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.
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.
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:
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.