Monday, May 26, 2008

My love/hate relationship with IKEA

Oh these lo, many years ( 7/12 to be precise), I have so missed living near an IKEA - the beautiful showrooms, the cheap household goods. But now we live just 20 minutes from this fabulous store. A few weeks ago we decided to stop by this wonder of a store on the way home from Salt Lake City. It was a bad idea. My husband had been eyeing the sleek modern couches at the IKEA website and since we were driving right by the store I thought it would be a good idea to stop in. I was wrong. It was almost 5pm when we got there, so everyone was already starting to get hungry. As soon as we pulled into the parking lot my husband had a bad feeling. I brushed it off. He is way more into decorating than he was when we live in Seattle.

But here is the problem - you can't just walk in the store, go the the couches, pick one, and go to the checkout. You have to follow the maze through the all showrooms, then you have to zig zag through the household goods and finally into the self service area and to the checkout. I didn't have a problem with it. I love looking at the cool set ups in the showrooms and I love wandering through the cheap household goods, but as soon as a we walked in to the store, Rand remembered what we were up against and announced "this is why I hate this store!"

Luckily the couches were first in the show rooms, but I just couldn't pick one. There was the nice more expensive one, but it only came in red and I wasn't sure I wanted a red couch. There was the slightly cheaper one in brown and the really cheaper one that pulled out into a chaise bed, but I hated the fabric on it.

Customer Service is not a strong point for IKEA and we couldn't find anyone to tell us how we go about buying a couch (that is if I could make up my mind...) we wound our way through the rest of the showrooms and the household area with our tired and hungry children and made it to the self service area, finally finding someone to help us. But they were not very helpful. They could not figure out which couches were in stock. I was thinking that knowing which couches were in stock would help me make my decision. But Rand ran out of patience and we decided to leave.

I was actually kind of glad to have time to think over which couch I wanted to buy. We made plan to rent a trailer to go get a couch the next day. You can read about what happened when we went to pick up the trailer here.

So we get IKEA and this time we are smart enough to drop our kids off at the play area. I am still undecided about which couch to get. We do decided to go ahead and get a table and a bench, too. We get to the self service area and get the table and the bench and wait to find someone to tell us for sure which couches are in stock and how to go about buying it and holding it so our Good Samaritan can come pick it up after he is done working. It turns out that IKEA won't hold purchased items for pick up - ugh! - so I call the Good Samaritan and he says he is almost done with his job and will drive right over. So we hurry to get the couch purchase settled, sign up for a line of credit - no interest for a year :) and off we go. I follow Rand and our new best friend in his red truck containing our fabulous new furniture. All is well...

Until we get home and open the box for the table and find out that the table has a screw coming through the top of it - aaaaah! I call customer service (remember not one of IKEA's strong suits) and go round about telling them that we need them to bring us a new part because there is no way we can bring the piece back - it won't fit in either one of our cars even if we take it out of the box. Finally after 2 days they decide to UPS us the part, but they won't guarantee that the part won't be damaged by UPS - OK, fine. But several days later, they call back and say the part they have doesn't match the part I described and that I will have to bring the piece back, but that they will give me a $30 gift card... OK, fine whatever. We ask around at church and find someone with a truck. Sheesh, that was difficult, but look at my beautiful new couch and table.

P.S. the part on the new table was exactly the same as the part on the old table except that it didn't have a screw poking through the top...

Friday, May 23, 2008

Living and learning

Even though the boxes are mostly gone, I still haven't gotten in the mood to do school with the girls. It's been a good 6 weeks since we have done any formal school stuff. And now I am feeling more like getting out and doing summer stuff than hitting the books. Of course, my mom keeps asking me when I am going to start back up with school and "won't they be behind" if I don't.

Here are just a few of the educational things my girls have done in the last 6 weeks:

*learned about how a car engine works while watching their dad fill up the oil in the car before the 8 hour car ride (Sierra)

* listened to the entire book Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry during the 8 hour car ride from Colorado to Utah

*began copying entire chapters of Magic Tree House books into a notebook (Sierra and Kali)

* watched Cyberchase

* watched Time Warp Trio

*planted a garden

* Sierra read the first Magic Tree House book to Arwen.

* listened to 3 books on tape in a single afternoon

* found an ant hill and got out the magnifying glasses and spent an afternoon observing the little creatures

* wrote stories to go along with their princess coloring books that they bought with the $1 of allowance that they mathematically convinced me that they still had left after the previous day's spending.

Those were the moments I observed. I am sure there were many learning moments that I missed. At least right now, I feel confident the my kids are not "behind" - whatever that means. Let summer time beginning! There may be some learning moments planned by me, but there will be many more that happen on their own during this lovely time of year we call summer.

Friday, May 16, 2008

You know you live in Utah when...'re standing in a gas station trying to rent a trailer to go pick up a new couch and the clean cut window washer guy waiting behind you in line offers to meet you at IKEA and drive your couch home in his truck. And then refuses to take the gas money you offer him after he helps your husband carry the huge thing into your house...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Last of the Boxes

Well, this is it that last pile of boxes. Many of them are empty, but we have yet to get rid of them. I freecycled most of them. We don't have room to store them :( which is very unfortunate since we are only planning on staying in this place a year... Our garage can has been full since the day we moved in. Tomorrow is garage day - Woo Hoo, but I already have 3 full bags to put in it after it is emptied. Luckily our ward is have a clean up day on Saturday and will have dumpsters available at the church. I can't wait. After that we will only have 3 more boxes to unpack. They contain miscellaneous stuff of Rand's that he has yet to sort though. He has been busy working, ya know :)

It has been very interesting to try and squeeze the amount of stuff we had in a 1848 sq ft house with an unfinished garage and basement into a 1688 sq ft place with no garage or basement. We were so spoiled!

I thought about live blogging this move, but I was a little too busy unpacking to think about taking pictures and loading them onto the computer and taking time to blog. I am so lazy that way.Here are some of the highlights of the last 2 weeks:

*Arriving in Utah at 12:30 am and scrambling to find a place for the girls and us to sleep amongst the piles of boxes.

*Getting up at 6:00 am the next day to drive Rand to his first day of teaching, so he would have time to find his classroom and won't have to find a place to park.

*Arwen vomiting in the car just as we arrive at the University's parking lot.

*Stripping my 5 year old in the parking lot of the University at 6:30 in the morning.

*Meeting our landlady for the first time at 7am, looking gorgeous I am sure with my " I just drove for 8 hours, got no sleep" look with my naked 5 year old getting out of the car.

*Creatively finding places to store all of kitchen stuff in a much smaller kitchen

*Creatively finding places to store all the rest of our stuff in a much smaller house

* Did I mention that we have way too much stuff!

* Unpacking and unpacking and unpacking, day after day while we were all sick (Luckily only Arwen was vomiting, the rest of us were just coughing up lungs)

*Losing track of the day, the week, the month, What year is it again?

* Eating fast food for way too many days in a row.

*Walking to church - yep, the church just is 2 houses away.

*Going to Salt Lake City so Rand could be interviewed by a General Authority

*Stopping by IKEA on the way home

*Going to IKEA the next day to buy a table and a couch (An adventure in itself that deserves its own post... or 2)

*Finally figuring out what day it is and thinking that I was ready to get back to regular life and school for the girls on Monday.

*Noticing all of the learning the girls have done on their own while I have been unpacking and deciding to wait another day... or 2... or 3 to start back with school stuff... or maybe just call this an early summer vacation...

* Finally getting around to blogging about the move and thus putting off everything else that needs to be done before I can feel settled in.