|Why bother cleaning when cars hide the dirt?|
Starting at 9:00 AM every Monday and Thursday, my fellow participants and I can be seen getting behind the wheels of our cars and sit there like members of the Heaven's Gate UFO cult waiting to be sucked into a passing spaceship. I bring my Kindle both to while away the time and to try to ignore that it's 29-degrees outside.
|This is actually scary in the rearview mirror.|
|Oz on the Hudson.|
She wasn't convinced, and soon we were putting on our coats. Now we have a semi-unspoken agreement: since this is her mother's car, my wife usually drives. Except when we were driving to Rhode Island in a snowstorm a couple of weeks ago. Then suddenly I was given the honors. On Ikea day, my wife hadn't even turned the ignition when a woman drove up beside us, then reversed, waiting for us to leave so she could pull in. I felt cheap and dirty.
Driving to Brooklyn gave us a chance to actually see the landmarks we otherwise only hear about on the morning traffic reports -- the BQE, the Hamilton Street exit, etc. All that was needed was a jackknifed tractor trailer truck and the scene would have been complete. This is what passes for exciting in my life these days.
|Ikea: The high-school cafeteria for grown-ups.|
Ikea has the most laid-back hard-sell in the business. Different areas are devoted to particular part of the house. Every possible way you could furnish, say, a kitchen is provided -- You didn't like the other one? Try this! I finally realized the secret to Ikea's success with women: It brings back memories of playing with dollhouses. For husbands who are bored out of their nut, well, there's meatballs. Everybody wins.
|The Ikea non-style.|
The Ikea items seem easy enough to put together. But when I'm the guy swinging the hammer, it makes for a sorry spectacle indeed. The one Ikea bookcase we still have has never looked quite right in all the years we've had it. There's something off about it, like the guy at the grocery store who can bag your items but isn't mentally capable of stocking the soup aisle.
|Back? Side? Stomach? You tell me.|
Between the huge layout and my wife venturing through the store like Stanley searching for Livingston, it took us about 75 minutes to find the pillows. Talk about marketing! They've got pillows for people who sleep on their back, pillows for those who sleep on their side, pillows for those who sleep on their stomach. And those pillows themselves are subdivided into different categories. (Swedes must be easier to fool.) Nowhere in the product descriptions does it say just how these pillows differ -- or which one a guy like me, who falls asleep on his back, switches to his side in the middle of the night and wakes up with his face in a puddle of drool, should purchase. After much deliberation (actually, me saying, "All these things are the same, fer Chrissakes!") we went for the backsleeper-style.
Our adventure complete, we arrived home two hours after we had left. As I predicted when we left, there was no parking space on our block, forcing us to do what 97% of Manhattan car owners do at any time -- burn up fuel as we drove around the neighborhood to find a place to park. But we had our new pillows to look forward to that night. And we didn't even have to construct them.
Just yesterday, the London Guardian reported that Ikea is opening its own hotel chain. The company promises "contemporary stylish design, approachable service and, most importantly, an affordable price." Translation: bring your own tool kit.
No word on if the maids leave Swedish meatballs on your pillow.