Went home to see my folks last weekend, which meant that I couldn't post while I was there, and didn't have time to post before I left, and after I got back I was swamped with work so I didn't have time to post until today. But here I am finally.
I had a really nice time with the folks. Didn't "do" a whole lot except go out to lunch with different people every day. Mostly we just hung out, which is the best kind of visit. I also spent an afternoon doing girly things with my sister (shopping for skin care products and putting on makeup) which was way more fun than it ought to be.
On the way back I stopped at Ikea to do some furniture shopping. It's right on the way, you can see the building from I-95. I had never been to one before so I ended up spending 5 hours there. I guess I managed to restrain myself pretty well because I didn't buy anything I hadn't intended to. Which was a heck of a lot. In fact I had rented an SUV and it still didn't all fit. They had to strap the dining table to the roof. (In my defense I will say it was a small SUV, a Mitsubishi Outlander, so no wonder the table didn't fit). Which was a bit scary driving though rush hour traffic in DC, but I made it back fine.
The car didn't though; somewhere along the way a stone hit the windshield and knocked a chip out of it. And of course, I hadn't bought the insurance for the rental. Which was infuriating at first but really, there was nothing I could have done to avoid it. So what's the point of getting all worked up.
I guess that weighing the cost of the repair against the cost of insurance I didn't buy for every car I've ever rented, I still came out ahead. At least that's how I'm trying to look at it. I didn't tell the rental company, and they didn't say anything. So I guess I'll find out when I get the bill on my credit card statement.
Anyway, Ikea. I wanted to take a bunch of photos for Georg, but I only got about a half dozen before an employee saw me and made me stop. He seemed kind of agitated and I was afraid at first he was going to make me delete the photos from my camera. Which I don't actually know how to do without the manual, because I always use a card reader and then iPhoto deletes them automatically. But the guy was satisfied with me putting away the camera, and a fair amount of scolding about "proprietary information" and whatnot.
One scolding wouldn't have stopped me, but every time I wanted to take more photos, there were employees standing around right there. I wanted to bring Georg back a whole little tour of my Ikea experience but I actually only got the first hour or so. But I did get a couple of decent shots. So being the model citizen that I am, what else could I do with my ill-gotten photos but post them on the Internet?
Here's the entrance to the store. This photo was taken standing next to the car. I got there early (actually a couple of minutes before they opened) so I parked really close. Although there were a lot more people there than I had expected first thing on a Tuesday morning.
This is a pretty crummy photo, but since I only got a few I'm posting them all. When you walk in the door, you can go straight ahead to the "marketplace," where they sell linens, lighting and etc., or go up the stairs to the showroom. I took this photo standing at the top of the stairs looking down at the "marketplace" area. They had that cute display of outdoor furniture, but I didn't see much nice outdoor stuff actually for sale. Which was too bad because I was hoping to get some chairs & a table for our porch.
And this is the entrance to the showroom. The place is so big they had big arrows on the ground to direct you. That bin full of yellow things is big shopping bags. Which seem kind of pointless for the showroom area, almost everything you would want to put in a shopping bag is downstairs.
I liked that flat cabinet next to the TV in this one. I think it was CD and videotape storage. Which is an issue for us. Although, wall space is too, so I'm not sure where we could put that cabinet.
Here I guess I wanted to show Georg these cabinets. They're cheap-ass plastic (I mean duh, we are talking about Ikea) but really inexpensive. I wonder how hard they are to mount on a wall.
Georg has been looking for a small computer workstation with decent storage, so I wanted him to see this one. Although now that I look at the photo, I wonder where your legs are supposed to go when you use it. It's a moot point anyway because he had picked out a desk from the catalog and I got him that one. See if I had one of those camera phones, I could have sent him pictures of all the desks (lots of them weren't in the catalog) and then he could have picked the best one. Unless that pesky employee had showed up and made me stop taking photos.
As I mentioned above, CD storage has become an issue for us. So I was interested in these wall mounted CD racks. They're just translucent plastic but they mounted them over orange paper to give them this interesting color. We had already picked out a style of CD tower to buy, but each rack holds 51 CDs and only cost $4. So I bought two. (There are 13 racks on the wall in this photo.)
This is the dining table we had picked out from the catalog. It has matching chairs and a china cabinet, which weren't in the catalog I don't think so that's why I took this photo. I really liked the shape of this table, but when I got up close I realized that the "beech veneer finish" or whatever they call it looked really fake. Something about the color. I mean, it looked FAKE. Besides, I opened up the leaves and discovered that if you wanted to seat 6 people, the legs would be placed really inconveniently.
Since the leaves were somewhat problematic and the color was really off-putting, I ended up getting a different table. The one I got was round and had two leaves, that go in the middle to make a short or long oval. The legs stay on the outside so they aren't in anyone's way. It's still fake "veneer finish," but this one is fake birch, which somehow looks less cheap & phony to my eye than the fake beech. Besides, a lot of our furniture is light wood so the fake birch will match better. And the sideboard I got is in the same finish. I'll take photos of the table and sideboard I bought as soon as we get them assembled.
These bathroom cabinets are so narrow they could go behind a door. Our bathroom is severely tiny so these might work out well for us. On the other hand, I'm not sure what you could keep inside such a tiny cabinet. If it's deep enough for a roll of toilet paper, I guess that would be a help.
Our bedroom is really dark, so I was looking for bedroom lighting ideas. I thought this was great, with the lighting under the shelves. Plus special bonus, the bedspread matches a rug in the living room of a friend of mine, that I've been admiring for years. So that made the room display more appealing, so see L's rug design on the bed.
This bedroom display was OK, but didn't grab me as much as the one before. It's hard to see in the photo, but those lamps are flat with a big round bulge in the middle where the bulb goes. The lights are kind of bright, but I guess you could put softer bulbs in. They sell compact fluorescent light bulbs at Ikea for really, really cheap, so I bought several. Which I now regret, because they're really glare-y, not the soft pink or yellow ones we've been buying. Oh well, if that's the only thing I end up regretting from my Ikea shopping day, then I did pretty well.
At this point I went to take some photos of the modular shelving displays, but that's when the employee saw me and stopped me. Which is too bad because they show a lot more detail about the possible configurations in the store than they do in the catalog. I told the guy that I was taking photos for my spouse who couldn't be there, but he just pointed at the catalog in my hands and said "well you have the catalog, it's all in there!" Which it isn't, that's the point. Oh well.
My last photo was taken from outside the store. This is the rented SUV with the table strapped to the top. I wish I had gotten a photo of the hatch open so you could see how much stuff was in the back. But you can see the baskets piled up in the passenger seat so that gives you an idea of how loaded down I was.
The guy who helped me load the car was really, really nice. He told me they weren't allowed to tie down the table for me, for liability reasons, but he stood right next to me and showed me exactly how to tie it. Eventually he must have decided that he couldn't trust my knot-tying skills because he muttered something about having been an Eagle scout and started retying all the knots. Which I greatly appreciated. I tried to give him a tip but he said he couldn't take it because he's management.
OK, whew, that's my trip to Ikea. I have to say here, that I just upgraded to the newest version of Fireworks and it made processing these photos a breeze. The "batch process" command works so much better than it used to. If I had known that I would have upgraded a long time ago.