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Tag Archives: time

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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Don’t Step on the Magic

Sweet

Saying Yes

ketchupbread

Because why not ketchup.
Stock Photo

Sometimes you have to give in to originality. You need to stop letting your daily decisions be regimented by social norms. Sometimes the only consequence of saying yes is your kid’s snaggle-toothed smile.

What I’m trying to say here is that I just put a turkey and ketchup sandwich into a school lunch. That’s right, I pack lunches. I also get daily lunch reviews that occasionally could make the harshest New York Times food critic cringe at times. I am still waiting for my Zagat rating though.  My initial reaction to this request was saying no. I mean ketchup on a sandwich is weird, Subway has 37 different condiments you can put on a sandwich and ketchup is not one of them. I don’t want my kid to be known as the ketchup sandwich girl.

Then I thought about it for a bit and wondered who made me the boss of what tastes good to my first grader.  Once upon a time I was a kid too and I am sure I was into some stuff that was weird.  I’m sure I got told no a few times to my suggestions of strange ideas and eventually put those ideas to rest and got normal.  I’m not suggesting that this was completely my idea but had I stuck with some of my outside the norm ideas we probably wouldn’t have had to wait this long to be able to buy containers of dehydrated cereal marshmallows that we are now free to enjoy on everything from Rice Crispies to spaghetti.

The world is going to do a fine job of stepping on the innocent magic a child is born with.  Over time a part of their creativity will get broken and pushed aside as they get normal and get accepted instead of getting fun and getting crazy.  Luckily a ketchup sandwich doesn’t really have any negative side effects and saying yes was easy.  The rest of the day though, I thought about how easy it would have been to just say no and step on a little bit of her magic without even realizing it.  I’m not suggesting I need a medal or anything.  A trophy maybe but not like with a big ceremony and a marching band and having to give some inspirational tear jerking speech while I accept a key to the city and a free Subway sandwiches for life card.

It isn’t like making a ketchup sandwich made her day that much more awesome or not making it would have crushed her but the situation did offer me a chance to reflect on how fast life can kick the childhood magic right out of their hands.  I’d like to try and keep it around a bit longer, I mean who knows what kind of amazing ideas could be floating around in her head afraid to come out because they may be weird.

Sometimes I think it is good to remember that being a parent is just as much about saying yes as it is about saying no and sometimes saying yes can be totally sweet.

 

Weak

Didn’t We Just Do that Whole Cicada Thing?  

They should have given this car better handling considering all the ladies I had to dodge trying to get at me and my sweet ride. Photo from cardomain.com

They should have given this car better handling considering all the ladies I had to dodge trying to get at me and my sweet ride.
Photo from cardomain.com

Ever have a memory that seems like it occurred pretty recently and then realize it was 10 or 20 years ago?  Man, that is like age kicking you right in the breadbasket (when I was a kid, I used to watch wrestling and “bread basket” was what they called that part of a male that rests below the belt and is very sensitive to pain.)

Last night while I was wondering when David Letterman stopped being funny he made some joke about the pending Cicada Apocalypse on the east coast. I looked at my wife and asked how this could be news when it just happened like last year?  Only it didn’t happen last year, it happened 17 years ago.  That’s right, 1996 was the last time the 17 year Cicadas took over both the east coast and the monologues of used to be funny late night talk show hosts.

17 years ago I was popping a Spin Doctors CD into my disc-man and putting a tape with a cord connected to it into my in dash tape deck, hoping not to drive over too many bumps because we all knew that anti-skip technology was mostly hollow promises and nothing is worse than being right in the middle of belting out “If you want to buy me flowers” and your music screech to a halt.

How could that much time have passed so quickly?  How have I been alive long enough to remember the great 17 year cicada outbreak of ’96?  Which, if I recall correctly, did not in any way live up to the hype so I am pretty skeptical of the upcoming reunion tour.  Life has a way of sneaking by and tricking us sometimes. Sure, I realize that I have had 17 years of life experience since the last cicada show-down and I’m happy I’m not still driving a faded blue Chevrolet Cavalier with a leaky sunroof.

