road trip games or presents, and the children were forced to spend hours looking at particle board.  In short, it ranked somewhere below Disneyland on their scale of awesomeness. 

But I fondly welcome Norden to the family.  We’ve had him for 4 days and have incurred zero table-dancing-related injuries to date.

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