The Man never wants to go to Ikea, this is just one of the myriad things that make us fundamentally incompatible. I would go to Ikea every damn day of my life if I could.
“My love for Ikea is unconditional,” I tell him. “Unlike my love for you, I might add.” I love Ikea even on its worst days. I love it so much, I would go there nine months pregnant, with only an overtired toddler for company, on a bank holiday that happened to be the hottest day of the year, while suffering from a particularly cruel bout of cystitis. That is love, folks. (It’s also a true story, I have the Billy bookcase to prove it.)
Stage 1 – The journey
So, I do not have a good track record of driving us to Ikea. Every time I attempt to go there I invariably overshoot it and end up in the long term car park of Dublin airport. Every. Damn. Time. I cannot get the hang of it. I neglected to tell The Man about this deficiency in my skill set and so he let me do the driving on a recent journey and during a momentary lapse in his concentration (some Internet video of a cat I presume) I took my usual non-turn. By the time he looked up I had cruised on into the terminal 2 drop off zone. He was not pleased. As he saw it this whole Ikea mission was a detour in his perfectly planned day of golf, long periods spent hiding in the loo while the toddler desperately tried to break the door down and beer. Now my miscalculation (that I blame at least in part on that google maps b*tch) was a detour within a detour. “I always end up in the airport,” I offer by way of explanation. “You do realise that it’s not mandatory? You could just go the right way,” he huffed.
Stage 2 – The Carpark
It seems parking, at least, fifteen miles from the nearest entrance is practically mandatory. It is essential to never display any forethought of later on when you will be transporting 2 cranky children, 2 Billy bookcases, 1 Kallax and 14,000 tea lights, most likely in the lashing rain to a car conveniently parked just over the Louth border.
Stage 3 – The Showroom
The Man never wants to browse the showroom. He doesn’t seem to understand that the showroom is the best bit, even the worst day in the Ikea showroom is better than the best day virtually any where else. He wants to get in, get the head down and plough straight on to the kitchen goods section to get the non-stick frying pan that we came here for. “But the showroom will give us ideas,” I plead. “It’ll show us the life we could be having if only we could get our sh*t together enough to assemble and instate all the incredible storage these Swedes have gifted the world.” One downside of the showroom is that it provides an all too comfortable and familiar setting for our fighting. We tend to forget ourselves in the fake kitchenette and wind up making other shoppers uncomfortable.
Stage 4 – The Canteen
The canteen should be a place of harmony amid the passive aggression of the Ikea trip. There’s free refills and we can relax while our spawn roams free and irritate people who are not us. But there’s still a bit of argy bargy around the fact that I use the trip to ikea to stock up on some of the complimentary baby items. The Man thinks this is stealing. It is not.
Stage 5 – The ‘we don’t actually need that’ Chant
He starts the ‘we don’t actually need that’ chant as soon as we are downstairs with the massive trolley. He will passionately argue against every single, tiny, inconsequential purchase. Just let me buy the €4 bathmat damn it.
Stage 6 – The Hot Dogs
I want to purchase the hot dogs sold adjacent to the exit. The Man does not want to be anywhere NEAR the hot dogs. It is usually at this point that I realise that we have purchased far more than can feasibly be squished into the car and I start to actively resent my children for taking up precious space that could be better used for more cupboard organisers and packets of tea lights. I get the hot dog.
Stage 7 – The Assembling
Assembling the furniture is the only part of the entire Ikea process that The Man enjoys. Suffice it to say, him doing any kind of DIYing drives me demented. We are deeply incompatible.