(In which I attempt to write a post that doesn’t continue bullet points or a numbered list. I am horizontal thanks to the rain-again-sun-again summer holidays, so I am not sure if I can manage joined-up thinking. But I am going to try. Because you are worth it.)
So, I have worked out what the Germans do when their kids are on holiday and it’s raining. Do you want to know? They go to Ikea. I found this out yesterday, when I went to Ikea four times and each time I found the whole of Germany there, packed in, admiring the Ektorps and snaffling those maxi-packs of tea lights and little scratchy baskets to put things in. I, however, was actually trying to buy an Ektorp (two in fact) and it took me four visits in one day in order to go from selecting the slip cover fabric to actually slipping the cover over my new sofas.
I made an initial reconnaissance mission to select a sofa model (kids placed in Ikea kindergarten so that I could think without having to pull three-year-olds off sofas or buy large boxes of Swedish biscuits to placate people) last week, but that doesn’t count for the purposes of this post, because it’s, well, so last week.
Let’s focus on yesterday, shall we? Because yesterday was special. (At this point, I am sorely tempted to list, but I’m not going to.)
Visit one was to buy the sofas. The very helpful lady told me that the slip-covers of my choice had run out in the Mannheim branch but that she would kindly reserve me two at the Walldorf branch. I would have to collect them on the same day, otherwise they would be sold to someone else. I paid for the sofas – buying some absolutely essential throw cushions en route – and then headed to the goods depot to get my sofas delivered. However, the delivery fellow told me that is only possible on Saturdays (yesterday was Monday). The depot dudes told me that since I had paid and my sofas were now out of the warehouse and at the depot, I would have to collect them yesterday. Cue multiple complicated phone calls to Germany’s Top Husband (GTH) and babysitter and the next visit to Ikea was planned.
During my second visit to Ikea yesterday, I was accompanied by GTH, who was providing the muscles of the operation. As he was in the process of having a busy working day, in which he had a two-hour window for sofa-hauling and the 40-kilometre round-trip, he was hoping that we would be able to fit both sofas in the back of our bus.
He didn’t really speak to me on the way home.
GTH returned to Ikea with me – his second 40-kilometre round-trip, my third – to fetch the second sofa. He had a nourishing Ikea frankfurter and coffee while I negotiated with the depot dudes, and was a little chattier on the way home.
Then he relieved the babysitter, and I left on my fourth visit to Ikea, this time to the Walldorf branch – a 50-kilometre round-trip, to collect the slip-covers without which I could not live.
Last night I dressed the first sofa in its lovely new covers. This morning, GTH muscled in the second sofa with back-up from me. I dressed it too. I was happy. They looked pretty. The kids played pirate ships with the packing cases. They were happy. Ikea is a good, good place, a temple of earthly delights, of herring, sofas, and candles, bringing happiness to all.
Except for Germany’s Top Husband, who never wants to go there again.