Just like flipping through the pages of a calendar and thinking Christmas will be here soon because, how long can it possibly take to live 6 pages, time can seem equally as fast when you look back at things that feel like they just happened and then realize it was long enough ago that you still had a bowl cut.  I’m not sad about getting older and I am having a good time filling each year with memories just as sweet as that Spin Doctors CD.  Sometimes though, having time roundhouse you from out of nowhere with how old you are can be completely weak.


Life in The Last Minute

Sweet

Being Sucked in Until The Credits Roll 

How sweet is that moment when you get your last kid to bed and the last toy either cleaned up or kicked to the corner?  The great nightly sigh of relief that I sometimes feel should be accompanied by a roaring crowd or at least a steady golf clap for another one in the books, another job well done.  We love our kids but that nightly respite from activity is a calmness worth basking in.

Last night, after a long day at work with the kids down and the wife lost in her Kindle, I nestled into the friendly confines of my couch’s butt groove and took part in America’s true past time, channel surfing.  Flipping between the NBA playoffs and anything else that struck my fancy, I stumbled upon an old movie called U.S Marshals.  It is the kind of movie that is right in my wheelhouse of enjoyment and from the minute I heard Tommy Lee Jones say things like “zoom in on the man by the door” and “Ok, put it on the big screen and clean up the image”, I knew what I was doing with the next 45 minutes.  I never get to say stuff like “hold him on the line while we triangulate the cell tower and pinpoint his location”  in my line of work and getting to say that stuff is rad.

I enjoyed finishing the movie and thought about how awesome it is when you come across an old movie that you like.  When you catch it in the middle it doesn’t seem like such a time investment and the serendipitous nature of your discovery is rewarding.  There are some movies that I know  that no matter what point in the story it is in, I will be locked in until the credits.  My sure things are The Empire Strikes Back, You’ve Got Mail, and any action espionage flick that has a lot of courier font being typed up on the screen saying stuff like ” Langley, 15:00 hours.”  I have probably seen the last 10 minutes of You’ve Got Mail a hundred times.  I am waiting for the day my daughter asks “Why didn’t Kathleen Kelly just track Joe Fox’s IP address and then find him on Facebook or something?”  Wasn’t the innocent technology naiveté of the 90’s comfy?

There is no doubt about it, when you have a bit of free time and your channel flips to Luke landing in the Dagobah System, it is totally sweet.

Weak

Why Do Today What You Can Put Off Until The Excruciating Last Second? 

The Problem with letting myself get absorbed into the thrilling plot twists of a movie like “Sharktopus” is that more often than not, my free time is really just a byproduct of my own laziness and denial.  I have a tendency to push responsibility to the back burner sometimes in the name of enjoyment and gratification.

When I was a sophomore in high school, I once started a science fair project during third period of the day that it was due.  In college I would often pull all nighters or sometimes even decide I wanted to sleep and set my alarm for 3:30 in the morning to get up and start writing a paper that was due in 5 hours.  I guess some people base jump or rock climb, but for me, the most intense adrenaline boosts seem to come when a deadline is on the horizon and rapidly approaching.

I get that this isn’t the best way to operate and the longer you wait to complete a task increases the odds for failure.  I am not sure if I missed a page in the “being a grownup” handbook but the whole concept of getting something done early so you don’t have to stress about it has never really taken hold.  I can absolutely see the benefits of doing stuff early but I think that I have convinced myself that the stress and sometimes panic fuels me to create my best work.  (That sounds like even more of a cop-out now that I have written it.)

I need to improve in that area of my life and my first step is probably addressing my general organizational skills which sadly, still look pretty much like the bottom of my tenth grade locker.

Writing this blog has been fun and I would love to continue by trying to think of more almost funny material or recycle old jokes that I haven’t put here yet but I have a huge proposal that I have known about for a month and it really needs to be finished by the close of business today.  Guess it is time to get started.  The last-minute may be exciting but waiting that long all of the time is totally weak.


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