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Tag Archives: sweetandweak

Relationship Status: Survived a Trip to IKEA

My wife and I recently celebrated 12 years of marriage.  I know to some that is a long time and to others we are still relatively new at this.  Here is the thing though, I think 12 calendar years is probably equivalent to at least 20-25 IKEA years.  What I mean  is that this 12 year accomplishment  deserves your applause because during that time we probably made at least 20 trips to IKEA.  IKEA is like the Swedish Wal-Mart where healthy loving relationships go to die.

Tools? We don't need no stinking tools!

Tools? We don’t need no stinking tools!

I guess one of the good things about IKEA is that the golf pencil and little paper tape measure are free, especially since the marriage counseling is going to be so expensive. I mean, if they would let you take a plate of those delicious horse meat meatballs into the showroom I would go there by myself on a Saturday just to watch couples melt down in public.  I am pretty sure that any husband can agree that the 4 words that can strike fear into even the bravest of souls when spoken in an IKEA are “what do you think?’  WHAT DO I THINK?? EJECT, EJECT, SAVE YOURSELVES I’M DEAD ALREADY.  What I think is that after 20 seconds in that place we are all drunk on sleek design and functionality and that intoxication will soon wear off when we realize no number of multi-tool organizational shelving units will make the inside of our house look like the showroom there.  Of course that isn’t what I said.  What I said was, I think it is great, I think everything in here is great.  I think if we get this dining room desk /storage unit with hidden drawers and special built-in lights that take light bulbs that cannot be purchased anywhere else on the planet it will probably solve most of our problems.  Que meltdown.

At IKEA this is like finding Super Mario's secret warp zone to world 8-1.

At IKEA this is like finding Super Mario’s secret warp zone to world 8-1.

Those Swedes think of everything though, because it is hard to look all pissed when you are storming off pushing a cart with 4 swivel wheels and you have to Tokyo drift around the corner to avoid knocking over a display of 4000 glass tea light holders.  The also know that any little argument can easily fade away when you turn the corner and both marvel at the 200 square foot living space.  Suddenly you want to trade your big house in the suburbs for a broom closet because how cool is all of this stuff?

I need to be honest though, while it is possible that IKEA can present some unique relationship challenges, they do have some cool stuff; no Viking helmets but cool stuff none the less.  We have some of their cool stuff in our house and most of the time the joy of new furniture is enough to quell the in store disputes and bring everyone back to a happy place before the put together meltdown occurs.

I think we all know about the put together meltdown.  I am a pretty handy guy I fix stuff and know my way around a tool box but that really doesn’t matter when it comes to Swedish engineering.  There is no piece of IKEA furniture in our house that wasn’t halfway assembled then taken apart and reassembled because I had something upside down or backwards or inside out. You would think that the only  problem with that would be the increased amount of time to complete the build and the addition of a few 4 letter words to your kid’s vocabulary but the real problem is this:

Once she learned the new curse words it was time to let her take over.

Once she learned the new curse words it was time to let her take over.

Furniture from IKEA is not designed to be taken apart and put back together.  With the re-screwing or allen wrenching or whatever you call it of each bolt with that multi-tool the structural integrity is compromised.  So basically after a 6 pack of beer, 2 cut knuckles, a kid wondering what that word meant and a bucket of tears (mine not there’s) you wind up with a bedside table that is capable of holding an alarm clock and a pencil and anything heavier than that causes the legs to wobble.

They say that whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and I think that this can be applied to relationships for sure.  Arguing in IKEA can be pretty weak but getting home and lounging on your new futon/file cabinet/spice rack is totally sweet.

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Not Letting Us Put Princess High Heels on the Dog and Other Ways Dad Ruins Our Life

What do you mean I can't go to my sister's school performance dressed like this?

What do you mean I can’t go to my sister’s school performance dressed like this?

I have often joked that if Hollywood made a movie about my life, the actor that would play me would be whoever is best at walking around the house turning off lights and forgetting to put a new trash bag in the can.  It’s funny how paying an electric bill can turn you into your own father.  I used to always wonder what the big deal was during the summer when he would yell at us to SHUT THE DOOR!  Now any time a door is open for more than 4 seconds it just looks like a $10 bill waving goodbye.  So I get it dad.  It took me a while but I totally get it.

