Hello dear reader, it’s been too long! Many apologies for my absence of late – I’ve been busy painting my way around the house in a bid to bring its décor into the twenty-first century and I’ve not had much time for writing. Luckily for you though, I’ve laid my roller to rest for a while and I’m now working on ‘soft furnishings’ or, in my case, the added extras in a room that look so nice when you picture the finished look in your head but in reality when you get your new purchases home, you find that you’ve got the colours all wrong, nothing matches anything and you wish you’d just stuck to buying everything in black to mirror your dark, post-painting mood….
Part of my home-improvements ‘project’ involved a recent trip to IKEA with my mum. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that, up until a week ago, I’d never set foot in an IKEA and after spending a leisurely few hours wandering around and discovering its joys, I feel like I’ve deprived myself unnecessarily of a large chunk of Nordic happiness during my lifetime. I won’t be waiting another twenty-five years until I go again, let me tell you – that place is amazing!
My original intention was to purchase a dressing table for Molly’s bedroom (with all walls painted white, so no need to worry about mismatching colours here) and I had a strict budget to keep to. I left IKEA, full of apple pie and free coffee (thanks for the heads up, Tee), with said dressing table, a small chest of drawers, a chair, four glasses, two mugs (because let’s face it, there isn’t a kitchen cupboard in the whole of Christendom that wouldn’t benefit from an additional drinking vessel or two balanced precariously on top of countless others and guaranteed to jump out at you the next time you forget that the door needs to be opened with caution), a plant and plant pot, a sieve (I couldn’t possibly source this exotic object more locally), some drawer dividers, and two fleece blankets for Eddy’s bed (because at three pounds a pop, just one blanket seemed foolhardy).
And if I’d known that Eddy was going to do this with them, then hell yeah, I’d have bought two more and had a proper party…….
But of course, what the Lord giveth with one hand, he takes away with the other and this is never more apparent than that moment when you unpack your bargain-tastic items of furniture and it dawns on you that the destiny of those fifty-three pieces of low-density wood in varying lengths and widths and that bag of strange looking metal and plastic objects is literally in your hands.
Some people run marathons to challenge themselves. Others climb mountains in record time or swim through icy waters until they reach another country. Me? Well, I was born without the gene that allows a person to visualise how something is constructed. I spent many a year experiencing extreme Lego-envy, as my two brothers spent hours building motorised cars, aeroplanes and boats while all I could do was erect a windowless, doorless, roofless house on one large square of flat, studded plastic. Making sense of the crappy, pictorial instructions provided with the furniture was quite possibly going to be the biggest personal challenge I have ever faced….
I spent nine hours of my life assembling a small dressing table and a matching set of drawers. My right palm was red raw from brandishing a screwdriver, if I’d slept in a dog kennel for a week I don’t think my back could have ached any more and Pud nearly divorced me. The air was thick with profanities and Eddy learnt a few new phrases that evening. And I learnt that it is perfectly possible to completely erode the head of a screw by using the wrong screwdriver. Who knew?
Nevertheless I completed my challenge, and give or take a bit of wonkiness and a couple of dents where I dragged the damn thing over in a bit of a rage to remove twenty seven nails I’d hammered into the back before realising I’d put a shelf in upside down, I don’t think it looks too shabby for a first attempt……
…. and it’s even still standing one week later!
I’m really pleased that I completed this daunting task with minimal vodka or assistance but it will take me a while to get over the trauma and I won’t be rushing to home-assemble another item of furniture any time soon – in fact, I will probably pay through the nose to have my next purchase fully assembled and delivered right to my front door.
I will, however, be paying IKEA another visit very soon, if only to pick up a couple more mugs. I might even treat my mum to another free coffee…….