Thursday, September 25, 2008

I guess I've given myself enough of a honeymoon hiatus.

A couple people have mentioned that I haven't blogged in quite a while.  And, I guess that would be true.  I had allowed myself a break for the wedding and honeymoon.  
So, both of those are over and I'm halfway through my first week of being an at-home wife.  Jer started back to work Monday.  I've busied myself bringing order to our little apartment.  I've been somewhat successful, but there are still several trouble spots I need to figure out how to organize. 

Anyone that knows Jeremy and I, knows that we are a bit obsessed with books.  I moved 25 boxes and he had something near that already here.  We both knew that our first major purchase for our home needed to be a bookcase.  For our wedding gift, my grandma and aunt kindly gave us the money to purchase a beautiful double-sided, 6 ft square Ikea bookcase that we'd admired in the home of some friends.  The even more impressive feature is that it can double as a room divider.  We planned to put the bookcase between our dining area and our desks so we could create a quasi-office area.  

Originally we'd hoped to just order the bookcase online and get it shipped, but the shipping was one and half times the cost of the actual piece which made the purchase astronomical.  While on our honeymoon up in MI, we decided that our best chance was to drive over to Bolingbrook, IL and visit Ikea before we returned home.  If we'd known the circumstances to follow that decision, we would have probably just driven the hour and a half home and forgotten our plan.

We left around 9 last Thursday morning from our cozy little cottage and started our 2 1/2 hour drive to Ikea.  Everything was going along well until we reach I-80W and we were suddenly funneled onto another road.  We'd been so out of the loop that we didn't know about the flooding on I-80.  We stopped for directions at a truck stop and headed toward Chicago (now as the navigator, I had hoped we could avoid the actual Chicago area) and eventually onto the Dan Ryan Expressway.  Thankfully the time of day wasn't terrible and we arrived at our destination just about 30 minutes past schedule.  We sat in the huge parking lot eating our lunch of leftovers from our dinner out the night before.  Then, we headed in.

Neither of us knew what to expect, so we plunged in hoping it wouldn't be too hard to find what we knew we wanted.  Jer was hoping for more of a Costco layout where all the sofas are in the same area, all the dressers in another, etc.  Not so.  We made our way to the second floor which was the display floor.  We wandered in what seemed like endless circles (there are helpful arrows on the floor to guide you through every display alcove before you can finally be free to head back downstairs into another maze of things with signs encouraging you that you're going the right way) looking at office layouts and kitchens we could only dream of, and occasionally we'd hit pockets of like furniture together (sleek, comfy chairs we wanted to bring home) and then finally we found the Expedit bookcase system we wanted.  We'd been instructed upon entering that we needed to write down the aisle and bin number for any self service furniture--which we learned the bookcase would be.  So, we continued on and on and on and on (I actually took a brief sit-down because I was getting tired and I couldn't figure out how to get out of there).  At the sight of the rows of self-service furniture we grabbed a flat-bed cart and found the three boxes holding bookcase parts.  

We barely got all the boxes wedged into the back of our Accord wagon and we were back on the road.  I failed to mention earlier, but Dad had been quite helpful when discussing directions around the Chicago area.  I'd consulted him and my Chicago-area map several times.  In fact, the map and I were getting to know each other quite well.  As it was nearing rush-hour traffic time in Chicago it didn't make sense for J and I to head back the way we came.  So, we gamely set out for home with the original directions that routed us along the fated I-80.  Several miles before the I-80/I-94 exit the interstate had flashing signs indicating our impending detour along 394.  I searched for alternate routes on the map and there really wasn't a good one.  We continued on.  I can't remember exactly all that happened on our return trip.  Jer stopped at a gas station to get a drink.  I turned down that bathroom break because it looked to be one of those gas stations with outside entrance restrooms which are nearly always sketchy.  Later we were stopped along side a truck that every time the brakes were applied or let up on, it sounded like a high-pitched gas noise.  Even still later we stopped at another gas station to fill up the car and so I could take a bathroom break and I thought we were going to get supper, but since we stopped at the gas station first Jer said, "I'm assuming we're just going to keep going."  I almost cried I wanted to be out of the car so badly.  All I know is that J and I were in stop and go traffic with everyone else that had hoped to travel along I-80 for 3 1/2 hours of our 5 hour return trip (under normal circumstances, it should take just over 2 hours to make that trip).  It was excruciating!  Jeremy was sick of driving and I was sick of navigating (I had to figure out the quickest way for us to be out of that traffic, which took some careful map study.  Dad, you would have been proud!), surprisingly, we weren't sick of each other yet. 

Okay, so that's the saga of getting it home.  Friday we set aside time to build the bookcase.  We don't have a particularly large space to build something so big, but we did the best we could in our living room area.  We carefully followed the assembly instructions.  Found the tools we needed and laid out all the boards.  The basic design is that each of the four corners has 2 screws in it and the rest of the cube-shaped shelves were held together by wooden pegs.  Well, we encountered our first issue when we moved it some and the pegs loosened.  By the third side we were tired and having a hard time getting everything to fit as tightly as we wanted.  We couldn't get the screws to fit in the third end and the pegs weren't sliding into the pre-drilled holes.  Jer and I pushed and pushed.  We tapped somewhat gently with a hammer and we knocked at it with our hands.  It was infuriating.  Finally we worked it on most of the way and when I looked at the side, we'd bashed holes in it!  I audibly gasped.  But by that time there was absolutely nothing we could do.  Quite deflated we finished building the thing and with much effort got it off the floor and the ugly side pushed against the wall.  

Jeremy looked at me and said, "I think that whole trip yesterday just kind of got to me." We had a lot of pent up energy surrounding that bookcase. 

It's a sad saga, but true.  And despite our endless frustrations with this newest and largest piece of furniture, it is serving the very need we planned.  On the side facing our dining area, Jeremy arranged all of our religious books, our paperback books, and a few miscellaneous books.  On the side facing our desks I arranged all my fiction, non-fiction, writing, and young adult books.  And in case anyone is wandering, we are complete nerds and we know it!

I'll try to be more regular with my postings, especially now that I live far away from you all.


Heather L. said...

So great to hear from you! What an IKEA story!!! So sorry! Michael and I love IKEA and have lovely memories from Scotland. I think we bashed the side in on one newly acquired piece over there too. Ugh!

nancy said...

Hello Dears...
wish i could have been in the back seat to whisper directions to that's my neighborhood...but it has been a mess lately. did you take route 30 home by chance?
it's ok, i'm a nerd too.
your day was wonderful! good to see you back here!

Anonymous said...

OK it looks like you passed your first test as young marrieds...the world's longest trip home without dispatching each other. Thanks for the blog update I knew this story was too good to keep to yourselves.


PS good job on the map I guess my work really is complete ;-)

Rebecca said...

Oh My!!! I can't believe you made it home. What a story to tell the generations. :) I'm glad everything is going well. Miss you!

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