I also get that sometimes you need to let your kid help with a home repair project even if all you let them do is hold the flashlight and sigh when the space in the cabinet under the sink goes dim right as you get a grip on the part of the disposal you were working on just to see your kid shining the flashlight into their mouth to see if it will come out of their ears and nose.  Sometimes being a dad means you have to take your daughter into a public bathroom and answer questions about the urinal or suck it up and smile while you fork over $18 for a bag of popcorn at the circus.  Other times being a dad means you have to tell them no when they want to put lip stick on the dog or bring the fish with us to the grocery store, “can’t we just put them in a bag like when we brought them home from the pet store?”

For me, being a dad of daughters means that sometimes I have to ease out of my comfort zone and play “bad cop” even when they act like not letting them push the button on something just ruined their entire life.  It also means helping find missing shoes and honing my negotiation skills trying to talk my little one into putting down the magic marker.  It can be about explaining why you can’t just put down a Popsicle on the table because climbing onto the kitchen counter requires both hands and it can be about threatening to turn the car around and drive home when you are 4 hours into a drive to Disney World and back seat sibling rivalry has reached an apex.

Being a dad can be about cleaning up messes and saying no and checking prices of diapers on Amazon instead of perusing watercraft on boattrader.com.  Fatherhood can include all kinds of stuff that I could deem “weak” but guess what? Those kind of problems are like hardly having enough room on your bedroom floor to set up the GI Joe Aircraft carrier.  They pale in comparison and are blown away by the awesomeness of fatherhood.  The sweet always outweighs the weak.  The good guys always win.

Being a dad means you get to freak your wife out with stuff like this.

Being a dad means you get to freak your wife out with stuff like this.

You see, being a dad means getting to carry 40 lbs of unadulterated happiness on your shoulders while you feel her ice cream cone drip on your head. It means seeing the magic that only lives inside of a Christmas morning smile.  It means getting to be a hero, prince charming, and the guy that can make everything good again.

I’ve been a dad for 7 years and although I didn’t know it when I was a kid hoping to be a baseball player or an archaeologist (I spelled that on the first try by the way), this is what I wanted to be when I grew up.  Being a dad means seeing tears dry when you kiss a boo-boo and standing alone in the street yelling “you’re doing it! you’re doing it all by yourself! keep peddling!”  It means putting up a tent in the living room or making a pallet of blankets and watching an ordinary Friday turn into the greatest day ever.

I remember when I was a kid that no matter how bad I messed something up or how hard a task seemed, when dad came to help I knew it was going to work out.  Now I get to be that guy.  The one that in two little pairs of blue eyes, can do no wrong.  I know it may only be in the opinions of my kids but I’ve got to tell you, it feels pretty awesome to be awesome.  It can be a lot of work and the return on investment may not always translate on a spreadsheet but when the fruit of your labor is rewarded with smiles and cheers and “I love you daddy’s” there isn’t much this planet has to give that is any better.

I don’t do it right all of the time and agree that being a parent can be the hardest thing in the world sometimes but if I had any advice to share with other dad’s out there it would be to not rush past the pay off.  Realize that what you do not only matters but it shapes those little people who call you daddy and has a pretty huge impact on the kind of people that they will become. Don’t let fatherhood feel like nothing but a job.  Enjoy the pay-off of your labor. Smile with them, laugh with them, put a flashlight into your own mouth and see if it will shine out of your ears and nose.  Recognize in the moment that this is what it is about and don’t rush onto the next.  Take the time to make a snuggle sandwich and feel how they have the amazing ability to be the ones that make everything all right with you the same way you do for them.  Those moments can heal you just like your kisses on scraped knees.  Remember them, enjoy them, there is nothing sweeter.

Sure, go ahead and be the bad guy when you need to but remember, you’re not really going to turn the car around and drive all the way home so let those times be the ones you dwell in the least and then remember to slow down and enjoy the part where someone laughs at all of your jokes and somehow even an average guy like you is capable of magic.

Happy Father’s Day.

What can I say, I'm a pretty lucky guy. Doesn't get much sweeter than this.

What can I say, I’m a pretty lucky guy. Doesn’t get much sweeter than this.


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